A fire detection system is designed to detect fire and combustion products in an emergency situation and alert building occupants to initiate evacuation where necessary. The type of fire detection system used in your building should be based on your fire safety requirements, which can be determined through a risk assessment of your building or facility.
When selecting a fire safety system, you must also consider the ongoing cost and commitment that will be required over the life of the system. The Australian Fire Code mandates that regular Inspection, Testing, Repair and Maintenance on Fire Alarm and Emergency Voice Communication Systems be undertaken and completed by qualified technicians on an annual basis.
Regular service and maintenance helps to identify any problems before they arise, which could potentially endanger lives. The early detection of fire plays a critical role in protecting the safety of your occupants, staff and potential emergency response personnel as well as minimizing the loss, damage and downtime of your business. Our systems comprises of intelligence addressable and conventional.
An effective fire detection system eliminates damage
- Heat Detectors: spot and line heat detection.
- Smoke Detectors: photoelectric, ionisation and multi-criteria.
- Flame Detectors: ultraviolet, infrared & dual spectrum.
- Audible Alarm Devices such as Bells, Horns or Speakers.
- Emergency call buttons
- Specialized HVAC duct sensors
A fire detection system uses a smoke detector to detect a fire before it actually starts. An effective fire detection system eliminates damage by ensuring that a fire can be prevented before it even starts. A fire detector may also have a direct connection to an alarm monitoring center.
Different premises have different protection requirements. The preferred detection device is the smoke detector. In premises not suitable for a smoke detector, such as kitchens, a heat detector is used. Hybrid detectors which combine smoke, heat and CO detection can be used in premises where vehicles are kept.
Fire alarm specialty equipment, such as sampling systems, fiber-optic systems, digital linear heat detection cable, flame detectors and optical beam smoke detectors, can be used in premises not suitable for ordinary fire detectors. Read more about fire alarm specialty equipment.
A fire detection & alarm system has a number of devices working together to detect and warn people through visual and audio appliances when smoke, fire, carbon monoxide or other emergencies are present. These alarms may be activated automatically from smoke detectors, and heat detectors or may also be activated via manual fire alarm activation devices such as manual call points or pull stations. Alarms can be either motorized bells or wall mountable sounders or horns.
Fire Alarm Systems.
The choice of fire alarm system depends on the building structure, the purpose and use of the building and current legislation. In new or altered buildings the enforcement body is the local building control, and the relevant guidance is explained in section new or altered buildings.
This guidance contains brief descriptions of the major components which go to make up a fire alarm system. The points to be considered are intended to highlight the variables which can exist and need to be considered whilst designing and compiling a specification for component parts. It is not the object of this note to consider the details of different circuit types or to discuss their relative merits.
Types of Fire Alarm System
All Fire Alarm Systems essentially operate on the same principle. If a detector detects smoke or heat or someone operates a break glass unit (manual break point), then alarm sounders operate to warn others in the building that there may be a fire and to evacuate. It may also incorporate remote signaling equipment which would alert the fire brigade via a central station. Fire Alarm Systems can be broken down into four categories:
Conventional Fire Alarm System
- Analogue Addressable
- Wireless systems
Kentec Sigma CP-R 2 Zone
Designed for use with the Sigma K11 and T11 2 zone conventional fire alarm panels, the CP-R 2 zone repeater panel is available in mains powered (230V AC) or 24V DC versions. Up to 7 CP-R repeater panels can be connected to a single Kentec Sigma master panel, allowing access to all its indicators and functions from different areas of the premises.
