Fire prevention and safety is a vital piece in protecting the things you care about, whether it’s your home or business. Commercial businesses are required to have at least one commercial fire alarm. Not sure what your options are or what a commercial fire alarm is? If you’re doing research, look no further. Here is more information on the basic types of commercial fire alarm systems.

fire-alarm-pull-stationTwo Basic Categories

All commercial fire alarms fall into two basic categories: automatic or manual. Automatic fire alarms are set off when they detect a certain degree of smoke or heat. They send out a loud, audible signal as well as a visual signal to warn those in the building. Manual fire alarms have a lever that needs to be physically pulled by an occupant in order to set off the fire alarm. When considering types of commercial fire alarm systems, it’s helpful to know these categories.

Types of Commercial Alarms

In addition to the two categories above, there are three different types of fire alarm systems: conventional, addressable, and hybrid.

Conventional fire alarms consist of multiple sections, or “zones,” in a building with one central control panel. Fire alarms are set up in each numbered zone and can be monitored separately. Each detection device is wired separately to the main control panel. This type of system is best suited for smaller offices or retail businesses since they are ideal for individualized spaces. They are more affordable as well, especially because they are fairly simple to install.

Addressable fire alarms, or “intelligent systems” as they are often called, are ideal for large commercial buildings. They can be customized in a variety of ways and can include both automatic and manual alarms. An advantage of this type of commercial fire alarm system is that each device has a unique identification or “address” which allows emergency responders to quickly locate the fire. Another huge benefit is the complex programming that can be done. For example, evacuations can be carefully planned depending on which detector is triggered with what’s called “cause and effect” programming. This can control the timing of other alarms in different areas of the building to allow for safer and more efficient evacuations.
Addressable fire alarms are more expensive but may be more cost-effective in the end. All devices in this type of commercial fire alarm system are connected by one wire in a loop to the main control panel, making it easy to add additional devices later on. Its capability for complex programming can also prevent costly activity.

Finally, there are hybrid fire alarm systems. Some businesses require the features of both conventional and addressable fire alarm systems. In those instances, a hybrid system allows for this.

Choosing A System

If you’re still not sure which type of commercial fire alarm system is right for your business, there are many professionals available to help identify your specific needs. Fire safety is crucial and you must do your best to assess fire risk and follow government legislation. If you are in need of a commercial fire alarm system, give the team at Circle City a call at 317-542-7087 today!

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