Is it time to upgrade your fire alarm system?
A fire alarm is critical in notifying your building’s occupants in the event of a fire.
There is no doubt that a proper fire alarm is essential to protecting you and your business. That is why when researching which product is right for you, it is crucial to understand the difference between the commercial fire alarms available on the market. From automatic to manual alarm options, the market is flooded with products that may or may not work for you. The best way to choose your new alarm is by getting to know what is out there and making an informed decision.
Manual and Automatic Alarm Devices
There are two main categories that fire alarm systems fall under: manual and automatic. A manual system requires the attention of a person to activate it (a lever at a pull station), whereas an automated system is triggered automatically (via smoke or heat detection).
Manual and automatic systems are often matched together. A manual device allows for immediate response if an incident has occurred and an automatic device protects a facility when no one is around to respond to a potential hazard.
Although manual alarm systems are sometimes on their own, they are usually connected to the central fire alarm system in the building and your Fire Alarm monitoring panel as well. They are a unique piece of equipment that is used as either part of a manual or automatic alarm system.
An automatic fire alarm system is designed to detect a fire in its earlier stages, notify building occupants of potential danger, and convey the message to emergency first responders and/or your Signals Receiving Centre through audio-visual alerts.
Types of Fire Alarm Systems
Just as there are two different categories of alarm systems, there are also several different types to choose from.
Conventional Fire Alarms
A conventional fire alarm system is designed as an early warning system for small facilities. They are considered an inexpensive option for businesses where it is not a priority to know the exact location of the fire. Instead, these alarms will sound throughout an entire building, suggesting a possible hazard without giving an exact location.
Addressable Fire Alarms
If you require an alarm system that does give you the ability to locate the exact location of the fire, then an addressable fire alarm is for you. Known as an “intelligent system,” these devices include both automatic and manual alarm options while having the ability to monitor all the alarms present in your building.
Although they are more expensive than a conventional alarm system, these systems can save large facilities time and money because if an emergency does occur, every element in the system is pre-assigned to its own address that sends out a signal to indicate the exact location the fire is occurring.
Hybrid Fire Alarms
Arguably, by choosing a hybrid first alarm system, you are getting the best value because they combine the capabilities of both addressable and conventional fire alarm systems.
Alarm Monitoring Features
When choosing your fire alarm monitoring system, make sure you choose a device with the ability to send alarms directly to a Signals Receiving Centre which can contact the authorities in case of emergency. Not only does this ensure that your business is going to be safe when nobody is there, but if there happens to be a real emergency involving a fire, people trying to evacuate the building will not have to worry about calling emergency services themselves. Most modern systems come equipped with these capabilities, but if you are using an out-of-date system, it is your responsibility to ensure your safety as well as that of your employees and your business.
When it comes to ensuring the safety of your assets, do not diminish the importance of proper fire protection. By doing your research, and asking the appropriate questions, you can ensure that if a fire does occur inside your business, it can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.
At Fire Monitoring of Canada Inc., we offer fire alarm, and fire alarm monitoring systems, as well as, sprinklers, extinguishers, and other products that can help keep your business safe from fires. With over 25 years of experience, we have established ourselves as the leaders in fire safety and aim to use our knowledge and experience to keep you safe.