A fire alarm system is supposed to automatically detect the occurrence of a fire by monitoring changes in the environment that would be caused by flames. Fire systems can be automatic or manual and in some cases can be both. The purpose of the alarm that rings when the system is set off is to notify occupants to evacuate the building, notify authorities immediately and to prepare to engage the flames using appropriate apparatus. In the United Kingdom, BS 5839 is the established and most commonly used standard for installation of fire alarm systems in buildings. Below, we are going to tell you about the fire alarms for home and commercial use.
The components of this fully functional device include the control panel which is the central part of the system. It controls the outputs from the alarm system and monitors the input. It makes sure that the system maintains its integrity and passes on information and data to other part of the system. It is basically the heart of the alarm system because everything passes through here and for any other part to be functional it has to be connected to the control panel.
There is also a primary power supply. When being used in non- residential places a dedicated branch circuit is applied to the alarm system and its other parts. There is also the backup power supply which is made up of batteries so that, in the event of a power failure, the alarm system will still be operational.
There is a part called the initiating device. This part of the fire alarm system really is the one that feeds input to the control panel. It can be operated automatically or manually so examples of these would include a call point button that is pressed manually for the alarm to go off, or a smoke detector that will automatically detect when the properties of smoke are present and set off the alarm.
There is also a sounder that serves to notify people in the building to take appropriate action. It uses energy from the power supplies or from the battery to alert people and the medium used is usually the sounding of alarm bells.
In the UK, signals that communicate that building occupants should evacuate should be comprised of an audible tone or bell, and also visual notification in public areas. These emergency signs are designed to be easily distinguishable from any other signals that may be common place in that particular building.
Some systems, especially those in hospitals and large multi-story buildings use EVACS. These are previously recorded messages that provide instructions on what to do to the people in the buildings. This is done because in such cases there maybe thousands of people and it is unlikely that all of them will be evacuated in time, so additional assistance is needed in such cases.
Fire alarm systems have to protect both human life and buildings. One solitary panel with a detector and a sounding alarm may be suitable for a residential building but a much more extensive system is usually needed in a multi-purpose high rise building.