Commercial Fire Detection Systems

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Fire detection systems are advancements in property security and protection that are made to detect fires early, when there is still an opportunity for occupants and workers to escape safely. The safety of those who respond to emergencies is greatly impacted by early detection. Because control efforts are initiated when the fire is still minimal, early discovery can limit the amount of property lost and the amount of downtime for the business. The majority of alarm systems advise emergency personnel of the location of the fire, accelerating the fire suppression operation.

Contact Rhodes Security Systems today for your business fire detection system needs!

Fire Alarm Systems

A fire alarm is a solo device or a whole network of devices put in a structure or area that provides auditory and/or visual warning of a fire breakout in that building or area. A fire alarm system may be fully automatic, semi-automatic, or manually operated.

To operate efficiently, fire alarms need to be combined with detectors, with alarm systems alerting at least the building’s residents and often sending a signal to a manned monitoring station that is either on-site or off-site. Alarms may occasionally be sent straight to the fire department; however, this practice has been long outdated and is no longer the norm in most places.

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The Importance of a Commercial Fire Detection System

Here are some benefits you stand to gain with a commercial fire detection system.

Safety of Life

The protection of people is the main justification for requiring fire alarm systems in buildings. A reliable fire alarm system goes a long way toward saving lives.

People are less likely to become trapped or find themselves in a desperate position if they become aware of a fire in a structure as soon as possible. Some cutting-edge commercial fire alarm systems even inform occupants within the structure of the location of the fire and direct them to the safest, quickest exit.

Building Security

Authorities can respond more quickly when they are informed of a fire via a fire alarm system. A fire can harm your building, records, and other assets for a shorter period of time if it is put out quickly. Additionally, sprinklers and other fire extinguishing equipment may be connected to fire detection systems to put out flames more rapidly.

Minimizing Unnecessary Interruptions

An ineffective or subpar fire alarm system may sound even when there are no visible indicators of a fire, costing you money since your staff and clients will have to evacuate the building while you wait for the fire brigade to give the all-clear. With a properly built, well-maintained, and high-quality fire detection system, this risk is reduced, if not eliminated entirely.

Rapid Reaction Time

Modern fire alarm systems can be immediately connected to an emergency response team or a monitoring center. As a consequence, as soon as the system detects a fire, firemen may be sent right away to your place of business. As was already noted, a quicker response time implies that the fire won’t have as much time to spread and endanger the security of people and property. Additionally, some systems may now tell emergency personnel precisely where the fire is located within the structure, speeding up the extinguishing process.

Cost-saving Measures

You might or might not be aware of the significant cost savings that a decent fire alarm system can truly achieve. Yes, the initial investment may be high, but there may be other ways in which the original investment will be worthwhile. First, a good fire detection system speeds up reaction times in the case of a fire and safeguards your assets against fire spread. Beyond that, though, a tested and well-maintained fire alarm system may reduce your insurance rates, lowering your overhead, and in a commercial establishment, you will avoid fines during inspections for not having a proper system in place.

System Integration

Access control systems are necessary in certain facilities. Additionally, interconnecting these systems with advanced fire alarm systems might prove advantageous. Let’s imagine that your building is on fire. It may be more difficult for workers to leave quickly if the access control system is still in use in the locations where they are positioned. However, if the access control system and the fire detection system are linked, the former may be able to shut down the latter, saving valuable time and allowing individuals to leave more quickly.

Components of a Fire Detection System

There are several components that make up a fire detection system. These components are all designed to make your building safer and reduce fire and smoke damage, and to achieve this, these different parts must all operate together. Scientists and engineers all over the world continue to make giant strides in improving these components and Rhodes Security Systems stays on top the evolution of fire detection technology to bring you the best. The key components of a systems are discussed below.

Fire Alarm Control Panel

This controls data from all the many devices located throughout the building and is essentially the brain of the system. Users may examine information here as well as check for maintenance or faults that need to be fixed. Troubleshooting codes that signal problems when the system needs attention are available from the fire alarm control panel. Apart from that, some fire alarm control panels offer circuit cards that can be changed.

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Fire Alarm Notification Devices

When a fire alarm gets an alert, it is equally important that it announce the emergency. It does so through various means, including flashing lights, horns, and chimes.