- A maximum of 7 repeater panels can be connected to one Sigma master panel
- Compatible with the following conventional fire alarm panels:
Kentec Sigma K11 Fire Alarm Panel - 2 Zone
Kentec Sigma T11 Fire Alarm Panel - 2 Zone
- Two versions to choose from: 230V AC mains powered or 24V DC
- Acts as an additional control unit for the fire alarm system
- Mimics the master panels indicators and functions at different areas of the site
- Maximum length of data cable from the main panel to the last repeater panel: 1200 meters
- Mains powered (230V AC) panels are available with or without 2 x 12V, 7Ah stand-by batteries. Panel requires stand-
Manual Fire Alarm Break Glass Call Point
A Break Glass Call Point is a device which enables personnel to raise the alarm by breaking the frangible element on the fascia. They should be mounted 1.4m from the floor and sited where they can be easily seen. Manual Call Points should be sited on the floor landings of stairways and at exits to open air. It should be noted that Call Points should be fitted on the floor side of an access door to a staircase so the floor of origin is indicated at the Control Panel. Extra points should be sited, where necessary, so that the greatest travel distance from any point in the building to the nearest call point does not exceed 30m. A greater number of Call Points may be needed in high risk areas or if the occupants are likely to be slow in movement. Flameproof call points are available, also handle operated points for use in areas where broken glass may cause a hazard.
Red Fire Alarm Bell
Six inch (6″) indoor and outdoor Red Fire Alarm Belll, includes the back box for mounting. Featuring corrosion resistant red enamel finish, a heavy steel gong, and an easy to install 4 wire design.
- Fire Bell 10″ 120 Volt AC (UL)
- Often used as a school bell, or in hotels, our fire alarm bells have been in service for 30 years.
- Back Box sold separately. Be sure to choose the alarm bell with the correct voltage.
- Indoor and outdoor installation. Argco is the bell store for professionals.
Rated Current: 25mA – Sound Level: 95 dB
C-Tec CFP AlarmSense Fire Alarm Panel - 2 Zone
The design of the C-Tec CFP AlarmSense 2 zone fire alarm panel allows for detection devices such as smoke detectors, heat detectors and manual call points to be connected to the same pair of supply wires as sounder and strobe components. This allows for a quicker and more cost-effective installation than other conventional fire alarm systems. Acceptable for BS 5839-1 and BS 5839-6, the CFP AlarmSense fire alarm system is particularly useful for Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
- Designed to comply with EN 54 Parts 2 and 4
- Two-wire conventional fire alarm panel
- A wide range of engineering functions
- Maximum number of detectors/manual call points per zone: 25
- Fire and fault conditions are displayed with light indicators
Keypad and key switch entry to access level 2
- Features open-collector remote and reset outputs
Includes fire and fault relays and "class change" and alert inputs
End of line units included (one per zone)
- Semi-flush or surface mounting options
Low quiescent current
- Using a repeater driver card, the panel can be connected with up to 8 x CFP repeater panels
- AlarmSense detectors, call points and sounders can be fitted across the same two zone wires
- Please note: The panel requires a 3.2Ah 24V back-up battery. These are sold separately.
Fire Hose Reel (Swinging)
Fire Hose Reel (Fixed
This high quality certified Swinging Fire Hose Heel is supplied with a wall-mounted bracket, hose guide, durable nozzleThis high quality SABS certified fire hose reel is supplied with a wall-mounted bracket, hose guide, durable nozzle and 30 metres hose
The 19mm fixed manual fire hose reel has been a mainstay of fire fighting for decades. it can deliver continuous water easily and reliably at up to 12 metres. A jet spray nozzle is included and options include manual or automatic, fixed or swinging, 19mm or 25mm
Fire Hose Reels provide a reasonably accessible and controlled supply of water to combat a potential Class A fire risk. Various types of Fire Hose Reels are available to meet specific needs. With a standard fully extended length of 36 metres, Fire Hose Reel features: - A unique ball valve shut off device, ensuring the maximum flow of water is available to the hose with one movement of a lever - A solid brass hose nozzle - Quick and easy installation
24V Batteries for Fire Alarm Panels
Addressable and conventional fire alarm panels require 24V lead acid back-up batteries. Available in several capacities, these lead acid batteries are ideal for use with XFP, CFP, CFP AlarmSense, Rafiki Twinflex, Morley and Advanced MxPro 5 fire alarm panels.
