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What’s the difference between the fire alarm systems?

Fire Alarm Systems

Today there are two standard kinds of fire alarm systems that are used:
  1. The traditional alarm system
  2. The newer, better and more sophisticated analogue addressable alarm systems.
You can read a description of the two technologies below:
Traditional Systems

Traditional fire alarm systems are generally simple switches that are marked with either “on” or “off.” These alarm systems can’t tell the difference between a real blaze and non-fire phenomena, which often are responsible for triggering these alarms with cigarette smoke, steam and even dust. With these traditional alarm systems, the control panel can only show the zone or circuit that activated (and sometimes faulty) detectors are on and working. They do not have the capability to identify any individual device.

These traditional alarm systems are usually the most cost-effective and economical systems and are commonly used in smaller buildings.

Analogue Addressable Systems

Analogue addressable fire alarm systems have a continuous two-way communication between the main control panel and all of the detectors in the area. Every one of these devices connected to the analogue addressable alarm system has its own special location address in the alarm system. The advanced control power has the ability to identify each and every device individually if a fire was to break out or a fault was to occur.

Because of the increased intelligence that’s connected to the analogue addressable systems there is a higher sensitivity to fire and additionally they have a greater immunity to false alarms unlike traditional fire alarms.


The main parts of a Fire Alarm System

The main parts of the fire alarm system include the alarm’s control panel, its detectors and its alerting devices.

Control (Alarm) Panel

You can think of the control panel as the brain of the fire alarm system. This panel is in charge of monitoring all of detectors that have been installed throughout the facility. They will pick up any sign of fire. When a sign of fire is detected the control panel has the ability to carry out a number of different activities that include:
  • Sounding of all the evacuation alarms within the protected facility.
  • Notifying the Fire Service and other emergency services.
  • Notifying the building’s management team.
  • Automatically closing the fire and the facilities smoke doors.
  • Powering up the smoke handling system.
  • Starting up the ventilation system.
  • Initiating the operation or shutdown of the building’s other services.

Classes of Fire Alarm System

Different types of fire alarm systems have been classified according to the New Zealand Building Code. They are as follows:
Type 2 A manually activated fire alarm system activated by specific call points.
Type 3 An automatic fire alarm system, which is able to be activated by both special heat detectors and also manually activated call points.
Type 4 An automatic fire alarm system, which can be activated by both manual call points and smoke detectors.
Type 5 This is a variation of Type 4. This particular system allows certain smoke detectors in certain fire cells to only activate a local alarm as long as such heat detectors have already been installed in the said cells.
Type 6 This is an automatic fire sprinkler system and also a Type 2 manually activated fire alarm system.
Type 7 This is an automatic fire sprinkler system and also a Type 4 automatically activated fire alarm system.
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