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by Luke Hayes on 8th April 2022

For commercial fire alarm installations, there are many things to consider. If you’re confused about how to choose the best fire alarm system and their technical features, this page is a great place to start.

Which commercial fire alarm system do I need?

First of all, it’s important to remember that fire alarm systems vary and are designed to reflect your business’ needs. These needs include:

  • The size of your business premises
  • Where your business is located
  • The kind of work carried out on your business premises

Determining which fire alarm system you need can be a tricky task, so it’s always best to seek the advice of a reputed service provider. Our FIT Fire Alarm Maintenance team can assist you with not only determining the right system for you, but also installation of the system, as well as organising a maintenance plan. Remember, British Standards require that the fire alarm system must be serviced every six months.

How to pick the right fire alarm installation?

There are three common types of fire alarm systems that you can choose from, these are conventional, wireless and addressable.

A conventional fire alarm system is a basic type of fire detection system that is commonly used in smaller buildings. It works by dividing a building into zones, with each zone connected to a separate circuit on the fire alarm control panel. In the event of a fire, the system will sound an alarm and indicate the zone where the fire is detected.

On the other hand, a wireless fire alarm system is a type of system that uses radio frequency (RF) signals to communicate between the fire alarm control panel and the various devices throughout the building. This makes installation easier and less disruptive, as there is no need to run cables between the control panel and the devices.

Finally, an addressable fire alarm system is a more advanced type of system that provides more detailed information about the location of the fire. Each device in the system has its own unique address, allowing the control panel to pinpoint the exact location of the fire. This makes it easier for firefighters to locate and extinguish the fire quickly. Addressable systems are typically more expensive and complex than conventional or wireless systems, but they offer the highest level of accuracy and flexibility.

The features included in commercial fire alarms vary across the different systems. So, we’ve put together a list of the key elements your fire alarm system should include:

Control Unit:

(Often known as the control panel) The control unit receives information from the sensors about the inflow and outflow of air throughout the building and if any alarms are triggered. It is also the part of the system that can automatically alert the fire services or key staff members if the alarm is triggered out of office hours.

Power Backup:

This is a secondary source of power which is crucial in case of failure of the main power supply. Alarms are equipped with batteries for this purpose.

Initiating Tool:

A manual or automatic initiating tool sends crucial inputs to the control unit of the alarm. We recommend an automatic initiating tool as it will initiate the fire control system immediately and without the need for human action. For example, the automatic initiating tool will signal the sprinklers to turn on as soon as it receives early indications of fire. Automatic devices can also detect the physical changes associated with a fire outbreak.

These ‘definite’ detectors are:

  • Heat detector
  • Smoke detector
  • Flame detector
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Water flow detector

Notification appliances:

This is the component which notifies people to evacuate the premises. Systems usually do this with the help of audible signals, such as a loud siren or a visible indicator. Some appliances can be equipped to give live or pre-recorded instructions for evacuation.

A popular commercial fire alarm system: 24V (24 Volt) System

You may have noticed that the market is flooded with a variety of fire alarm installations. Hence, finding one that suits your needs can be an uphill task. To start with, pick an alarm with a strong market reputation.

The 24V fire alarm system is a popular choice due to its features and benefits, such as:

  • Affordable cost
  • Simple to use
  • 30 detectors per selected zone and significant potential for expansion
  • Extended backup battery duration
  • Combined smoke and heat detectors
  • 2-12 programmable zones
  • CE Certification

Help with commercial fire alarm maintenance

Our First Intervention Team provides a full fire alarm maintenance service, whether it’s advice on optimum solutions, fire alarm tests and maintenance, modifications and more. We also hold a range of qualifications and memberships so you can feel assured that you’re in the hands of professionals.

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