A fire alarm system is one of the most essential components of your building, and is critical in protecting you and the occupants of your building. Because of this, it is important that you understand the nuances of each type of system so you are prepared when it comes time to select the right product for your needs. The best way to accomplish this is to have a firm understanding of what types of systems are available; this article will help you on your way to make an informed decision.
There are two main types of fire alarm systems, conventional and addressable. Both of these systems interact with the various fire alarm system devices and components in a similar way however, they differ in how they are connected.
Conventional Fire Alarm Systems
A conventional fire alarm system connects to the control panel with each device on a separate wire, and are typically set up on zones. This way, when a device is activated, the system can identify the zone, and help narrow down the location of a potential fire. For example, if your building has four floors and each floor is set up as a zone, the fire department can identify which floor the fire is located on based on the zone that is activated.
Conventional Fire Alarm Systems are well suited for smaller facilities. They are considered an inexpensive option for buildings where it is not a priority to know the exact location.
Addressable Fire Alarm Systems
An addressable fire alarm system assigns a unique address to each device on the system. This means that you can identify the exact location of an activated device and advise fire personnel. All of the devices within a building are connected on one wire that is looped to the control panel. Because of this, if one end gets damaged, the system can still send communication to the control panel through the other end of the loop. These systems are very customizable, and are generally used for large buildings or complexes.
Addressable Fire Alarm Systems are ideal for large facilities that often require a more intricate fire alarm control panel. Buildings that consist of many floors or sections can utilize an addressable system to identify the exact location of an activated device. This ability can save large facilities time and money because if an emergency does occur, every element in the system is pre-assigned to a specific address that sends out a signal to indicate the exact location the fire is occurring.
Hybrid Fire Alarm Systems
A Hybrid Fire Alarm System combines the capabilities of both addressable and conventional fire alarm systems. Hybrid alarms combine the hardwired zone features of conventional fire alarms with addressable loops into a single panel.
This solution often works well for retrofit scenarios, and in existing buildings that are adding a new addition to the overall building structure.
For 19 years, Bulldog Fire and Security has been an expert in fire alarm system installation and service, having installed a variety of systems throughout Southwestern, Ontario.