Fire Alarm Systems: Advances in fire alarms will help save lives and prevent business losses
Before fire alarms, smoke detectors were primarily the primary indicator to alert building occupants to a fire. Prior to that, only one person calling the fire department could have resulted in minimal loss of property and life. Today, fire alarm systems have become complicated networks. With more recent advancements, fire alarms have improved diagnostics that only help in the reliability of the alarm system.
Although today’s smoke detectors and heads are more sensitive to fire and heat detection than 2005 systems, improvements are constantly being made from the development of addressable heads to touch screens or touch panels. These advances have allowed property owners, monitoring agencies, and fire departments greater ability to respond to true alarms rather than false alarms.
An addressable head is a recent development in fire detection and location. Before addressable heads, fire alarm panels would simply show the general location of the fire by identifying a generic zone. For small business owners with only a couple thousand feet of space this may be satisfactory, however for a larger space such as a storage facility, school, assisted living or hospital this may be literally a lifesaver.
There are several other components available for a commercial installation. Indicating devices, part of many fire alarm systems, help identify if a building is occupied. Often times, this particular feature would be helpful, especially in a school or assisted living facility. Electromagnetic door retainers can be very effective in securing or isolating sections of a building, thus slowing the progress of a fire. The way an electromagnetic door holder works is when an alarm is activated, the electromagnetic contact that is holding the door open is deactivated, which in turn causes the door to close freely. Many alarm panels are available with touch panels or touch screens. By simplifying the user interface in this way, it allows companies to train their employees in the use and understanding of fire safety and alarm systems quickly and efficiently.
Every business or commercial institution could benefit from investing in a new fire alarm control system or upgrading an existing alarm system. At a minimum, an inspection should be performed annually. In many cases, particular industries, such as restaurants or food-related facilities, hospitals, and schools, are generally required by law to conduct more frequent inspections. Along with an inspection, fire suppression systems are also required to be inspected. Although the components and accessories of a fire suppression system may not have activated, the parts wear out under certain conditions and must be adjusted periodically.