Can you imagine the scenario of sitting in a business meeting and all of a sudden realizing that the smell of smoke is not coming from the building’s dedicated smoking section and that something more serious is wrong? Without an early warning system in the building, a situation like this can quickly turn into chaos.
Although there are many different types of fire alarm systems for commercial buildings, they all have a lot in common. Codes, regulations, and rules are set out by local jurisdiction regarding a commercial fire alarm systems’ functionality, including the type of fire alarm system and what monitoring procedure must be followed.
The Ins and Outs of Commercial Fire Alarm Systems
First off, let’s clarify that a fire alarm system is not the same as the individual fire protection apparatuses such as fire sprinklers or smoke detectors. A fire alarm system is a more complex system able to protect your property and employees in the event of a fire. Below, we take a closer look at each component.
The fire alarm system aims to detect fires and warn the people inside the building and the emergency response team waiting at a central location. The fire alarm system can identify where inside the building there is a smoke or fire issue. These systems can also detect when there may be an error in the system’s wiring, which could potentially prevent the system from working.
The key functions of a fire alarm system are to detect, alert, monitor, and control. The system uses a network of devices and appliances, and control panels to attain these four main functions.
Initiating Devices: This is the detection part of the system, and these devices include smoke detectors, heat detectors, sprinkler water flow sensors, and pull stations.
Indicating Appliances: This is the alert part of the system that sounds the alarm and signals everyone about the fire hazard. These appliances include loud horns, chimes, bells, and strobe lights for any hard of hearing persons.
Alarm Panel: This is the user interface and central monitoring and controlling element of the system. You’ll find a display on the panel, showing the building’s current state regarding fire and smoke, and a touchpad that allows you to program, troubleshoot, silence, and reset the system. The call to the emergency response and monitoring team goes out via the fire alarm panel if the alarm is set off.
Auxiliary Devices: Additional devices can be added to a fire alarm system, such as LED indicator lights showing which zone in a building a fire alarm was triggered, alarm silence switches, electromagnetic door holders, fire doors, elevator capture, and shutdown, etc.
The 3 Operational System States
The fire alarm system will display which operational state it is currently in. There are usually 3 states: normal, alarm, and trouble.
- Normal: When everything is going A-Okay, the system will be in a Normal state with all devices, appliances, wiring, and circuitry working properly. In this state, no alarms have been activated.
- Alarm: This is when an initiating device has been activated. A sound will be heard warning everyone of the issue and danger, and the display will show from which zone within the building the alert is coming from. This way, emergency responders know where to go immediately.
- Trouble: This state has to do with a system error, for example, a short or wiring issue or if the system’s phone line connection is not working. The display will show an issue, and a buzzer or alert sound will initiate awareness of the maintenance issue. The sound will not be confused with the actual fire alarm sound.
Creating and executing a fire alarm system for your commercial building is no easy deed, but it is an essential part of protecting your employees, facility, and investment. To create a fire alarm system to suit your property, make sure you turn to a team of professionals who are experts in working with the codes and local authorities and can create a unique solution for your business.
How We Can Help
Aeon Systems offers custom fire alarm systems to protect your home or business with an early warning and prompt emergency response in a situation where every second counts. No matter the size of the environment you wish to protect or the level of protection you wish to provide, we have a system compatible with your needs and budget.
A fire alarm system is usually part of a total small business security system providing burglary protection in addition to fire protection. More than just a smoke detector, fire security systems monitor doors, windows, and spaces within the home or business from intrusions. With a fire security system, the second layer of protection can report a fire or intrusion to the monitoring center and the local authorities.