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A fire alarm system is an active fire protection system that controls all the fire alarm modules in a building. It is composed of alarm initiating devices (smoke detectors and heat sensors), alarm notification appliances (sirens or devices that produce loud noises), fire control units (sprinkler systems or fire extinguisher systems), power supplies and wirings. But how do they work?
The fire alarm system can be set off automatically by smoke detectors, heat detectors or manually. These sensors are set to detect certain levels of heat or smoke that could be an indication of fire. A loud bell or a siren sometimes accompanied by blinking or flashing lights for individuals who have hearing problems, blasts to alert occupants in the building. To truly understand how a fire alarm system works, let us go further into the components of the fire alarm system. In a fire alarm system, there is always a smoke detector to detect smoke or fire.
A “Fire Alarm” is generally any device that makes a loud sound to warn people when there is a fire Someone set off the fire alarm.
A fire alarm is a unit made of several devices, which uses visual and audio signalization to warn people about a possible fire, smoke, or carbon monoxide occurrence in the area of coverage. Fire alarms are usually set-in fire alarm systems to provide zonal coverage for residences and commercial buildings. The warning signal is either a loud siren/bell or a flashing light, or it can include both. Some fire alarm systems use additional warnings, such as sending a voice message or making a phone call.
Alarm systems are primarily designed to warn occupants of a fire so they can safely evacuate the premises. Fire alarm systems are important in providing occupants of buildings prompt warning if a fire occurs.
The two main types of smoke detectors on the market include ionization detectors and photoelectric detectors.
When smoke particles pass thru the chamber of the optical detector, it scatters light that triggers the alarm. Inside the ionization detector, in case the smoke particle enters the chamber of the ionization detector, it will reduce air ionization within the chamber of the ionization detector and activates the alarm.
The basic fire alarm system components are:
- Fire alarm initiating devices
- Fire notification devices
- Fire alarm control panel (FACP)
- Primary power supply
- Backup power supply
- Battery power backups
With fire alarm monitoring, the system is connected to the fire department. When smoke sets off a fire alarm, heat triggers a sprinkler head, or someone activates a manual pull station, a message is sent to the central monitoring station where an operator immediately notifies the appropriate local fire department.
A wired fire alarm system is one that makes use of wires to send signals between the various devices across the system and the control panel, while a wireless fire alarm system makes use of radio frequencies to transmit the signals.
People pay about $10 for a simple fire alarm device. Average models range from $20 to $30, while high-quality devices cost about $65. Alarms cost less than general CO detectors, which start at $20 and can be priced as much as $165. The average price for is $65 per alarm for residential installation.
A smoke detector is a device that senses smoke, typically as an indicator of fire. Commercial smoke detectors issue a signal to a fire alarm control panel as part of a fire alarm system, while household smoke detectors, also known as smoke alarms, generally issue an audible or visual alarm from the detector itself or several detectors if there are multiple smoke detectors interlinked.
Ionization-type smoke alarms have a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically charged plates, which ionizes the air and causes current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the flow of ions, thus reducing the flow of current and activating the alarm.
Smoke alarms are designed to warn people in a building when a fire occurs in that building. They are especially useful in residential structures – houses, apartments and mobile homes – or any other building where people may sleep.
Smoke alarms are self-contained, single or multiple-station smoke-sensing devices typically found in homes. Smoke detectors are smoke-sensing devices that are not self-contained. They operate as an interconnected system and are sometimes monitored remotely.
Photoelectric smoke detectors respond faster to fire that is in it’s early, smoldering stage. The smoke from the smouldering stage of a fire is typically made up of large combustion particles between 0.3 and 10.0 µm. Ionization smoke detectors respond faster (typically 30–60 seconds) to the flaming stage of a fire.
This battery characteristic can cause a smoke alarm to enter the low battery chirp mode when air temperatures drop. Most homes are the coolest between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. That’s why the alarm may sound a low-battery chirp in the middle of the night, and then stop when the home warms up a few degrees.
You should make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, preferably in hallways and landings. And placing smoke detectors near to sleeping areas and in rooms where there are electrical appliances could give you the extra warning you need.
Intended for full building notification, horns and horn/strobes produce a loud sound to notify occupants to evacuate the buildings. Strobes and horn/strobes are ideal for warning hearing-impaired individuals during an emergency event. Installers can easily adapt devices to suit a wide range of application requirements by using field-selectable sound patterns and volume settings.
– Immediately pull the nearest fire alarm pull station as you exit the building.
– When evacuating the building, be sure to feel doors for heat before opening them to be sure there is no fire danger on the other side.
– If there is smoke in the air, stay low to the ground, especially your head, to reduce inhalation exposure. Keep on hand on the wall to prevent disorientation and crawl to the nearest exit.
– Once away and clear from danger, call your report contact and inform them of the fire.
– Go to your refuge area and await further instructions from emergency personnel.