Installing a fire alarm system to alert your staff to a fire in your building is excellent fire protection.
With a system of protection in place, you are keeping your employees, your clients, and your business safe from fire-related damage and injuries.
The cost to install a fire alarm system is a small price to pay for the safety it affords your business, your employees, and your clients.
The Difference Between Commercial Fire Alarm Systems and Fire Sprinkler Systems
The installation is only the first step in ensuring full fire protection. The second step is educating your staff on how these systems of protection work. You and your staff need to know how to operate commercial fire alarm systems, no matter how advanced.
The average person thinks fire alarm systems and fire sprinkler systems are the same. Easy to understand since they are usually in a bundle. But they do differ from each other.
Commercial Fire Alarm Systems
These are early warning systems that provide immediate and life-saving alerts in the event of a fire. They not only alert anyone in the vicinity but also alert the local authorities to an emergency in your building.
Fire Sprinkler Systems
These are designed to contain or extinguish a fire until firefighters arrive. They even work in conjunction with firefighters in putting out a fire.
A standard fire hose releases up to 125 gallons of water per minute, while quick response fire sprinklers release 24 gallons per minute.
According to the American Fire Sprinkler Association, a combination of fire alarm systems and fire sprinklers could reduce overall fire injuries, deaths, and property damage by a minimum of 50%.
The latest commercial alarm systems are so well-engineered and well-designed that they empower the people in the building, allowing them to communicate to those outside the building or facility via text messaging, email, voice messaging, and outdoor speaker systems.
Automatic Fire Alarm Systems Versus Manual Fire Alarm Systems
There are two types of fire alarms you can have in your commercial space: an automatic or a manual fire alarm.
The automatic alarm detects heat or smoke and sends an audio-visual alert to all occupants of the building.
The manual alarm system features pull stations stationed throughout the facility or building, which anyone can pull in the event of a fire.
The 3 Types of Commercial Fire Alarm Systems
Conventional fire alarm systems
Conventional fire alarm systems also called “four-wire fire alarm systems,” are widely used in smaller places of business such as shops and restaurants.
These systems are the most affordable to purchase. They work by dividing the building into detection zones. There are detectors and call points within each zone (even multiple ones) hardwired on dedicated circuits to the control panel.
If a detector is activated, the control panel identifies the circuit that contains the triggered device and indicates the zone from which the fire alarm sounded.
With this type of fire alarm system, you would have to search the area to locate the triggered device.
Analog-addressable fire alarm systems
Analog-addressable fire alarm systems also called “intelligent fire alarm systems” can provide details such as the exact location of the fire, fault, or smoke on individual detectors. With the advancement away from zones and circuits, this system allows increased flexibility, a broad scope of control, and rapid identification.
This type of fire alarm system is for large commercial premises and more complex networked systems. It is much more expensive and more complicated than conventional fire alarm systems.
Wireless fire alarm systems
These fire alarm systems are easier to install and provide as much protection as the wired fire alarm systems. There are no cables between detection devices and the control panel. Therefore, there is no need for long-term cable tests.
Today’s wireless fire alarm systems need to comply with the EN54-25 standard and can eliminate signal blocking and collision.
Most suitable for buildings or facilities where wired installations are prohibited such as grade-listed properties.
How To Determine The Right Kind Of Alarm System For Your Business
Alarm System Features
There are different aspects of a fire alarm system and what you need depends on your type of business. Some examples of which are smoke detection and heat detection.
These are add-ons and the installation of which depends on your preference and how much fire protection you desire for your business.
Minimum Fire Protection Requirement
There are city code requirements and local regulations in place that dictate the minimum standards for fire protection in facilities, buildings, and other places of business.
Check with city officials or the fire department to make sure you comply with their regulations. Once you have the basics in place, you can then add additional fire protection features that you deem essential.
Hire A NICET Professional For Inspections and Testing
It is one thing to know the basic requirements for fire protection and another thing to implement them.
A professional will help fit your building with the proper fire alarm systems and ensure they are in the best places for optimum fire protection and safety.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to fire protection and safety. A warehouse will have different safety needs than that of an apartment or office building. And data centers and research centers require specialized commercial fire alarm systems.
It’s crucial that you work with a reputable commercial fire protection company whose responsibilities don’t end once installation is complete.
Keep Your Business and Staff Safe with Commercial Fire Alarm Systems
An alarm system is designed to alert the authorities not only during office hours but even after once everyone has gone home. With fire alarm systems in place, you have a team monitoring your place of business at all times.
It has to go through proper testing, inspection, and maintenance to ensure that the system will work when the need arises, and it needs to go through regular inspection.
A reputable fire protection company will work in compliance with NFPA regulations and ensure your business and staff are safe from fire-related damages and injuries.