- 2 x 12V batteries combined to produce a single 24V unit
- Can be installed and operated in any orientation except permanently inverted
Many sizes available, please refer to your alarm panel manual for compatibility
- Low pressure release valve fitted; allows gases to escape and then reseal
Up to 5 years lifespan - at 20°C
- The 3.2Ah battery can also be used to power the XFP networkable 16 zone and 32 zone repeater panels
- Also suitable for many other uses including access control systems and security alarms
C-Tec CFP AlarmSense Fire Alarm Panel Repeater
The repeater driver card enables the CFP AlarmSense conventional fire alarm panels to connect with up to 8 CFP repeaters. Repeater panels allow the functions and controls of a master fire alarm panel to be accessed from different areas of a site. Scimitar repeaters are fitted with driver cards as standard; however the CFP AlarmSense main conventional fire alarm panels also need a card fitted in order to achieve the repeater system.
- Designed for use with the CFP AlarmSense 2, 4 and 8 zone fire alarm panels
- Enables up to 8 CFP repeaters to connect to a single CFP AlarmSense panel
- One repeater driver card required per master panel
Ideal for large commercial applications where access to the functions of the master panel is required at different areas of a premises
Carbon monoxide detector
Ideal for new builds, re-wiring projects and property refurbishments, the Kidde 4MCO is a mains powered carbon monoxide (CO) alarm that can be interlinked by wire with the Kidde Firex smoke and heat alarms. Fitted with a rechargeable lithium back-up battery, the Kidde 4MCO has a 7 year sensor lifespan and provides a warning when the unit has reached the end of it's life. The alarm is available with or without a digital display screen
Product Lifespan: 7 years
Power: 230V mains powered with battery backup
Backup Battery: Rechargeable lithium battery
Warranty: 7 year warranty
Suitable for ceiling installation
CE marked and Kitemarked to BS EN 50291-1
Can be hard wire interlinked with the Kidde
Firex range of smoke and heat alarms
Sensitivity level: 30ppm (parts per million) CO gas
Features a test/reset button for regular testing
Option to have standard LED or digital display
Provides end of life warning when the alarm has reached the end of it's life
Sounds an 85dB audible alarm on activation
LED display indicates alarm state, power supply status and low battery
Digital display provides early warning of intermittent and low CO levels and shows FIRE or CO when interconnected with other Kidde alarms
In a Conventional Fire Alarm System, a number of call points and detectors are wired to the Fire Alarm Control Panel in Zones. A Zone is a circuit and typically one would wire a circuit per floor or fire compartment. The Fire Alarm Control Panel has a number of Zone Lamps. The reason for having Zones is to give a rough idea as to where a fire has occurred. This is important for the fire brigade and of course for the building management. The accuracy of knowing where a fire has started is controlled by the number of Zones a Control Panel has and the number of circuits that have been wired within the building. The Control Panel is wired to a minimum of two sounder circuits which could contain bells, electronic sounders or other audible devices. Each circuit has an end of line device which is used for monitoring purposes
What Are the Different Types of Fire Extinguishers?
There are five main types of fire extinguishers
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
- Wet chemical.
Each type is easily identifiable by their names, colours, and sometimes their hoses. Depending on their size, some may not come with a flexible hose, such as smaller foam or aqua water spray extinguishers.
Types of extinguishers
The Classes of Fire
There are six classes of fire in total.
- Class A fires – combustible materials: caused by flammable solids, such as wood, paper, and textiles
- Class B fires – flammable liquids: such as petrol, paint or spirits
- Class C fires – flammable gases: like propane and butane
- Class D fires – flammable metals: chemicals such as magnesium, lithium or potassium
- Electrical fires – electrical equipment: such as computers and photocopiers. Note though that once the electrical item is removed, the fire changes class
- Class F fires – cooking oils: such as olive oil or butter. Typically a chip-pan fire
There are two types water extinguishers: water spray
and dry water mist
Standard water extinguishers
These will be solid red and will have the word ‘water’ or ‘aqua spray’ printed across them in white text. They are your classic model: they dispense water at a high pressure to extinguish flames.
Water extinguishers are only suitable for class A fires, which means they can fight fires that involve wood, cardboard, paper, plastics, fabric and textiles, and other solid materials.
