How to Choose the Right Fire Alarm System

Jul 29, 2019 | Fire Safety Tips

Fire alarms are not a choice, they are a necessity. It is one of the best ways to keep your property, tenants, or employees safe. How do you choose a fire alarm system when there are so many available out there?! Of all the fire protection services, picking out the appropriate alarm system can be a chore or, sometimes, near impossible. They all provide similar levels of protection but operate differently. Fire protection services can be challenging to navigate, but are important to have to protect your property and keep people safe. We broke down the differences to help you find the right alarm system for your protection needs.

Fire Detector Protection

 Manual Vs. Automatic Fire Alarms

This is one of the easiest choices to understand. Automatic fire alarms combine the fire detection and alarm into one device. An automatic alarm system senses heat and/or smoke and triggers an audio/visual signal that alerts you. A manual alarm system can result in the same alert but must be operated by a human (usually at a manual pull station). If you choose a manual fire protection system, keep in mind details like the height of pull stations and the force needed to operate pull stations. You are required to ensure manual pull stations are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Conventional Vs. Analogue Fire Alarm Systems

Conventional fire alarm systems divide a building in zones which are hardwired in a central control panel. When an alarm is triggered, the zone in which the alarm is located can be identified. For this reason, this system is recommended for small buildings where the exact location of the triggered alarm is easy to find. The same principle applies if a specific alarm fails and needs maintenance. In contrast, an analog fire alarm system provides detailed information on the exact location of a single device. These systems are more sophisticated and recommended for large buildings, complexes, hotels, etc.

Two-Wire Fire Alarm System

A two-wire fire alarm system is similar to a conventional fire alarm system but it includes sounders on the same circuit as the detection circuit. This means that you can use a single circuit per zone instead of a separate sounder and detection circuit. Two-wire alarm systems are more expensive than conventional alarm systems but can save you the cost of wiring sounder circuits, and are faster to install. Similar to conventional alarm systems, two-wire fire alarm systems are recommended for smaller buildings.

Wireless Fire Alarm System

You can eliminate wiring between detectors and control panels all together by installing a wireless fire alarm system. Wireless fire alarms are quicker to install and recommended for large, multi-building complexes like school campuses, hospitals, industrial parks, etc.

Type of Detector

Fire Detector

There are multiple kinds of detection signals that each alarm system may use to trigger the audio and visual alert. Each has advantages and disadvantages depending on the context of the potential fire.

  • Air-sampling smoke detectors: sensitive, but only detect smoke
  • Ionization detector: detects fire particles from fast-flame fires
  • Photoelectric detector: detects fire particles from slower burning fires
  • Dual-sensor detectors: combines ionization and photoelectric detectors
  • Heat sensors: detects the increased thermal energy
  • Aspirating smoke-detector: greater reliability and efficiency than traditional detectors

As you can see, the fire protection services you need depends mostly on how big your business is and where the greatest threat of fire is coming from.  Whatever fire alarm system you choose, Marco Protection Systems LLC can help you with a vast offering of fire protection services.  From installation to maintenance, to repair, Marco Protection Systems LLC can provide the fire protection services that fit the size, scale, and industry of your business.  Contact Marco today to learn more about their services.


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