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Fire Alarm System Components: Fire Alarm Detectors

Fire Can Be Detected Through Devices Like Smoke And Heat Detectors
Fire Can Be Detected Through Devices Like Smoke And Heat Detectors

Fire alarm detectors are a key component of a fire alarm system – they detect heat or smoke from fire.

Fire alarm detectors come in many shapes and sizes but they all have the same purpose, to alert a fire alarm system that there is danger from fire. The level of damage and harm to life caused by fire is greatly reduced the earlier it is caught and extinguished, so it’s important to have technologically advanced and reliable fire alarm detectors in use with your fire alarm system.

The first automatic smoke alarm was invented by American inventor Francis Upton in 1890, this was a significant step forward in fire safety as it meant fire could be tackled in the early stages making it easier to put out and reduce the damage caused. Advances in technology led to fire alarms being readily available to homes and larger installations by the 1960s.

In basic terms, fire alarm detectors have a sensor to detect a certain type of fire indication, usually smoke or heat. When smoke enters the fire alarm chamber, or a thermostat in the fire alarm registers a spike in temperature, a signal will be sent from the fire alarm detector along a circuit to a fire alarm control panel. This will trigger the full fire alarm system including components like fire alarm sounders and flashers.

Over the years many types of fire alarm detector have emerged on the market, these include:

  • Optical Smoke Detectors: these detect smoke using a beam of light which will scatter light particles towards a light sensor when smoke enters the detector chamber.
  • Ionisation Smoke Detectors: these detect smoke by monitoring an electrical current in the detector chamber which will fluctuate when smoke is present.
  • Reflective Beam Smoke Detectors: these detect smoke by using a precision beam of light and a reflective panel, working on much the same principle as an optical smoke detector.
  • Heat Detectors: these detect heat from fire in the surrounding air using a sensitive thermostat in detector chamber.

Each type of detector can be readily integrated with a fire alarm system but it’s important to remember which type of fire alarm system you’ll be using when you make a purchase – conventional or addressable – as the electronics in each detector vary by the system they are intended for use with.

Discount Fire Supplies sell a range of addressable and conventional fire alarm detectors.

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