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The Basics of a Well Designed Fire Alarm System

Posted on: November 21, 2013

A well designed fire alarm system is the number one means of alerting your building’s occupants of a fire. The most effective fire alarm systems comprise a number of different components, including:

Fire Alarm Panel

The fire alarm panel is the center of operations for your entire fire alarm system, monitoring inputs and system integrity, controlling output, and relaying information across every other connected device. It’s important to make sure your fire alarm panel meets your fire protection needs and goals, so click here for more information about selecting a fire alarm panel.

Primary Power Supply

Usually a non-switched 120- or 240-volt AC source, the primary power supply is typically controlled by the power company. Most commercial applications use dedicated branch circuits that supply power only to the fire alarm system and its constituents.

Secondary Power Supply

The secondary power supply is usually made up of lead-acid storage batteries, generators, and / or other emergency power sources. This power source will ensure your fire alarm system stays alert even in the event of an outage.

Initiating Devices

Initiating devices, which can be manually or automatically activated, act as inputs to the fire alarm panel.

Manual initiating devices, including “Break Glass” stations, buttons, and pull stations, should be located near exits and be easy to find, identify, and operate.

Automatic initiating devices respond to detectable physical changes associated with fire, including heat, smoke and other combustion products, flames, carbon monoxide, etc. Other innovations analyze the visible effects of fire and movement.

Notification Appliances

Notification appliances include visual notifiers like flashing strobe lights, audio devices like horns and speakers, or a combination of these. Their purpose is to alert people to an emergency and help facilitate swift and safe exit. Emergency notifications are designed to be distinct and universally understandable so that there is no confusion with other signals.

Building Safety Interfaces

Building Safety Interfaces control various aspects of the building itself, including lighting operation, air and smoke flow, etc. Examples of these devices include duct dampers and fire doors.

Emergency Voice Alarm Communications Systems (EVACS)

EVACS give verbal commands to people in your building during an emergency. They can be used to provide specific instructions, and are especially helpful is high rises, arenas, hospitals, and detention facilities where exiting the building may be difficult.

Voice-based systems are typically used during fire, security, weather, and other similar events. This allows response personnel to facilitate orderly evacuation and allows for notification of occupants of real-time changes in the circumstances of the situation.

If you need to install a fire alarm system in your building in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC, call Guardian Fire Protection today.

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