Whether you’re a property owner or business owner, you know how important fire alarm systems are to the safety of employees and visitors. Timely detection and notification of fires are essential to limiting the damage it can cause and, as we’ve seen with the California wildfires this past year, the damage can be quite extensive. More than 6,700 structures have been damaged, and the total cost to the state, insurers, and homeowners is expected to top $19 billion, all because of fire alone and that’s not to mention the everlasting trauma that comes with such a horrific event.
Many of us have seen or heard a fire alarm at least once in our lives, but have you ever thought about all of the elements that go into fire alarm devices? Modern commercial fire alarm devices are complex and constantly changing as technology evolves, which is why we thought we would help you better understand all of the components that go into fire alarm systems and how they’re able to keep you safe during a fire emergency.
Common Components of Commercial Fire Alarm Systems
- Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP)
- Primary and Backup Power Supply
- Alarm Initiating Device
- Alarm Notification Device
- Remote Control and Display Panels
- Building Safety Interface.
Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP)
The fire alarm control panel is essentially the control center and the brain of a fire alarm system. The FACP monitors and manages the initiating devices and relays the signal to the fire alarm devices if an issue is detected. Each control panel also provides a display that informs you of the system’s current status, as well as troubleshoot codes and a touchpad to manage the system directly where you’re able to disable alarms, signal alerts, reset the system following an issue, and reprogram the system if necessary.
Primary and Backup Power Supply
A fire alarm system also provides you with access to two power supplies. The primary power supply is used constantly, and the backup power supply is used in the event of a power failure. The backup power supply typically consists of 6V or 12V batteries linked to a 24VDC power-limited system and are often located in the control panel or a separate enclosure adjacent to the control panel.
Alarm Initiating Device
The alarm initiating device is what actually informs the fire alarm system that there is some sort of danger or fire emergency. These devices can be manual, where someone has to notify the system themselves via a pull or glass station, but they can also be automatic by utilizing heat detectors, smoke detectors, flame detectors, photoelectric/ionization detectors, or in-duct detectors. Most commercial fire alarm systems include a variety of initiating devices spaced throughout the building with a combination of manual and automatic devices.
Alarm Notification Device
The alarm notification device is arguably the most important part of your fire alarm system as this is what gets triggered by the initiating device and what makes the actual noises, such as bells, horns, or chimes when a fire emergency occurs. Alarm notification devices notify the people inside the building, as well as emergency personnel, when an event is underway when everything is all clear, and when a maintenance issue is detected.
Remote Control and Display Panels
Remote controls and display panels allow people to control a set of fire alarm systems even when they aren’t nearby. These have proven to be extremely beneficial for large businesses with multiple levels of staff as it allows security personnel to easily check, activate, and deactivate fire alarms throughout the building from their office.
Building Safety Interface
The building safety interface allows the fire alarm system to control other elements of the building when needed. For example, in the event of a fire emergency, a building safety interface could communicate directly with the building’s access control system to hold doors in the open position or keep doors closed to restrict the passage of smoke from one area to another, all of which makes escaping from burning buildings safer and easier.
TED Systems Product Lines
TED Systems is a Kansas City leader in the design, installation, and service of basic addressable to sophisticated campus networked fire alarm systems for commercial offices, high-rise buildings, healthcare facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, educational facilities, campuses, industrial plants, and detention centers.
In Kansas City and around the Midwest, TED Systems is your licensed NOTIFIER by Honeywell dealer. TED Systems also offers a complete line of fire alarm products, systems, service and support from NOTIFIER, Fire-Lite, System Sensor, Xtralis, and Federal Signal. Click below to contact us for a quote and make your building safer with our fire alarm systems.