Fire alarm systems are designed to detect and alert occupants to the presence of fire or smoke in a building or other space. These systems typically consist of a network of sensors, alarms, and control panels that work together to detect and respond to a fire emergency.
Some of the key features of a fire alarm system include:
Smoke and Heat Detectors: Smoke and heat detectors are used to detect the presence of smoke or fire in the air. These sensors can be designed to detect a wide range of fire types and smoke levels.
Alarms: Fire alarm systems use audible and visual alarms to alert occupants to the presence of a fire. These alarms can include sirens, bells, or flashing lights.
Control Panels: The control panel is the central hub of the fire alarm system, responsible for monitoring the sensors and activating the alarms when smoke or fire is detected.
Manual Pull Stations: Manual pull stations allow occupants to manually activate the fire alarm in the event of an emergency.
Monitoring: Many fire alarm systems can be connected to a monitoring service, which can alert the appropriate authorities in the event of a fire.
Testing and Maintenance: Fire alarm systems require regular testing and maintenance to ensure that they are functioning properly and can effectively detect and respond to a fire emergency.
Overall, fire alarm systems are a critical component of any building’s safety system, providing an early warning of a fire emergency and allowing occupants to safely evacuate the building. These systems can be customized to meet the specific needs of a building, including the size and layout of the space, as well as any special fire hazards or risks that may be present.
There are several advantages to using a fire alarm system, including:
Early Warning: Fire alarm systems provide an early warning of a fire emergency, allowing occupants to safely evacuate the building before the fire spreads.
Increased Safety: Fire alarm systems can help to ensure the safety of occupants and reduce the risk of injury or death in the event of a fire.
Reduced Property Damage: Fire alarm systems can help to reduce property damage by alerting the appropriate authorities to the presence of a fire early on.
Customizable: Fire alarm systems can be customized to meet the specific needs of a building, including the size and layout of the space, as well as any special fire hazards or risks that may be present.
Compliance: Many local and national building codes require the installation of fire alarm systems, making them a necessary component of any building’s safety system.
Peace of Mind: Fire alarm systems can provide peace of mind for building occupants and property owners, knowing that they have a reliable and effective means of detecting and responding to a fire emergency.
Overall, a fire alarm system is a critical component of any building’s safety system, providing an early warning of a fire emergency and allowing occupants to safely evacuate the building. It is a cost-effective and reliable way to ensure the safety of building occupants and reduce the risk of property damage from fire.
Secuway can Install, maintain and repair any Fire alarm system as required by you or your insurer. Fire alarms are categorized into two main types, protection of property and protection of life. Each category contains several sub-categories and are tailored to suit the individual requirements of your property. Systems can be conventional or addressable depending on the scale of the installation and wired or wireless, so whatever your needs may be there is a suitable solution which can be tailored around you.
Fire alarms are arguably the most important of the security solutions we offer, it is therefore recommended our advice be sought for any queries relating to Fire alarm systems. Some of the systems we are highly experienced with are Gent, Menvier, Channel, Asenware, Morley, Protec, Kentec, Fike, Rafiki, C-Tec, Minerva, MX, Advanced, Siemens, Alarmcom, Premier and EMS.
Please contact us for further information.
Different Types of Fire Alarm Detectors
At the core of a fire alarm system are the detection devices, from sophisticated intelligent smoke detectors to simple manually operated break glass units, there are a wide array of different types, but we can divide them into groups including:
– Heat detectors
– Smoke detectors
– Carbon Monoxide detectors
– Multi-sensor detectors
– Manual Call Points
1. Heat Detectors
Heat detector can either work on a fixed temperature basis, where it will trigger an alarm if the temperature exceeds a pre-set value or they can work on the rate of change in temperature.
Commonly Heat detectors work in a similar way to an electrical fuse, the detectors contain a eutectic alloy which is heat sensitive when a certain temperature is reached the alloy turns from a solid to a liquid which in turn triggers the alarm.
2. Smoke Detectors
There are three basic types of smoke detectors including:
– Light Scattering
– Light Obscuring
2.1. Ionization Smoke Detector
Ionization Smoke detector generally contains two chambers. The first is used as a reference to compensate for changes in ambient temperature, humidity or pressure.
The second chamber contains a radioactive source, usually alpha particle, which ionizes the air passing through the chamber where a current flows between two electrodes.
When smoke enters the chamber the current flow decreases. This drop in current flow is used to initiate an alarm.
