Which Fire Alarm System Is Right for Your Business? Posted: 02/12/2021

Which Fire Alarm System Is Right for Your Business?

On the surface, your fire alarm system seems simple. The detectors react to the presence of a fire and send a message to sound the alarm. When you enter a building, you probably don’t care too much about how that system is installed.

It might surprise you to learn that there are several different types of fire alarm systems. It is important to be aware of the different systems that are available, as the type of system employed depends upon the appropriate legislation, the structure of the building and its purpose and use.

At the heart of the decision is safety. A safe and reliable system will ensure that every individual in the building is kept free from harm should an emergency arise and can evacuate in enough time. It’s also a crucial consideration from a legal standpoint, since the law in England states that every business should have “an appropriate fire detection system”.

That’s why, this month at Surrey Tech Services Ltd, we’re going to talk through the different fire alarm systems available for your business, detailing the benefits of each depending on your requirements.

 

Conventional fire alarm systems

A conventional fire alarm system is a cost-effective way for a business to protect its premises with a high level of fire detection. Although conventional systems cannot offer the pinpoint accuracy of an addressable fire alarm system, they can detect in which area or zone of a building a detector was triggered by smoke. They also include manual call points that can be pushed for activation. In the event of an emergency, sounders are triggered to alert you of a fire – this is because they are wired to the control panel.

Conventional fire alarm systems divide the protected area into zones, and in the event of a fire, the main control panel will display which zone may contain a potential fire hazard. Should your business get bigger, new detectors can easily be added into new zones and detectors can be moved to give an adequate amount of fire detection coverage. 

Conventional systems are suitable for most buildings that do not require higher protection and are simple to install and maintain. This includes shops, offices, hotels and other commercial properties.

Benefits of conventional fire alarm systems include:

  • Simple fire detection zones
  • Manual activation points
  • Easy to add additional zones and detectors

 

Addressable fire alarm systems

Unlike conventional fire alarm systems, this installation avoids the use of zones. Instead, every single button and smoke detector has a unique identifying code. Rather than showing a rough zone, the fire alarm control panel will tell you exactly which device raised the alarm. You’ll immediately see whether it was manually raised, or whether smoke or heat was detected by the system.

Addressable systems provide the chance to respond more quickly, and also to identify pranksters and stop them in their tracks. These systems can be ideal for hotels, schools and hospitals, where reporting accuracy is a top priority but a large building makes manually checking detectors unfeasible.

Addressable fire alarms will also continue to work even if there is an error with a detector. This means that you can quickly identify problems and faults, without any disruption elsewhere. 

Benefits of addressable fire alarm systems include:

  • Pinpoint accuracy of a fire
  • Identification of faults with detectors
  • Detects both smoke and heat

 

Analogue addressable fire alarm systems

These systems may also be referred to as intelligent fire alarm systems, of which there are several types – this depends on the procedure that is used. Most analogue detectors can only exhibit output signals, so it is the role of the control unit to determine whether there is a fire or fault present. However, with intelligent analogue systems, every detector has its own computer that assesses the surrounding environment and notifies the control panel of any issues.

The role of such systems is to help stop alarms occurring when there are no faults.

Benefits of analogue addressable fire alarm systems include:

  • Detection of fires and faults
  • Individual computers for each detector
  • Reduces the number of false alarms 

 

Wireless fire alarm systems

Unlike traditional wired alarm systems, wireless systems use radio communications to connect sensors with controllers. This innovative design is essentially an analogue addressable system but without wires.

Not only are these systems quicker and easier to install, but they can also be placed in almost any location thanks to the elimination of cable. This is particularly useful for narrow buildings or areas where the system may need to be moved around for optimum effectiveness.

Plus, if you’re trying to maintain a certain aesthetic for your building and don’t want wires trailing your walls, this is the ideal solution – there’s also no need to redecorate after installation. It’s also great if you have a listed building and want to avoid running wires through walls and on ceilings.

Wireless fire alarm systems are typically battery-powered. If you’re choosing this method of installation, then you must be prepared to regularly check that the system is working as it should be in order to meet fire safety regulations.

Benefits of wireless fire alarm systems include:

  • Ideal for maintaining building aesthetics
  • Quick and easy to install and expand
  • Addressable system without the wires

 

Monitored fire alarm systems

If you’re working away at your desk and the fire alarm goes off, you can immediately assess the situation and, if necessary, call emergency services. But if no one is in the building at the weekend, at night or on bank holidays, who is going to alert the authorities in the event of a fire?

Adding a fire alarm monitoring service to your current fire alarm system is the best way to keep your business safe even when you are not in the office. If a heat or smoke detector has been triggered, a fire alarm monitoring service can immediately notify emergency services or the keyholder who can then decide on whether emergency services are needed. This, in turn, can help to save lives and provide a faster response time, giving the emergency services the best chance of saving your building.

Benefits of monitored fire alarm systems include:

  • Ideal for protection out of hours
  • Faster response without the need to raise the alarm
  • Alarm receiving centre alerts emergency services and keyholders

 


Hopefully, using this information means that you’ll be able to make a more informed decision when it comes to selecting a fire alarm system for your business or commercial property. However, if you’re still unsure about which system is most appropriate for your building, look no further than our expert engineers at Surrey Tech Services Ltd. We have all the industry experience and expertise to help you uphold your legal obligations and will tailor a system to suit your business and the property itself. 

Call us today for more details on commercial fire alarm systems, as well as installation and maintenance. We’re always here to help protect your staff, visitors and business from the threat of fire.

Protect your business premises today

Call us now on Call us on 08081 689 497 to find out more about our fire alarm design, installation and maintenance services.

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