: do not use water extinguishers on burning fat and oil fires and electrical appliances.
Water extinguishers can sometimes contain chemical additives that improve their effectiveness by up to 300%. The chemicals remove the water’s natural surface tension so that it soaks into burning materials more effectively when used.
Dry water mist extinguisher
These types of fire extinguishers will be solid red and will have the words ‘water mist’ printed within a white rectangle.
Dry water mist extinguishers are unique in that they can combat almost all types of fires, including class F fires that are usually difficult to attack. The extinguisher’s nozzle converts water into ‘dry’ microscopic particles, which are then drawn into the fire and simultaneously cool and suffocate it to extinguish the flames.
They are also effective for fire-fighting because they form a safety barrier between the user and the fire – which repels some of the heat – and do not leave hard-to-clean residue behind.
Warning: Although they are not currently classified as suitable for fighting class B (liquids) and C (gases) fires, dry water mist extinguishers have been identified by fireservice.co.uk as effective against them.
Other types will be better suited for fighting electrical fires, but dry mist extinguishers have usually had dielectrical tests carried out on them which means that if they are accidentally used on electrical fires, they will not pose as significant a hazard as normal water extinguishers.
There are three types of powder extinguisher: ABC powder, M28 powder, and L2 powder.
ABC powder extinguisher
These types of extinguishers will say ‘powder’ in white text over a blue rectangle, and underneath the rectangle will be written ‘ABC powder’.
As their name suggests, these are designed to combat class A, B, and C fires – those involving solids, liquids, and gases. The powder acts as a thermal blast that cools the flames so burning cannot continue. Due to their non-conductive nature, they are also suitable for fighting electrical fires. However, they do not effectively penetrate the spaces in equipment easily, so the fire could still re-ignite.
Warning: do not use on domestic chip or fat pan fires (class F).
The downside to ABC powder extinguishers is that they pose a danger of inhalation when used in close spaces. They also leave residue behind that is difficult to clean up and causes damage to soft furnishings, carpets, and electrical equipment. This is why it’s advised you use a different type of extinguisher for workplaces with electronics, such as an office with computers.
M28 and L2 powder extinguishers
These types of extinguishers are best identified by their unique hose, though they will also say ‘powder’ in white text in a blue rectangle. Do not confuse these with the ABC powder extinguishers, as they are not designed for class A, B, or C fires. They will state below the rectangle whether they are M28 or L2.
M28 and L2 are unique extinguishers in that they are designed for tackling Class D fires – those involving combustible metals including swarf or powder, which are often produced in engineering factories. Metals includes lithium, magnesium, sodium, or aluminium, for example.
The extinguisher has a low velocity applicator to ensure that the M28 or L2 powder is applied gently and efficiently to burning metal and to prevent the swarf from spreading. When sprayed, it forms a ‘crust’, which insulates the metal. This prevents the fire from spreading to other flammable materials and smothers the fire to prevent oxygen from reacting with the metal again.
L2 is suitable for all types of metal fires, whereas M28 cannot be used on lithium (need a way to remember that? L2 contains ‘L’ for lithium).
Warning: do not use on any other fire type, especially live electrical fires. Also, bear in mind that water should not be allowed to come in to contact with burning metal.
Foam extinguishers are identifiable by the word ‘foam’ printed within a cream rectangle on their bodies. They are primarily water based but contain a foaming agent, which has rapid flame knock-down and a blanketing effect. It smothers the flames and seals vapours so that re-ignition cannot occur.
They are suitable for fighting class A and B fires
When used against class A fires, the user can simply point and spray. However, when used against class B fires – those with flammable liquids – they should not be sprayed directly into the liquid. This could cause the fire to be pushed and spread to surrounding areas. The best method of application is to spray the foam nearby so that it can build up and flow across it
Warning: these should not be used on any other fire classes, especially electrical fires or chip or fat pan fires. Most foam extinguishers will have had dielectrical tests performed on them, so foam is less hazardous than water if it is accidentally sprayed on live electrical equipment. However, they should still not be used to fight electric fires.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extinguishers
These types of extinguishers can be identified by the text ‘carbon dioxide’ or ‘CO2‘ printed in white on a black rectangle. They also have a distinct type of hose.