The Detector – Alarm Initiating Devices

A fire emergency incident must be able to be detected by all fire alarm systems. A smoke detector, a CO2 detector, a heat detector, or other sensor-triggered components may be used to make the detection. In the event that someone notices a fire and can activate the alarm system, it might alternatively take the shape of a lever or pull mechanism. The majority of fire alarm systems use a mix of these detectors that are thoughtfully distributed across the facility.

Building Safety Interface

In the case of a fire, certain fire alarms are also designed to communicate with the entire building. This element is capable of direct communication with the structure. The fire alarm may operate elevators, stop doors to prevent people from being injured by smoke, hold doors open to allow people to escape, and do much more in an emergency.

Back-Up Power Supply

Fire alarms must always function, even when the electricity is out. This is why a backup power source, which offers the system a backup power source in case the primary source is unavailable, is an essential component in safeguarding the building. Backup power supplies are often connected to the control panel and made up of either 6V or 12V batteries. When necessary, the control panel will charge them and keep track of their availability.

Remote Control and Display Panel

In a large building, it may take some time to inspect all of the control panels. This is why a remote annunciator makes it easier, with the capacity to examine, activate, and deactivate each fire alarm in a building. However, these remote annunciator devices are often not found in smaller structures.

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How do Fire Detector Systems work?

Modern fire detector systems employ automated processes to recognize situations that might start a fire. They automatically send a signal to the fire alarm panel after receiving it from a fire sensor, which could be a smoke, heat, or carbon monoxide detector. A fire alarm system essentially performs the following four tasks: detect, alert, monitor, and control. To carry out these specific functions, these complex systems connect a network of hardware, appliances, and control panels.

There are generally three operational stages for systems: Normal, Alarm, and Trouble.

The system is functioning in a Normal State when all components—devices, appliances, wiring, and circuitry—are in perfect working order and no alarms are triggered.

The system enters an Alarm State as soon as an initiating device is turned on. The alarm will be activated, warning building residents of the threat, and the alphanumeric display on the control panel will show from which zone of the building (or buildings) the alarm is coming so that emergency personnel can promptly arrive in the affected region.

If there is a short or open wiring in the circuits connecting the fire alarm panel and initiating devices, in the wiring or zone cards of the panel, or if the phone line connection is not working, the system enters a “Trouble State” and is displayed on the control panel. The panel will show which zone is affected, and a buzzer will sound to notify maintenance staff of the situation. The buzzer will not be mistaken for a genuine alarm even if it is loud enough to be heard, as it is not quite as loud as the signaling appliances.

Types of Fire Detector Systems

Fire detector systems come in various forms, and while they achieve the same objectives, they work very differently.

Heat Detectors 

Heat detectors track a rise in air temperature brought on by flames. These detectors have a longer response time than ordinary smoke detectors, despite the fact that they may cause false alarms. False alarms might be set off in very hot, dusty, or humid buildings; these types of structures are best used as warehouses or storage facilities where occupancy is irregular.

These are an essential safety device for any commercial or residential property. They are designed to detect heat and smoke, providing a warning signal in the event of a fire. Heat detectors provide an important safeguard against fires, helping to reduce the risk of injury and damage to property. In addition, Heat detectors are quite different from smoke detectors and both these have different applications and uses.

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Since an outbreak of fire on a production company can be quite fatal, it is very important to understand how heat detectors work. You must ensure that heat detectors are installed properly, work efficiently and are tested regularly. Heat detectors are not life safety devices. However, they are very useful in detecting and notifying people when a fire occurs in places where smoke detectors cannot be installed. 

  • Spot Detectors

Spot Heat Detectors are mounted on exposed ceiling surfaces or on a sidewall near the ceiling. It triggers the fire alarm when the surrounding temperature exceeds a predetermined value.

  • Line Detectors

Line detectors are a type of heat detector that is designed to detect and respond to the presence of heat in an area. They can be used to detect changes in temperature or thermal activity. Line detectors use a variety of technologies, such as thermopiles, infrared sensors, and thermocouples, to sense when temperatures reach predetermined levels. When these levels are reached, the line detector will trigger an alarm or alert system.

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Smoke Detectors

These are different from heat detectors and are designed to detect the smoke particles that are created during a fire. They alert occupants of a potential fire hazard before it can spread. It is especially important for every home and office building to have smoke detectors installed in strategic locations throughout the premises.

