How to Choose a Commercial Fire Detection System

Fires are one of the greatest safety threats that any building be it business or home can face. In order to protect your property, you need to choose a fire detection system that properly addresses your unique needs.

There are myriad factors to consider when making your selection and many different options to choose from. Here are some of the considerations you should take into account when choosing the right fire detection system for your commercial property. 

Types of Systems

Fire detection systems can be both automatic and manual. Each come with their own set of advantages, but have drawbacks as well.

Manual Systems

Manual systems involve triggering an alarm when a person notices a fire. This type of system is a good choice because it’s reliable and there’s no delay caused by the wait period before the detector senses smoke. However, if no one notices the fire, the alarm won’t be triggered. 

Automatic Systems

Conversely, automatic systems are triggered automatically when sensors detect smoke, heat, or fire. The advantage to this system is that it is effective when no one is in the building. However, there is a danger of the system failing during a power outage. For this reason, it’s important to use quality back up batteries.


Most people opt for a combination of these two systems. If a person sees a problem before the detectors do, they can trigger the alarm right away. However, the automatic systems work well when no one is in the building and for areas of the building that receive little foot traffic.

System Options

Once you decide what type of system you need, you need to assess your building to decide which options you need. Each building’s unique needs will result in different option choices.


One option that each system needs in some capacity is an alert when there is a fire. These alerts might come in the form of loud alarms, flashing lights, prerecorded announcements, or some combination of the three. It’s important that every person in the building is alerted when there is a fire so that they can respond appropriately.


All automatic fire detection systems come with sensors of some sort. Sometimes they take the form of heat sensors, sometimes simply smoke detectors are sufficient.

Depending on your building’s needs, you will need to decide what types of sensors are right for you. If you are dealing with heat-sensitive equipment, it makes sense to incorporate more sensitive sensors capable of detecting a threat early on.

Attempts to Stop the Fire

Many of these systems come with attempts to stop or shrink the fire. Automatic sprinkler systems are a common option that address this idea. However, these systems are typically not placed in rooms with a large amount of electronics, as they can have the opposite effect.

Communication Devices

Fire systems often incorporate modes of communication. Many systems allow you to make announcements, which can be crucial in instructing people on how to proceed.

This system will allow you to tell employees which exit to use and what they can take with them. In some cases, devices that allow people inside the building to communicate with those outside are incorporated into the system.

This option can be useful in situations where firefighters are trying to locate people left in the building in need of assistance.

Communication with Authorities

Many systems are wired to automatically contact the authorities in the event of an emergency. This contact can be crucial so that those in charge can handle the situation at hand and know that help is already on its way.

This feature is also very useful if a fire occurs at night or when the building is closed, as there would be no one there to report it. 

Non-Fire-Related Options

Often times, fire detection systems are integrated with other security systems. Carbon monoxide detectors are often connected with fire detectors and can therefore take advantage of options concerning alerts and communication with proper authorities.

Your surveillance equipment can also be integrated with your fire detection system. This connection will make your systems easier to operate and can help you assess all potential threats to the building in one place.