Carbon dioxide extinguishers are used for combating class B and electrical fires – they suffocate the fire by displacing oxygen in the air. Because they do not leave any substances behind and so minimise d amage done to equipment, unlike other extinguishers, they are particularly useful for offices and workshops where electrical fires may occur.
Warning: they must not be used on hot cooking oil and fat (class F) fires. The strong jet from the extinguisher would push the burning oils or fats and spread the fire to surrounding areas. Also bear in mind that while carbon dioxide is effective at smothering fires, once the gas has floated away, the fire may reignite if the source has not been removed.
Furthermore: you must not hold the horn, base, or pipework on a C02 extinguisher while operating it. The gas becomes extremely cold during its discharge and so this could damage your hands.
Wet Chemical Extinguishers
These types of fire extinguishers are identifiable by the words ‘wet chemical’ printed across a yellow rectangle. It also has an extended hose that you can hold and point, which is useful when fighting fires on a kitchen top.
Wet chemical extinguishers are designed for combating fires that involve class F fires. They are effective because they are capable of stopping fires that are of an extremely high temperature, particularly cooking oils and fats. They also discharge gently, stopping the burning oils and fats from being pushed and splashing to surrounding areas or even the user.
The chemicals contained within the canister dispels the flames, cools the burning oil, and produces a soap-like solution that seals the surface and prevents re-ignition of the fire.
The best method of application is to spray in slow circular motions. The user should empty the entire contents onto the oils or fats. Otherwise, the fire may re-ignite.
Warning: wet chemical extinguishers are usually not recommended for class B fires – those involving liquids. Also, although they are capable of combating class A fires, they are not as effective as other extinguishers at doing so.
Fire Blanket Fire Suppression Blanket, 40"x40" +2 Hooks & 2 Gloves , Fire Blanket Kitchen, Emergency Fire Blanket, Fire Retardant Blankets, Fiberglass, Fire Safety Blanket for Fire Emergency
A SURVIVAL EMERGENCY BLANKET: They can be used to extinguish small fire without mess unlike common fire extinguishers. It can stop liquid or grease fire immediately by cutting off oxygen supply to the fire. Works in different types of fire as well. They can also be used as a thermal or heat shield . A must have in your house fire safety kit and car survival kit for protection.
✅HIGH QUALITY: Made from 100% quality flame retardant material. Composed of two layers of woven fiberglass fabric and an inner layer of fire retardant film. They meet EN-1869：1997 standard for cooking fire suppression. They can isolate high temperatures up to 1076℉ or 580℃
✅EASY TO USE: Simply pull down the fire blanket, spread the blanket wide and slowly throw the blanket to cover the fire. (make sure to let it sit there for few seconds) Let the blanket suffocate the fire. Turn off the stove or any heat source.
✅IDEAL RESCUE: This fire suppression sheet is ideal for rescue. It is nontoxic and safe to use on adult and children as well as your pets. Does not expire and very handy. It can easily be stored in kitchen counters in case of emergency. Highly recommend to keep one nearby kitchen, fireplace, camping, office, grill etc.
✅SATISFACTION: Comes with two packs of Fire Blanket(40x40 in) for extra protection, gloves and hook where you can hang your fire blanket. Our goal is to make you feel safe and secure. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, we will respond within 24 hours.
Multi-Purpose Leather Welding Gloves 16 Inch Long- 932°F High Heat Resistant
EXTREME HEAT RESISTANT: Our fire resistant gloves are designed to guard you against extreme heat temperatures up to 932 degrees in your kitchen, with your BBQ or even while welding. These gloves are soft with 100% insulated cotton lining with a heat resistant aluminum. You can always use our gloves to protect yourself from extreme heat.
MULTI-PURPOSE: The fire-resistant gloves are ideal for multiple applications such as cooking, broiling, baking, welding, handling hot pans, and many other activities involving holding hot surfaces. This is an essential cooking accessory you should not miss in your home.
FLEXIBILITY: The gloves are made from natural cowhide leather that is 1.2mm thick, allowing easy bending and allowing free unrestricted movement of your fingers. Besides, our BBQ glove comes with a separate finger design, allowing you to move your hands and fingers comfortably.
SAFE AND PROTECTIVE: Fingers, wrist, and arm burns are extremely painful. your safety is always our goal. Our Gloves come with an extended forearm to protect your arms and hands from painful burns.
SATISFACTION GUARANTEED: A lot of love and pure dedication has been employed while making the product. We are confident that you will be thrilled, and you will enjoy using our heat resistant gloves. The gloves are made of super quality leather and cotton material to serve you for many years
Kidde Three Story Fire Escape Ladder with Anti-Slip Rungs | 25 Feet
Easy to use. Attaches quickly to most common windows
Flame resistant, durable and sturdy ladder
Strong and durable ladder tested to 1,000 pounds
Tangle free design fast and easy to deploy with anti-slip rungs
No assembly or tools are required; 5-year warranty
- 【Durable Fire Ladder】: The steel hook with the central support of the "V" type makes the escape ladder more stable and sturdy.
- 【Lightweight and Convenient】: Made of aluminum. It fits most common window frames and will hook to the window frame securely and will not slip off. It is the 3 story emergency escape ladder, 25 foot.
- 【Portable Fire Ladder】: Flexible & sturdy design with wide steps, portable and durable. Fast and easy to deploy with anti-slip rungs.
- 【Space-saving】: It can be completely folded to save space. Each ladder fits easily under a bed or in a closet near the window.
- 【High Capacity】: The maximum is around 990 lbs. Product has the EU' s EN131 security certification. But only 3 people are allowed to climb the ladder at the same time.
The detection principle of an Addressable System is similar to a Conventional System except that the Control Panel can determine exactly which detector or call point has initiated the alarm. The detection circuit is wired as a loop and up to 99 devices may be connected to each loop. The detectors are essentially Conventional Detectors, with an address built in. The address in each detector is set by dil switches and the Control Panel is programmed to display the information required when that particular detector is operated. Additional Field Devices are available which may be wired to the loop for detection only i.e. it is possible to detect a normally open contact closing such as sprinkler flow switch, or a normally closed contact opening. Sounders are wired in a minimum of two sounder circuits exactly as a Conventional System. Loop Isolation Modules are available for fitting on to the detection loop/loops such that the loop is sectioned in order to ensure that a short circuit, or one fault will only cause the loss of a minimal part of the system.
Fire Alarm Systems Analogue Addressable Fire Alarm Systems are often known as Intelligent Fire Alarm Systems. There are several different types of Analogue Systems available which are determined by the type of protocol which they use. The bulk of standard Analogue Detectors available are fairly stupid as the Detectors can only give output signals representing the value of detected phenomena.
It is left up to the Control Unit to decide whether there is a fire, fault, pre-alarm or other. With a true Intelligent Analogue System each detector effectively incorporates its own computer which evaluates the environment around it, and communicates to the Control Panel whether there is a fire, fault or the detector head needs cleaning. Essentially Analogue Systems are far more complex and incorporate far more facilities than Conventional or Addressable Systems. Their primary purpose is to help prevent the occurrence of false alarms. With the Analogue Addressable System, up to 127 input devices i.e.: Smoke Detectors, Call Points, Heat Detectors, Contact Monitors and other interface devices may be wired to each detection loop. In addition to the 127 Input Devices, up to 32 Output Devices such as Loop Sounders, Relay Modules and Sounder Modules may be connected. Analogue Systems are available in 2, 4 and 8 loop versions which means large premises can be monitored from one single panel. Isolator units should be connected between sections of detectors as described for Addressable Systems.
Wireless Fire Alarm System
Wireless fire alarm systems are an effective alternative to traditional wired fire alarm systems for all applications. They utilize secure, license-free radio communications to interconnect the sensors and devices (smoke detectors, call-points, etc.) with the controllers. It is a simple concept, which provides many unique benefits and is a full analogue addressable fire detection system without the need for cable.
fire detection systems are designed to discover fires early in their development when time will still be available for the safe evacuation of occupants. Early detection also plays a significant role in protecting the safety of emergency response personnel. Property loss can be reduced and downtime for the operation minimized through early detection because control efforts are started while the fire is still small. Most alarm systems provide information to emergency responders on the location of the fire, speeding the process of fire control.
To be useful, detectors must be coupled with alarms. Alarm systems provide notice to at least the building occupants and usually transmit a signal to a staffed monitoring station either on or off site. In some cases, alarms may go directly to the fire department, although in most locations this is no longer the typical approach.
These systems have numerous advantages as discussed above. The one major limitation is that they do nothing to contain or control the fire. Suppression systems such as automatic sprinklers act to control the fire. They also provide notification that they are operating, so they can fill the role of a heat detection-based system if connected to notification appliances throughout the building. They will not, however, operate as quickly as a smoke detection system. This is why facilities where rapid notice is essential, even when equipped with sprinklers, still need detection and alarm systems.
The most basic alarm system does not include detection. It has manual pull stations and sounds only a local alarm. This level of system is not what is typically used; it relies on an occupant to discover the fire, which can cause a significant delay. The more quickly you want to be notified of the fire, the more costly the system you must install. Speed of detection is expensive. The slowest system to detect a fire is a heat detector, which is also the least expensive. An air-aspirating smoke detection system provides the most rapid indication of fire, but these systems are five to 10 times as expensive.
Where to Start When Choosing a System
The type of fire detection and alarm system used in your facility should be based upon your fire safety objectives. These objectives flow from a risk assessment of your facility and operation. Your tolerance for risk and how much you can afford to lose is an important part of this process.
The issues within a hospital are not the same as they are in a warehouse. In a facility where life safety is the major concern, such as hospitals where patients may not be able to evacuate on their own, early warning is essential. Dormitories, hotels, and other facilities where occupants may be sleeping when a fire starts also require that a system provide more rapid notification.
In a warehouse, where the occupants will be awake and aware and there will most often be fewer of them, the alarm system often does not need to provide notice as early. In a generally unoccupied structure where life safety is not a major issue, detection of a fire can be slower without significantly increasing risk.
When selecting a system, you also must consider the ongoing commitment that will be required over the life of the system. Inspection, testing, and maintenance requirements for these systems are extensive. Meeting these requirements over the life of a system usually will cost more than the original installation.
Initiating devices are elements of the system that originate a signal. Manual pull stations, detectors, and supervisory devices are included in this group of components.
A manual pull station (Figure 1) is essentially just a switch that activates the alarm system when operated by a building occupant. Pull stations should be positioned so they are easy for occupants to find. They are typically located along routes of travel that would be used while exiting the building.
Detectors are available in a wide variety of types
The major categories are heat, smoke, and flame detectors. Within each category are numerous additional specific types. The discussion here will be limited to those most commonly used for building fire detection and alarm activation. Several varieties of detectors, such as flame detectors, are used primarily to activate suppression systems.
Supervisory and Notification Devices
- Heat detectors
are the most basic detection devices. They are available in several types. These types are divided into two major categories; spot and line. Spot detectors are single units installed in single locations throughout the protected area. Line detectors provide a continuous detector throughout the area of coverage. Spot detectors are more commonly used, with line type detectors being reserved for special situations.
Spot type heat detectors are most commonly fixed temperature, rate of- rise, or combination. Fixed temperature, as the name implies, operate at a specific temperature. Rate-of-rise detectors activate based on the speed of the rise in temperature, not a fixed point. These detectors are best suited to use in areas that may get hot under normal conditions, such as detectors in a warehouse that is not temperature-controlled. Detectors mounted at the ceiling level may get quite warm from the heat collected by the roof during the day. This temperature rise occurs gradually, though, and a rate-of rise detector compensates for it.
