How to Choose a Fire Alarm System for Your Business (part 1)

It is proven that fire alarm is one of the most important investments which your business can make to help save lives. It is legally required to have a Fire Risk Assessment that defines the requirements for a fire alarm system to be installed on any commercial premise and that it is regularly tested.

When it comes to selecting a fire alarm system, don’t just consider the cheapest option. The most deciding factor should be how effectively the alarm can alert people to danger and protect their safety on your premises.

Identify all of the fire threats to your business

When choosing a fire alarm system, the first stage is to define the fire risks to your business. This should be included in your fire risk assessment to set out potential hazards which could result in a fire and areas of the higher risk. From knowing how, where, and what types of fires can start, you can set up a combating strategy for the fire threat to your business.

For example, if materials that are stored on your premises would produce much smoke when being burned, smoke detectors would be most appropriate in this case. If materials produce much heat as well as relatively little smoke when being burned, heat detectors would be more suitable. Using this method of understanding fire threats helps provide a better choice to protect your business.

Consider the size and layout of your premises

The size and layout of your premises is another key consideration when choosing the alarm system to offer complete fire protection. Smaller commercial properties are likely to be more suitable for conventional fire alarms, consisting of detectors and call points which can be activated automatically or manually to raise the alarm. These alarm systems can identify which zone the alarm has been triggered by using the basic fire detection zones when they are wired back to a central control panel.

The larger business premises usually require more sophisticated alarm systems. Buildings with multiple floors will require at least one fire detector on each level and even each room in some case.



Fire Detection and Alarm Systems: A Brief Guide (part 3)


There various types of fire detectors. The major ones are smoke, heat, and flame detectors. Within each type are a lot of additional specific types. Here we are discussing the most popularly used for building fire detection and alarm activation.

Heat detectors are the most basic type of detectors. They are produced in several types which are divided into two main categories; line and spot. Line detectors provide a continuous detector through all areas of the coverage. Spot detectors are single units which are installed in single locations of the protected area. While spot detectors are more widely used, line detectors are usually reserved for special situations.

Spot detectors are most commonly rate-of-rise, fixed temperature, or a combination. Rate-of-rise detectors are activated based on the rise speed of the temperature, not a fixed point. Fixed temperature detectors operate at a specific temperature. These two types of detectors are most suitable for the areas which may get hot even under normal conditions, for example, detectors in a warehouse which is not temperature-controlled.

Smoke detectors are available in many types. Photoelectric smoke detectors are activated based upon light scattering within the detector’s detection chamber. Light is projected through the detector’s chamber and then will be scattered if striking smoke. This light is detected by a photocell.

Ionization smoke detectors are the most common in home use. They detect the particles in smoke. When smoke passes through the detector’s chamber, the particles are ionized. These particles may be detected later by the charged plates in the detector. There are smoke detectors combined with a heat detector. The beam detector operates when obscuring smoke between the laser receiver and emitter interrupts the beam. These detectors are often used in large open spaces.

The air sampling detection system uses the tubing which is placed throughout the protected area. The tubing has small holes that are spaced out along the tube’s length and the air is drawn constantly into the unit, which can detect low levels of combustion products.