2.2. Light Scattering Smoke Detector
The light scattering smoke detector operates on the Tyndall effect; a photocell and light source are separated from each other by a darkened chamber such that the light source does not fall on the photocell.
The passage of smoke into the chamber causes the light from the source to be scattered and fall on the photocell. The photocell output is being used to initiate an alarm.
2.3. Light Obscuring Smoke Detector
In the Light obscuring smoke detector, smoke interferes with a light beam between a light source and photocell. The photocell measures the amount of light it receives.
The variation in photocell output, is being used to initiate an alarm.
This type of fire detection equipment can be used to protect large areas with the light source and photocell positioned some distance apart.
3. Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors are known also as CO fire detectors are electronic detectors used to indicate the outbreak of fire by sensing the level of carbon monoxide in the air.
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas produced by combustion.
In this instance, these detectors are not the same as Carbon monoxide detectors used in the home for protecting residents against carbon monoxide produced by incomplete combustion in appliances such as gas fires or boilers.
Carbon Monoxide fire detectors use the same type of sensor as those in the home but are more sensitive and respond more quickly.
Carbon monoxide detectors have an electrochemical cell, which senses carbon monoxide, but not smoke or any other combustion products
4. Multi-Sensor Detectors
The Multi-sensor detectors combine inputs from both optical and heat sensors and process them using a sophisticated algorithm built into the detector circuitry.
When polled by the control panel the detector returns a value based on the combined responses from both the optical and heat sensors. They are designed to be sensitive to a wide range of fires.
5. Manual Call Points
A Manual Call Point or Break Glass Call Point is a device which enables personnel to raise the alarm by breaking the frangible element on the fascia; this then triggers the alarm.
Different Types of Fire Alarm Systems
Fire Alarm Systems can be broken down into four main types;
Let’s spend some time considering each.
1. Conventional Fire Alarm Systems
In a Conventional Fire Alarm System, physical cabling is used to interconnect several call points and detectors, the signals from which are wired back to the main control unit.
Call points and detectors are arranged in “Zones” to simplify locating the cause of the alarm, this is important for both the fire brigade and general building management.
Each zone is indicated at the Fire Alarm Control Panel either with an indicator lamp, a text display or in some cases both.
It makes sense that the more we can divide a building into zones, the more accurate locating the alarm trigger will be.
The Control Panel is wired to a minimum of two sounder circuits which could contain bells, electronic sounders or other audible fire alarm devices.
It is these devices which sound the alarm when triggered.
2. Addressable Fire Alarm Systems
The detection principle of an Addressable System is the same as a Conventional System except that each detector is given a set Address (usually by means of a dip-switch) and the Control Panel can then determine exactly which detector or call point has initiated the alarm.
The detection circuit is wired as a loop and up to 99 devices may be connected to each loop.
It is common for the loop to be fitted with Loop Isolation Modules so that the loop is sectioned in order to ensure that a short circuit or single fault will only cause the loss of a small part of the system; allowing the rest of the system to function normally.
In the previous two systems, the “Conventional Fire Alarm System” and the “Addressable Fire Alarm System” the detectors are not considered “intelligent” as they can only give output signals representing the value of detected phenomena.
It is left up to the Control Unit to decide whether there is a fire, fault, pre-alarm or other.
3. Intelligent Fire Alarm Systems
However, in our next type of System, which is an Intelligent Fire Alarm system, each detector effectively incorporates its own computer which evaluates the environment around it and communicates to the Control Panel whether there is a fire, fault or the detector head needs cleaning.
Essentially Intelligent Systems are far more complex and incorporate far more facilities than Conventional or Addressable Systems. Their primary purpose is to help prevent the occurrence of false alarms.
Intelligent Fire Alarm Systems are available in 2, 4, and 8 loop versions which means large premises can be monitored from one single panel.
4. Wireless Fire Alarm Systems
The final type of system we will consider is the Wireless Fire Alarm System.
These are an effective alternative to traditional wired fire alarm systems for all applications. They utilize secure, license-free radio communications to interconnect the sensors and devices with the controllers.
It is a simple concept, which provides many unique benefits and is a full intelligent fire detection system without the need for cabling.
In this article, we have learned that Fire Alarm systems are fitted in many buildings we encounter every day and that they are used to warn people within the building of an emergency fire-related situation.
We discussed the main types of detectors:
– Heat Detectors
– Smoke Detectors
– Carbon Monoxide Detectors
– Multi-Sensor Detectors
– Manual Call points
And finally, we looked at the different types of fire alarm systems: