Understanding How a Fire Alarm System Works

Understanding How a Fire Alarm System Works

Fire alarm systems are necessary forms of fire prevention that all commercial buildings need. Many business owners may know they need these systems in their offices, but they may not realize exactly how they work. Fire alarm systems involve more than just one smoke detector. Considering the importance of understanding how a fire alarm system works, this guide will break down the functions of these alarm systems. How does a fire alarm system work?

A fire alarm system is, as the moniker suggests, an alarm that connects to all your fire prevention equipment, such as heat detectors and smoke detectors. An alarm will sound when one of these pieces triggers it or when someone triggers it manually. Heat detectors will trigger when they register excessive heat, and smoke detectors will sound off when excessive smoke is present.

Heat detectors and smoke detectors variations

It’s important to know that there are different variations of smoke and heat detectors. For instance, fixed-temperature heat detectors trigger by excessive heat melting an alloy inside, whereas excessive spikes in temperature trigger rate-of-rise heat detectors.

Likewise, there are also several different types of smoke detectors, including photoelectric smoke detectors and ionization smoke detectors. To understand the difference between the two, you also need to understand that there are smoldering fires and flaming fires; one has a smoldering period before flames are present, while the other does not.

Ionization detectors detect flaming fires; they go off when smoke disrupts the flow of ions inside. Photoelectric detectors are optimized for smoldering fires—these are triggered when smoke enters and obscures a sensor located inside. When any one of these devices is triggered, it will then trigger the entire fire alarm system. The fire alarm will emit a loud noise—which is typically accompanied by bright, flashing lights—to indicate an emergency.

Some people may not be aware of this, but location is also an important part of a good fire alarm system. For instance, a smoke detector in a third-floor office won’t register a fire occurring in the lobby, at least not until the smoke slowly makes its way upstairs. Depending on your building’s layout, you should strategically place detectors throughout the building to protect every inch with an alarm.

As you can see, understanding how a fire alarm system works is incredibly important for a safe work environment. JEM Security is a fire alarm supplier that can provide your business with several different smoke and heat detectors. These systems aren’t just requirements for commercial buildings—they also provide you and your team with daily peace of mind.


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