A Buyer’s Guide to Fire Alarm Systems

Fire alarms are clearly one of the most vital safety and security measures for any type of building.

Fire alarms are clearly one of the most vital safety and security measures for any type of building. When you are researching fire alarm systems for commercial premises or a residential building, you will come across three main options: non-addressable, addressable and wireless. Your choice will depend on numerous factors, and the aim of this post is to demonstrate the advantages of each in order to help you decide.

A fire alarm system is a collection of devices that work concurrently to detect heat, smoke, fire, carbon monoxide and other hazards and to warn people of impending emergencies.

There are three main types of fire alarm systems:

Non-Addressable Fire Alarm Systems

Non-addressable fire alarm systems are usually the option of choice for smaller properties such as small offices, restaurants and retail premises.

This type of system consists of a control panel which is connected to a range of compatible devices such as heat detectors; smoke detectors; multi-sensor detectors; relay modules; bell modules and sounders. Once a device is activated, the control panel will indicate the activated zone for the location of the incident. So that the part of the premises affected can be easily identified, a zone chart will be displayed next to the control panel.

Addressable Fire Alarm Systems

Addressable fire alarm systems again consist of a variety of detectors and devices, all connected to a central control panel. The difference with this type of system however is that each individual device has its own location or address, which means the precise detector that has been triggered can be instantly identified, with no need to refer to a zone chart. For this reason, addressable fire alarm systems are perfect for larger buildings and premises that are spread across an expansive area.

Addressable fire alarm systems offer a range of benefits over non-addressable systems, including reduced instances of false alarms; greater reliability; faster detection of the location of a fire and more control over programming. In fact, these systems can be configured so that a specific action triggers a particular response.

For example, where a detector in a certain area of a building picks up signs of a fire, it will trigger alarms in set areas, and in other areas the system will be put into alert mode. This allows for a much safer, phased evacuation, where priority areas are evacuated ahead of others that are further away from the central area of issue.

Addressable fire alarm systems also offer the advantage of individual monitoring for faults, which makes it a lot more straightforward to maintain the system. When there is an issue with any of the devices, the central control panel will display where that issue is located, so enabling it to be quickly rectified.

Wireless Fire Alarm Systems

The individual devices that make up a fire alarm system are usually connected to the control panel by means of fire resistant cable. However sometimes, cabling is not desirable, or simply just not possible, for example in the case of listed buildings and properties of public interest such as museums. Cabling is also not a convenient option for temporary sites and properties under renovation, which still require fire safety measures.

Wireless fire alarm systems offer a solution, and when planned, installed and maintained by experts will offer a viable alternative to wired addressable systems. Technically advanced systems are available that comply with the various required safety standards.

The wireless detector devices that make up the system are designed to offer a long battery life for the ultimate in reliability, and are connected via radio waves. The control panel is fully programmable in the same way as those of a wired addressable fire alarm system, making it suitable for large buildings and, in fact, premises of all sizes.

Tailored Advice on Fire Alarm Systems

At Barry Bros Security we have been tailoring safety and security systems for businesses across the Capital and beyond for several decades. If you are considering your options for a new fire alarm system, why not talk to one of our helpful experts? We will visit your premises and provide bespoke advice on the very best system to suit your particular needs and of course, to ensure you meet your legal obligations.

How Can We Help?

Regardless of the type of premises you are looking to protect, Barry Bros Security has the solution. Contact us today for expert advice and the benefit of decades of experience in the security industry.