One major advantage of having smoke detectors is that they allow individuals or businesses enough time to evacuate a potentially hazardous area safely. Additionally, modern smoke detectors are equipped with features such as self-testing capabilities, remote monitoring, and connected alarms which sound simultaneously throughout the building; all of these features make them even more effective at providing reliable early warning systems for fires. 

  • Photoelectric Detectors

Photoelectric smoke detectors go off when the light inside of the device is disrupted by smoke.  This device detects small fires faster than an ionisation smoke detector and are dependable. You won’t have to worry about false alarms. This type of detector is best for smouldering fires that produce thick smoke like a mattress or couch fire.

  • Ionisation Detectors

Ionisation smoke detectors have an electrical current that runs through two metal plates inside the device. When smoke is present, it interrupts the electrical current, which causes the alarm to go off. These detectors are ideal for detecting fires that spread quickly. This type of detector is best for fast-flaming fires that produce a large quantity of heat quickly such as paper or kitchen grease fires.

Flame Detectors

Flame detectors are self-contained devices that can operate in harsh environmental conditions. They are designed to be directly connected to control and alarm systems, or automatic fire extinguishing systems. 

Flame detectors provide an effective solution for any industrial or commercial applications where fire may result in a large loss of capital equipment and pose a high risk to personnel. This includes oil and gas pipelines, turbine enclosures, off-shore platforms, automotive manufacturing facilities, aircraft hangers, munitions plants and nuclear facilities.

These systems are equipped with devices that react to light energy visible to humans (about 4000-7000 angstroms) or light outside of the human visual spectrum [usually infrared (IR) or ultraviolet (UV)]. Flame detectors are designed to sense burning embers, coals, or actual flames that emit enough light energy and have the correct wavelength.

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  • Ultraviolet (UV) Sensors

Ultraviolet (UV) detectors have a wavelength shorter than 300 nm and can detect fires within 3-4 milliseconds due to the UV radiation that is emitted upon ignition. However, false alarms may occur if there are other UV sources present, such as lightning or arc welding. To prevent this, designers often include a time delay of 2-3 seconds in their Detector designs.

  • Ultraviolet/Infrared (UV/IR) Sensors

UV/IR sensors are a type of flame detectors that detect the presence of flames based on their emission of ultraviolet and infrared radiation. The sensor works by sensing the heat produced from a flame in both ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) spectrums. These two wavelengths have different levels at which they are able to sense fires and so it is important to ensure the correct combination is used for the application in order to efficiently detect fires. The majority of modern fire detection systems rely on optical sensors that combine UV and IR radiation together in order to detect fires more accurately.

  • Multi-spectrum Infrared (MSIR) Sensors

Multi-spectrum infrared (MSIR) sensors are a type of flame detectors used to detect and alert you to fire before it spreads. MSIR sensors can detect various kinds of flames, including those from hydrocarbons, such as paper, wood, plastics and other combustible materials. Unlike single spectrum IR sensors that only detect the presence of an IR signal in the 3-5 μm spectral range, MSIRs are made up of two or more optical elements that detect multiple spectral bands with varying sensitivities. This allows them to accurately determine the source of the fire and provide an early warning signal.

  • Visual Flame Imaging Sensors

Visual flame imaging sensors are an important part of the fire detection process. They work by detecting visible light from a flame, which is then converted into an electrical signal that can be used to alert personnel of potential danger. The components that make up a visual flame imaging sensor include an array of infrared (IR) sensors, lenses, and filters. The IR sensors measure the amount of heat produced by a flame and create images based on this data. The lenses focus the image onto the filter to differentiate between different types of flames such as open or contained fires. Once the type of fire has been identified, the alarm is triggered accordingly.

Combination Alarms

Many professionals prefer combination ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors, which are frequently regarded as the best type of detector.To make sure that any presence of smoke is recognized as quickly as possible, these devices combine both types of smoke detectors (not heat detectors) into one unit.

While deciding which fire detector system is best for you can be difficult, we offer a consultation service in which we go over the nature of your property, your budget, and location before providing you with comprehensive detail on which fire detector system we believe is best for you.

