A fire alarm system is a collection of many separate parts, each with their own unique function. Knowing what these parts are and how they work together is necessary to better understand how the system works as a whole.
The initiating devices of an alarm system detect smoke or fire. These devices include smoke detectors of various kinds, heat detectors of various kinds, sprinkler water flow sensors, and pull stations.
Indicating appliances are the part of the system that sounds the alarm and alerts occupants to the fire hazard.
Indicating appliances include horns, chimes, bells, and in some situations, even strobe lights for the hard of hearing and deaf. Most of these appliances are deliberately loud so as not to be missed and to encourage everyone to leave the building quickly.
Where those who are deaf or hard of hearing are present, or code requires, strobe lights are also used in conjunction with the other indicators so that there is a visual warning of the fire as well.
Fire Alarm Panel
The fire alarm control panel is the user interface and central monitoring and controlling element of the system. It has a display revealing the current state (alarm or no alarm) of the fire alarm system and a touch pad, which allows onsite personnel to program, troubleshoot, silence, and reset the system.
Fire alarm panels monitor and supervise all of the system’s initiators, indicating devices, telephone ties, field wiring, circuit cards, and internal wiring. It is also via the fire alarm panel that a call is sent out to a monitoring agency in the event of a triggered alarm so that emergency personnel are alerted.
Power supplies cover main power from the breaker. The fire alarm batteries may be contained in either the control panel or in a separate enclosure. The batteries will take over should the power fail, allowing the system to continue protecting the building from fire for 24 hours. A generator can provide power for longer periods of power outages.
Many additional devices can be added onto a fire alarm system to bolster fire protection in a facility.
Additional devices include things like visual LED indicators showing which zone in a building a fire alarm was initiated, remote annunciators, alarm silence switches, electromagnetic door holders, fire doors, elevator capture and shutdown, etc.
These systems can be as simple or as elaborate as a facility needs, and for each element listed above, a wide range of options are available.
Creating or updating the ideal system for your facility can be a huge undertaking and should be done in consultation with experts like Quickshipfire.