Which fire alarm system should you choose for your workplace? The fire alarms and systems you choose to install in your business are essential to your workplace safety, no matter what business you are in. Here is our guide to fire alarms, fire alarm systems, fire safety training, and fire system certification to help you make the right choice.
Automatic vs Manual Fire Alarms
The first thing you need to know is the different types of fire alarms.
The two basic types of fire alarms are automatic and manual fire alarms. Automatic alarms detect heat or smoke and then send an audio-visual alert throughout the building. They may also set off a sprinkler system.
Manual alarms have pull stations around your building and require an employee to set off the alarm if they detect a fire.
Fire Alarm Systems
You will need to consider three main types of fire alarm systems when installing or upgrading your system.
Conventional fire alarms assign different zones that feed into your central control panel. These systems put separate alarms in each zone and allow you to monitor each zone and alarm.
Addressable fire alarms often called intelligent alarm systems, manage the alarms in your building. You can choose between automatic and manual alarms. Each alarm has its own address and is connected to the main panel.
This allows you to manage each alarm individually. You can notify first responders of the areas that need to be prioritised, and you can see which are working and are failing. These systems are more expensive because of the monitoring features.
Hybrid systems combine the hardwired zones of conventional alarm systems with addressable loops. This feeds all alarms into a single panel. This is a good option for buildings that do not suitably fit either of the above options.
Different fire alarm systems allow you to add further safety features to them. This lets you tailor your system to the exact needs and demands of your building.
Common additional features include:
- Sprinklers: A sprinkler system that distributes water or a chemical fire retardant when the system detects a fire
- Containment Systems: These systems can lock down areas of the building to prevent the fire from spreading.
- Ventilation: Good ventilation can remove fumes and smoke in the case of a fire. This will help evacuation efforts.
Choosing a Fire Alarm System
Every fire protection plan has to be specially designed and managed to meet your business and building needs. Your fire protection plan is designed to protect your business and employees from fire damage. So to be designed effectively, it must consider your specific needs and produce the exact right solution.
How your building is laid out will impact how the fire alarm system works. These systems are designed to detect signals of fire such as heat and smoke. Your system needs to be designed to function correctly in that building. Fires can engulf buildings in a matter of minutes, so any lost seconds can be costly and deadly.
When preparing to consult fire protection and alarm systems specialist, you will need to consider the following factors:
- Building design and function: How is the building laid out, and what functions do different parts of the building serve.
- Size: what is the size of the building
- Industry: What type of risks are inherent to your business. A restaurant will have different needs from office spaces.
- Location: Are you located in a remote area or a high-traffic area?
- Features: What are the specific features your system will need?
- Safety regulations: Governments will have safety regulations you must comply with.
Choosing A Fire Alarm System Provider
When choosing a fire alarm system, it is important to make sure the system meets your building’s needs. You must consult an expert when making this decision.
When dealing with alarm systems installers, you will need to consider the following factors.
Make sure the provider you go with is certified. As this is an essential safety feature of your building, cutting corners is not an option. Any fire alarm specialist you are contracting should be certified by the Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA).
You should also look for providers with at least five to six years of experience installing and managing different system types. It is also wise to look for providers with expertise in your industry or with your building specifications.
You can go online and check any potential service providers here. Ensure you go with a provider with a proven record; otherwise, you are putting your business at risk.
It is also a great idea to investigate whether the fire alarm company has its own fire protection plan.
When choosing a provider, make sure they offer a complete service. Any reputable provider will offer alarm installation, repairs, maintenance, and monitoring.
Maintaining a fire alarm system is an ongoing process, so you will need to have a strong ongoing relationship with your provider. Consider only contracting those that offer a full service.
No fire protection plan is complete without fire safety training. A great alarm systems provider will also provide fire safety training bespoke to the system installed in your business. No one will know the system better than your provider, so who better to offer training.
Your Fire Protection Plan
Now that you have everything you need to know for your fire protection plan, you can work with specialists and find a system that meets your needs. Consult a fire protection specialist for all your fire safety training and alarm system needs.