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Types of Fire Alarm Systems

We have long established the importance of fire alarm systems for an effective fire detection system. Here are some types of fire alarm systems:

Conventional Fire Alarm Systems

For many years, small businesses, including restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, and industrial units, have relied heavily on conventional fire detection and alarm systems. The systems function by separating the facility into a number of detection zones, with detectors and manual call points linked in each zone to a specific control panel; however, some systems may require numerous detectors in a single zone.

There will be either an electronic sounder or a bell inside each zone of detection. The control panel will display the zone that contains the alert when a detector or manual call point activates, so that the region may be examined to find the activation.

Analogue Addressable Fire Alarm Systems

Contrary to conventional systems, which only offer zonal information, analog addressable fire systems provide specifics from individual detectors, human call points, or other inputs. Large commercial buildings that need more complex systems or the networking of several systems are the ideal locations for analog addressable systems. Compared to their traditional equivalents, addressable systems are significantly more costly, complex, and flexible, and they offer a wider range of control.

Addressable Fire Alarm Systems

An addressable fire alarm system is one in which every piece of fire and smoke detection equipment is interconnected and in communication with both the central monitoring site and each other. Because of this interconnection, the control staff is able to pinpoint the place or “address” where the original detection took place. Then, this information informs the emergency response team where to focus their efforts right away to find the exact spot where the issue is emerging.

Wireless Fire Alarm Systems

A wireless alarm system uses radio waves to function. Each alarm is integrated with your whole fire suppression system, and connections may be established anywhere in your facility—including across buildings—without utilizing any hard wire at all. This is a better alternative to traditional hard-wired alarm systems, which need to be physically connected to their wire network in order to function properly. To do this, trenching, drilling, and a significant amount of work are required.

Access Control Systems

Choosing the Right Fire Alarm System

When it comes to choosing the right fire detection system for your home, there are certain factors you need to take into consideration to get the best. Here are those considerations that you need to keep in mind. Usually, when you task us to handle the fire alarm system installation for you, we take care of all these considerations and discuss our recommendations with you.

1. The type of fire that is most likely to occur in your home

Nobody wishes for a fire to occur, but knowing the type of fire that is most likely to occur in your home will go a long way toward helping you make the right choice as to which type of fire detection system is suitable for your property. You might require something as minimal as a fire extinguisher or as large as a monitored security system.

2. The size of your home

The size of your home is also another key factor that comes into play when choosing which fire alarm system suits your home best.

3. The model

Fire detection systems come in various models, and some of these models are best suited for specific situations. The implication is that some models might not be the best option for your property; for example, conventional alarm systems are best suited for smaller properties, while analogue addressable alarm systems are primarily for large corporations.

4. Special needs or consideration

The property you are trying to guard might have special needs and considerations that you need to take into account. For example, a home with pets and children might need tighter and childproof alarm systems, while a home without these does not necessarily need this special consideration.

Cost of a Fire Detection System

The cost of a fire detection system is impacted by many factors, including whether or not professional security monitoring is included or not. Please contact Rhodes Security Systems today and we will provide you with an accurate quote to install and monitor your commercial fire system.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the most common type of fire detection system?

Smoke detectors are considered the most common type of fire detection systems, and they work by sending alarms when smoke is detected in your building.

2. Do commercial properties need a fire alarm?

According to the law, every business building must have tools and protocols in place to spot, warn, and inform residents so they can take action in the event of a fire. Apart from this, a fire alarm system is necessary as every business is closely associated with risks that can surface at any time.

3. What are the two main fire prevention devices?

Smoke fire detectors and fire alarm systems remain the two main fire prevention devices that you need to protect your building. Fire extinguishers and fire blankets remain the most common tools you can use to put out any flames that could start inside your building.

4. What are the most common types of fire detection systems?

Flame detectors, smoke detectors, and heat detectors are the three most common types of fire detection systems used today.

5. What are the types of commercial fire alarm systems?

The types of commercial fire alarm systems include conventional fire alarms, monitored fire alarms, wireless fire alarms, notifier fire alarms, aspirating fire alarms, addressable fire alarms, and gas suppression fire alarms.

6. What are the major components of a commercial fire protection system?

A commercial fire protection system comprises an alarm panel, an initiating device, notification, a power supply, and a backup power supply.

7. How many smoke detectors should be in a commercial building?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends installing smoke detectors that are hardwired on each level as well as one in each stairwell. The potential coverage area of a smoke detector should be about 21 square feet.