A fire alarm system is one of the most important life safety components within a building, and it is instrumental in ensuring a safe environment. As a result, it’s important to have an understanding of the available fire alarm systems to assist you in choosing the correct system for your facility.
The two primary types of fire alarm systems are conventional and addressable. Both of these engage with a fire alarm’s devices and components in a similar fashion, however they are connected in their own unique way.
Conventional Fire Alarm Systems
In a conventional fire alarm system, the control panel connects with each device on a separate wire. These devices are then grouped based on location to create a zone. In this set up, when a device is activated, the system knows which zone the device is located in, which can be displayed as such on the fire panel and/or annunciator. For example, if your facility has four floors and each floor is set up as a zone, the building manager and/or fire department can determine which floor the fire is located on based on the zone that is activated.
In a conventional fire alarm system, the control panel connects with each device on a separate wire, which are typically set up as zones. In this set up, when a device is activated, the system knows which zone the device is located in, which can be displayed as such on the fire panel and/or annunciator. For example, if your facility has four floors and each floor is set up as a zone, the building manager and/or fire department can determine which floor the fire is located on based on the zone that is activated.
A conventional fire alarm system is idea for small facilities. These systems are often a less expensive option for buildings where it is not a priority to know the exact location of the activated device.
Addressable Fire Alarm Systems
An addressable fire alarm system assigns a unique address to each device within the system. Because of this, you can pinpoint the location of the activated device and relay that information to the fire department. All of the system’s devices are connected to the fire alarm panel on one single wire loop. As a result, if one end of the loop is damaged, the system can still relay information to the control panel through the other end of the loop.
Addressable fire alarm systems are very customizable, and are typically used in large buildings or complexes. Facilities that are made up of many floors or sections can benefit from an addressable system by being able to identify the location of an activated device. This functionality can reduce response time by allowing the fire department to quickly identify the exact location of the activated device.
Hybrid Fire Alarm Systems
A hybrid fire alarm system brings together the functionality of both conventional and addressable fire alarm systems. Typically, a hybrid system combines the hardwired zones found in conventional systems, and combines it with addressable loops back to the control panel.
Hybrid fire alarm systems are often used for retrofit facilities and buildings that are adding an addition onto their building.
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