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Fire Security Systems for Residential & Commercial Buildings

In 2018, the U.S. Fire Administration reported a total number of 1,318,500 fires in the United States, 3,655 deaths (a 20% increase compared to the 2009 numbers), 15,200 injuries, as well as property losses of $25.6 billion (a remarkable 90 percent increase compared the 2009 figures). The purpose of the USFA is to collect necessary data from a number of sources and offer critical information to the public, raise awareness of the fire problem in the country, set better priorities, target more educational programs and motivate corrective activities.

However, each individual should take the necessary fire precautions at home, at the workplace, at educational and healthcare institutions. Fire alarm systems and smoke detectors should be on top of the list of priorities, along with updated fire prevention policies and periodical fire drills. The main purpose of a fire alarm is to detect a potential fire early on, alert you and give you an advantage that could potentially save your life or prevent a huge fire from devastating your home or workplace. Smoke detectors are responsible for sending quick alerts whenever smoke or heat is detected inside a room, while some fire alarms consist of sprinklers that could also help put out a fire before it becomes a real problem. If you are eager to learn more about these fire alarm systems, keep reading.

How Does A Fire Alarm System Work?

fire alarm systems

Fire alarm systems are supposed to send alerts in case of emergency, enabling people inside a public building or residential home to immediately act upon the problem, while taking the best protective measures for their own well-being. Fire alarm systems can be installed inside homes, office buildings, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, schools, hospitals, and other public facilities. These systems can rely on a number of different detection methods. However, they all serve the same common purpose of triggering an alarm in order to rapidly warn individuals about the imminent risk of fire and stimulate the rapid evacuation of the building.

Fire alarm systems can also include remote signal systems that can send out quick alerts to then local fire brigades in the area using central stations.  The main component of such a system is the fire alarm control panel that is the main hub where all smoke detector signals are connected. It is used to display the status of the system and it can be also used to simulate a fire alarm during drills.

Types of Fire Alarm Systems and Detectors

Fire alarm systems are basically devices used to detect fire with the help of complex smoke sensors, but they can also be found in simpler forms, as glass units that can be manually broken down in case of emergency, when the alarm needs to be sounded. Currently, you can choose one of the following models:

  • smoke alarm sensors
  • heat detectors
  • heat detectors
  • carbon monoxide detectors
  • manual call point systems
  • multi-sensor detectors

How Do Smoke Detectors Work?

Smoke detectors can either use ionization technology, light obscuring, or light scattering methods.  Ionization smoke detectors use two chambers to measure the temperature and other air and identify any smoke penetrating the chambers and causing the flow of ions to decrease, which will, in turn, trigger the alarm.  Smoke detectors that use light scattering technology use the so-called Tyndall effect that runs on a photocell and a source of light, once smoke enters the camber separating the light from the photocell, the light will be scattered and it will begin to fall right on the photocell. This will trigger the alarm.  Smoke detectors that rely on the light obscuring technology work as follows: smoke will interfere with the light beam found between the source of light and the photocell, which will carefully measure the amount of light and trigger the alarm whenever a variation in the output is noticed.

How Do Heat Detectors Work?

Heat detectors can basically work in one of two ways.  They can trigger an alarm whenever the temperature in a room goes over an initially set measurement, or they can be triggered whenever a certain rate of change in term of temperature is observed.

How Do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Work?

These electronic detectors can indicate fire outbreaks by identifying changes in the level of CO in the atmosphere.  Carbon monoxide fire detector systems rely on the same type of sensors as the ones found in devices that detect CO in residential homes. However, CO fire alarms are a lot more sensitive and offer higher levels of responsiveness compared to their simpler counterparts.

How Do Multi-Sensor Detectors Work?

These smart detectors mix heat and optical sensor features, rely on complex algorithms, and they can serve to identify a large variety of fires.

How Do Break Glass Call Points Work?

These devices enable the personnel inside a building to trigger the alarm by manually breaking an element on the fascia.  Whether you are interested in a conventional fire alarm system that uses cabling, call points, and detectors tied to one another, or a wireless fire alarm, make sure that you properly maintain the system and see that it fully complies with all the requirements found in the NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code regarding how to install, assess, test, and maintain fire alarms.  

Fire alarm systems can significantly lower the risk of a fire at home or at the workplace while limiting the loss of lives, and property damage.