- Smoke detectors
are available in a variety of types. Photoelectric smoke detectors operate based upon light scattering within the detection chamber of the detector. Light is projected through the chamber and will be scattered if it strikes smoke. This light, reflected off the smoke in the chamber, is detected by a photocell.
- Ionization smoke detectors
The most common in home use) detect the particles in smoke. As smoke passes through the chamber, the particles are ionized. These particles may then be detected by charged plates in the detector. Smoke detectors are also available in combination with a heat detector.The beam type detector operates when the beam is interrupted by obscuring smoke between the laser emitter and receiver. These detectors are most often used in areas of large open spaces.
An air sampling detection system uses tubing placed throughout the protected area. The tubing has small holes spaced out along the length of the tube and air is constantly drawn into the unit, which can detect extremely low levels of combustion products.
Numerous supervisory devices can be connected to the fire alarm control panel. For example, a tamper switch may be placed on water control valves for automatic sprinkler systems. If this valve is closed by an unauthorized person, the tamper switch will send a supervisory signal to the control panel, alerting your people to the problem. Supervisory devices are available for a wide variety of applications.
Systems may be addressable or nonaddressable. In the first type, all of the detectors on the system have a unique digital identifier. The fire alarm control panel can communicate individually with each device. In non-addressable systems, detectors may be divided into zones based on all of the detectors being on the same pair of wires, but the control panel cannot determine any information about an individual detector.
Addressable systems offer several advantages.
The first is that a specific indication of the location of an activation is available during a fire. (Would you rather know that a detection has occurred somewhere in the west wing of your building or that it has occurred in office number 103? The latter is clearly more informative.) This specific location capability is also part of the second major advantage of these systems: trouble signals can specifically identify the component with a problem. If a single detector fails, for example, an addressable system will provide a trouble signal that indicates the specific detector. In non-addressable systems, the zone will be identified, but a repair person will have to check each detector in that zone to determine which one is not working.
Notification appliances are the audible, visual, and other devices located throughout the facility that warn occupants when the system has detected a fire. Horns, strobes, combination units (Figure 7), and bells are examples of these devices. Fire alarm control panels often have features available that allow alarms to be activated in selected locations within the facility based upon the location of the detector that activates. This feature can be used to permit staged evacuations, for example.
Alarms should be supplemented with communications devices that allow you to provide specific information and instructions to building occupants. People tend not to always respond as they should when a fire alarm sounds. An emergency voice communications system can significantly improve response of your occupants.
One of the best references for fire alarms is NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code速. It contains requirements for design, installation, inspection, testing, and maintenance. It may or may not be adopted as law in your area. Check with your local fire department to identify the specific local requirements.
Your property insurance carrier also may place requirements on you as a condition for coverage or a specific premium level.
Detection and alarm systems are an important part of your overall fire protection process. Discovering fires early contributes to protecting building occupants, limiting property damage, and minimizing interruption of your operation
Fire Suppression Systems are ideal for protecting electrical and electronic equipment and irreplaceable items from fire and the damaging effect a fire sprinkler system.
Extinguishing a Fire
When fire suppression systems detect heat, smoke they activate. The most common fire suppression systems use chemical, gaseous or foam agents to suppress a fire. In certain instances, a fire suppression system is the only option to extinguish a fire. It's also a viable option in cases where water would cause irreparable damage to the property its intended to protect.
Common Types of Suppression Systems and Applications
- FM 200 Fire Suppression
Requires no costly cleanup, leaves no residue Ideal for computer rooms, museums, historical archives, and many other applications
- Carbon Dioxide
Work quickly, efficiently, gaseous agent extremely dangerous to humans
Printing presses, spray booths, flammable liquid storage, and dip tanks
- Wet Chemical Fire Suppression
Forms vapor suppression foam, effectively preventing re-ignition
Ideal for kitchen applications
Dry Chemical Suppression
Work quickly to extinguish flames caused by flammable and combustible liquids
Mechanical rooms, furnace rooms, flammable liquid storage areas