A fire alarm system is an important component of every building nowadays. Having one is crucial to the safety of your home and property in case of fire emergency helping you detect and fight the fire on time or escaping to safety.

In this blog post, I will touch on everything I know about fire alarm systems.

To begin, a fire alarm is a unit made of several devices, which uses visual and audio signals to warn people about a possible fire, smoke, or carbon monoxide occurrence in the area of coverage. They are mostly designed to provide zonal coverage for residences and commercial buildings. The warning signal is either a loud siren/bell or a flashing light, or it can include both. Some fire alarm systems use additional warnings, such as sending a voice message or making a phone call.

There are many types of fire alarm systems. These include;

  • Automatic fire alarm

As the name suggests, automatic fire alarms are triggered through fire detectors, such as smoke or heat sensors. Manual fire alarms are activated with manual call points or pull stations. There is no reason for a fire alarm system to exclude one or the other. Both can be included in the same system. 

  • Conventional fire alarm

These fire alarms work as one unit and cannot pinpoint the exact area of activation unless inspected. Addressable fire alarms have a specially dedicated address for each fire alarm detector that is connected to the control panel, for easier identification of the source of the danger. 

  • One-stage fire alarm

This system is the most common one seen at industrial grounds in Ghana. The system basically warns everyone in the building that a sensor has been activated. This system is designed to serve large public areas like hospitals, schools among others to prevent panic and inadequate frightful response.

To select and find the right alarm systems you must know what your needs are and how the alarm system is going to work.  For instance, you should know how many detectors your home or company will need.  You should seek a fire system that can be integrated into your security infrastructure without complications.

Give preference to systems that include an additional feature such as a silent button, voice alarm and backup battery. If you’re unsure about whether feature of a fire alarm system serves your needs, contact a specialist.

Parts of the fire alarm system

A conventional fire alarm system consists of the following devices:

  • Fire alarm panel
  • Detectors and bases
  • Call points
  • Sounders and flashers
  • Fire alarm batteries

Wireless fire alarm systems do not use any wiring between the fire control panel and the other devices. Most fire alarms used for home security are wireless. These days fire alarms systems makes it possible for integration into smart homes and with various software applications.

Some fire alarm systems can detect heat, smoke or carbon monoxide.  The fire system is usually installed around a building to trace emergencies. Some advanced sensors can even detect radiation. Call points or pulls belong to manually-controlled fire alarm systems. Most residential properties don’t use them, but many business facilities still do. Sounders emit a loud siren signal. Flashers are for visual warnings and emit intermittent or rotating flashes (typically red or white).

How fire alarm system work?

Thanks to advancement in technology some fire alarm systems use automatic functions to detect fire. They receive a signal from a fire sensor either smoke, heat or carbon monoxide detector and then transmit it to the fire alarm panel.

With wireless systems, the signal from the detectors to the control panel is transmitted with radiofrequency. Heat detectors usually have built-in thermistors to sense the heat. Carbon monoxide detectors use integrated chemical, electrochemical, Opto-chemical or biomimetic cells to trace the gas. Smoke detectors use photo-electricity or ionization to detect smoke or combustion particles.

The fire alarm panel activates the flashers or the sounders, turns on sprinklers (or they can be activated along with the detector). If the fire alarm system is addressable, the source of the occurrence will be pointed on the control panel. Users on separate floors or in connected buildings can be notified in several ways: by horns, gongs and loudspeaker messages advising appropriate action for each department.

In conclusion

The number one reason to install a fire alarm is to make the building safe for your employees, customers, and tenants. A combination of smoke and heat detectors, sirens and bells, and strobe lights detect and alert building occupants of a fire, giving them ample time to evacuate in an orderly fashion.

Fire alarm systems automatically notify emergency responders and fire trucks dispatch to your location without delay. The faster these responses happen, the sooner the fire is extinguished and the less damage your building sustains.

If you are looking into buying a fire alarm system for your home security or office I will urge you to acquire one from an expert and let a specialist install them for you.