Fire alarm systems come in numerous types designed for buildings of all sizes, from relatively small schools or apartment complexes to large factories, commercial warehouses or high rises. Due to their scope and design, fire alarm systems are usually only found in commercial or public buildings. Homes are generally covered by smoke alarms and/or a home security system that is linked with a fire alarm. Produced by many major brands including Siemens, Honeywell Ademco and Firelite, fire alarm systems are available in conventional, as well as addressable varieties.
Conventional vs. Addressable Fire Alarm Systems
Conventional fire alarm systems are primarily used nowadays in smaller buildings with an easily manageable number of fire monitoring zones. Conventional systems do not tell an operator or a firefighter exactly where a fire has broken out or which sensor detected it. In schools, apartment complexes, churches or other relatively small buildings, conventional systems work fine. Addressable systems are more complex, fully-integrated setups that pinpoint the initiating sensor, and by extension, where the fire broke out.
Commercial fire alarm systems are comprised of the main control panel, which is its brain, and a communication device with a central monitoring station. A series of initiating sensors occupying each fire zone are connected to the control panel. Notification appliances or sirens are interspersed throughout a structure to spread the alarm. Other components include emergency water or agent release systems and advanced annunciation/communication systems.