Fire alarm systems are an integral component of any commercial or industrial building, helping to provide safety for all its occupants, protecting valuable assets and equipment, and helping to minimize any damage to the structure of the building if a fire were to break out. As most businesspersons are aware, in a commercial facility or in a residence, it is crucial that all the components of a professionally installed fire alarm system work together effectively, protecting people’s lives and being armed to alert emergency responders as quickly as possible so that in the event of an activation, they can take immediate action.
The key components of a commercial fire alarm system include:
- Fire alarm control panel
- Fire alarm-initiating devices
- Fire notification devices
- Primary power supply and backup power supply
Fire alarm control panel
- As the central hub, communication, or the network brain of the fire alarm system, the fire alarm control panel monitors and manages the initiation devices. If an initiation device is triggered, it transmits a signal to the control panel and the control panel activates the integrated notification devices.
- The fire alarm control panel also continuously displays the status of the system, allowing the user to see when an issue is detected. It also allows the user to control the system manually, and it serves as the source for retrieving troubleshooting codes that communicate when the system requires attention.
Fire alarm-initiating devices
Alarm-initiating devices in a fire alarm system activate the system when a fire event occurs. There are two types of fire alarm-initiating devices:
1. Manual Initiating Devices – These types of devices must be manually activated by a person in the building when a fire emergency is identified —they include pull stations, break glass stations, or buttons. Manually initiating devices should be well-marked, and strategically positioned so that they are easy to identify and use.
2. Automatic Initiating Devices – Through heat, flame, and smoke detection, these devices trigger the alarm system automatically when a fire event is detected. They send a signal to a central control panel which activates the system. Automatic initiating devices include:
- Smoke detectors
- Heat detectors
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- HVAC Duct detectors
- Beam detectors
- Flame detectors and more
Fire notification devices
When a fire alarm system receives an alert, the system needs to then notify the building occupants that a fire event has been detected. Fire alarm notification devices include strobes, chimes, horns, signaling bells, lights, emergency message boards, and speakers.
Power supply and backup power supply
With most commercial buildings’ power supply directly wired as the primary source of power, a fire alarm system also needs to have a backup power supply to prevent any disruption in case of a power outage occurring and an alarm activation is triggered. Backup power supplies are usually either 6V or 12V batteries that are linked to the control panel.
They may be located either within the control panel itself or in a separate enclosure that is mounted adjacent to the control panel. The control panel then charges the backup power supply whenever it is needed and continuously monitors its status.
A fire alarm system is designed to provide protection to a building’s infrastructure, the equipment that is housed within the structure, and most importantly, to help save occupants’ lives in the event of a fire breakout. The key components that make up a fire alarm system all work together to help the system perform its functions efficiently and effectively.
Why Choose ESI, Emergency Systems Inc.
Since 1979, ESI has been providing commercial fire alarm systems to commercial, industrial and high-end residential dwellings. We aid mechanical contractors in the design and installation of these commercial-grade systems for any size building or complex. We have been at the forefront of delivering the newest generations of these products as manufacturers continually make upgrades and advancements to the components. Give us a call at 904-388-3975 for a free consultation on a repair, replacement or a newly installed fire alarm system for your next project.