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Choosing The Right Fire Alarm System

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Choosing the right fire alarm system for you building is a big decision, and it’s important that you work with an experienced provider to determine your needs and ensure you choose the correct system.  To help you with the process, here are four steps to help you choose the right fire alarm system for your facility.

1. Determine Risks and Threats

The first step in choosing a fire alarm system is to identify all of the fire related risks within your building, and determine how you want the fire alarm to alert building occupants about those specific risks.  A fire alarm system not only detects the presence of a fire, it also consists of notification appliances like sirens, speakers, and strobes that alert people of an emergency. These threats may also indicate that it would be beneficial to implement additional fire safety measures such as adding sprinklers, smoke detectors, and heat sensors.

Once all of your fire related risks have been identified, they should be added to your fire risk assessment, which identifies any potential high-risk areas or hazards.  When you have identified where, how, and what types of fires can start, this information can be used to create a plan for early detection.

2. Consider Building Layout and Size

The layout and size of your building play an important role when choosing the right fire alarm system for your building.  A smaller facility may be best suited for a conventional fire alarm system, which connects the control panel with each device on a separate wire, which are then in turn set up as individual zones.  In this arrangement, when the alarm is activated, the system will identify the zone that is associated with the activated device.

Larger facilities often need a more complex fire alarm system.  These types of buildings are often best suited to an addressable fire alarm system.  This type of system assigns a unique address to each device on the system.  This will allow you to identify the exact location of an activated device.  In an addressable system, all of the devices are connected on one wire that loops back to the control panel.  These systems allow for more customization, and can be programmed to perform additional functions such as shutting down equipment, activating fire suppression, and recalling elevators.

3. Choose Your Devices

One of the most important functions of a fire alarm system is to alert building occupants of a potential danger.  Your building may have many different fire emergency scenarios, so you will need to choose the appropriate devices to address them.

Notification appliances like sirens, speakers, and strobes (flashing lights), can all be used to alert building occupants of an alarm.  Building safety components such as exit lighting and ventilation systems can help ensure that everyone exits the building safely and quickly.

You will also need to take accessibility requirements into consideration.  Vision, mobility, and auditory accessibility needs all need to be accounted for when designing your fire alarm system.

4. Do You Require Fire Alarm Monitoring

There are two main reasons that you may need or want to have fire alarm monitoring in your building.

Firstly, check to see if it is required by code.  The Fire Code and Building Code are used to identify what buildings need to have their fire alarm system monitored.  If your facility belongs in one of these classifications, the law requires you to have your fire alarm system professionally monitored.

Secondly, fire alarm monitoring provides peace of mind.  There may be building types that do not require to be monitored however, we always recommend adding this service in order to add a sense of security.

The fire alarm system is designed to identify the presence of a fire and notify people to get out.  They do not automatically alert the fire department of the alarm.  This means, if the fire alarm is activated, the fire department may not be notified until someone calls 9-1-1.  However, through fire alarm monitoring, you can rest assured that the fire department will be dispatched upon alarm activation.

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fire monitoring of canada logoFor over 30 years, Fire Monitoring of Canada (FMC) has been a leader in the monitoring of fire alarm and intrusion alarm systems.  If you would like to learn more about fire alarm systems, call us at 1 888 789 FIRE (3473), email fminfo@fire-monitoring.com, or fill out the contact form below.

 

 

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