Automatic Fire Alarm Systems

by | Oct 10, 2016 | Safety Equipment Supplies

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In Illinois, you have two basic choices when it comes to installing or updating fire alarm systems. These are manual and automatic. While manual systems are appropriate under certain circumstances, in many instances, you, your business and/or company will require an automatic fire alarm system. It is the only way to satisfy jurisdictional regulations and ensure the safety of your employees, staff and customers.

What Is an Automatic Fire Alarm System?

An automatic fire alarm system is one that operates through a central control panel. These control panels may be simple consisting only of a single input and output zone. They can also be a complex system operated by a computer with the capability to monitor not a single unit but multiple structures. Two main control panel arrangements exist.

The Automatic Fire Alarm System: Basic Types

In Illinois, you can install either conventional or addressable. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. The standard method used for many years was conventional.

Conventional: Also, known as a collective or “point wired” system, this type has a centralized control panel featuring one or more circuits. These run through the designated space or structure. Each circuit carries at least one detection device. When a fire occurs, the affected detectors will go into operation and close the circuit. This lets the fire panel know an emergency condition exists. It will then trigger other circuits throughout the building, setting off fire alarms and calling for help.

These fire alarm systems require little training to service. They are also ideal for smaller and medium-sized buildings but present a disadvantage for larger structures. They can also be costly to maintain.

Addressable: Referred to as an analogue addressable or intelligent fire alarm system, such automatic systems represent the latest in alarm technology. From the central control panel, the system monitors and controls each alarm set off and can quickly analyze capabilities and conditions using microprocessors and system software. The software provides stability to the system. It will utilize various mechanisms to quickly reset the system in case of false alarm but activate completely if it detects a real threat.

Advantages of the system include accuracy and maintenance. It is also easy to modify the system in order to address specific requirements or new challenges. In regards to maintenance, the panel recognizes the diminishing performance of each sensor or component can will issue a maintenance requirement alert. What is a disadvantage is the complexity of the system. In terms of servicing, you need to either train someone to become an expert in this system or hire a professional

Automatic Fire Alarm Systems

If you plan to protect your property in Illinois and prevent loss of human life to fire, you can choose between a manual and an automatic alarm system. However, if the structure is a large one or you wish to defend several properties or an entire campus, the only solution is to install an automatic system. While conventional systems still are in use, the movement is towards modern, technologically advanced and exact automatic addressable fire alarm systems.