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Considerations when choosing a Fire Alarm System

By no means exclusive the following are a number of typical considerations made when selecting the most appropriate fire alarm system.

System capacity – installing a fire alarm system which complies to BS 5839 means the property must be divided into zones and automatic detectors (if part of the system) are capable of protecting a defined area based on their type (for instance an optical smoke detector can protect an area of approximately 100m²).

Each fire alarm panel will have a fixed capacity in terms of how many zones are supported & how many devices can be used in each zone; therefore a fire alarm panel with adequate capacity is essential. It would be advisable to choose a panel with some additional capacity to allow for future expansion.

Combiner detector & sounder requirement – detectors which can either be fitted to a sounder base or indeed have a built-in sounder are often favored in installations including HMOs (houses of multiple occupancy) and hotels where a minimum sound level of 75dB is required at the bed head as there are sleeping dwellings. By opting for a 2 wire or addressable fire alarm system it will be possible to connect sounders on the same cable as detectors as oppose to on a separate sounder circuit as is the case with conventional fire alarm systems. This will naturally save on cable and installation.

False alarm protection – the BS 5839 standard allows the siting of heat detector(s) in kitchen areas which is less prone to going into alarm from kettle steam, burnt toast, etc. compared with an optical smoke detector however many fire alarm systems go even further. Such system offer an alarm verification facility which only raises a local alarm (i.e. only the sounder base or built in sounder activates) if a detector goes into alarm and this detector is periodically checked to determine whether it is still in fire condition. If the detector returns to normal before the total verification period ends then the system can return to normal and a full scale alarm can be avoided (this may be because someone has cleared the smoke from burnt toast).

Programmability – it may be desirable to include some form of programmability, for instance a specific detector or group of detectors going into alarm only triggers a specific set of sounders or operates a specific output unit. This is known as cause & effect programming and is only possible with addressable fire alarm systems.

System specification – although this would generally concern larger systems, during the fire alarm systems design process or architectural design process (in the case of a new build) a particular fire alarm system from one manufacturer will be specified dictating exactly which system must be installed.

Budget – this goes without saying that total cost of the fire alarm system must fall within the budget for the project.

We have put packaged our most popular Conventional, 2 Wire & Addressable Fire Alarm System which can be found in our Fire Alarm Systems section.

Discount Fire Supplies sell a range of fire alarms, fire alarm accessories and much more. Browse our online shop or contact us for a quote today.

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