If you are a commercial property manager or owner, you must understand the codes and regulations involving fire alarm systems.

However, not a lot of commercial property owners have a basic understanding of how these fire protection devices work. Also, many often confuse fire protection devices such as smoke detectors and fire sprinklers.

In today’s post, we’ll talk about the states of fire alarm systems you need to know, how these systems work, and how the basic components function together to protect your building from fire emergencies.

Fire Alarm Systems: A Comprehensive Fire Protection Apparatus

Fire alarm systems are a complex and comprehensive tactic when approaching commercial fire protection. The systems are composed of a network of apparatuses, control panels, and appliances to function.

The role of this fire protection device is to aid in the detection of fires, alert the occupants of the building, and notify the first responders from a central monitoring station.

Another feature of the system is identifying the source of the fire within the building, self-monitor, and detecting when errors or problems manifest themselves in the connections and wiring. These issues may stop the alarm system from working, so it’s essential to identify these problems before they become severe.

Mostly, fire alarm systems have the following essential functions:

  • To detect fires.
  • To alert building occupants and first responders.
  • To monitor potential fire threats.
  • To control the fires.

The components of the systems are engineered to work together to perform those essential functions.

A Collection of Sophisticated Parts

As we mentioned earlier, a fire alarm system is composed of a network of different parts with their own separate functions. If you have a basic understanding of what these components are and how they function together, you can understand how they can protect your commercial structure.

Here are the critical parts of a fire alarm system.

Initiating Devices

These devices are responsible for detecting smoke or fires. Some examples of initiating devices are smoke detectors (which are also broken down int various kinds), pull stations, heat detectors, and sprinkler water flow sensors.

Indicating Appliances

These devices are responsible for sending out alerts, alarms, and signals to notify the occupants of the building of the presence of a fire hazard.

These appliances include bells, chimes, horns, and in some cases, strobe lights and visual signals for individuals who are either deaf or hard of hearing.

Fire Alarm Panel

This part includes the central monitoring component and user interface of the system. Its main function is to supervise all the components of the system, including the detectors, indicating appliances, and different types of external and internal wiring.

The alarm panel is an essential component of fire alarm systems.The panel is also utilized to send out a message to the central monitoring agency once the alarm is set off. The emergency response team will get this notification.

Power Supplies

This part includes the main power supply, backup batteries, and in some situations, a backup generator.

Auxiliary Devices

Depending on the specific needs of your commercial building, there are different parts with corresponding features that you can integrate with a fire alarm system.

Some of these devices include LED indicators, remote annunciators, elevator capture, fire doors, electromagnetic door holders, and more.

A fire alarm systems professional should be able to discuss the many different options with you and determine which ones will meet your fire safety and protection needs.

Fire Alarm Systems: States of Operation

The three primary states of operation of the system are the following:

Normal State

A normal state indicates that all the components of the system (wiring, appliances, circuitry) are functioning normally and as they should.

Alarm State

An alarm state indicates that the system is activated because of a trigger. Whether it’s a smoke or fire, the system will emanate a sound, which will alert all the building occupants.

The control panel will display what zone or area of the building the threat is originating from. This feature allows the first responders to get to the area quickly.

There are three different operation states of fire alarm systems.Trouble State

A trouble state indicates that there is either an open or short circuit wiring taking place within the control panel and other connected device.

The panel will display that the system is in trouble, which will then send out a sound or signal to notify the maintenance personnel.

This sound is not loud enough to be mistaken as an emergency alarm.