Commercial Fire Alarm Installation to Meet Your Facility’s Needs
Fire alarms are fundamental safety devices that are applicable and usually required by law in commercial, industrial and retail settings. The potential for loss of life and property, serious injury and heavy legal and financial penalties makes it necessary for a business owner to have a commercial fire alarm installation performed as a basic part of a commercial facility.
Purpose and components of a fire alarm system
The basic purpose of a fire alarm system is early detection of smoke and fires so that personnel can escape from harm and fire departments can be notified. A commercial fire alarm installation may consist of:
- Smoke detectors and fire sensors that react to the presence of smoke, fumes or heat
- An alarm system that sounds an audible or visual signal
- A fire suppression system that activates sprinklers, foam suppressants or other automated firefighting material
- A notification system that automatically sends a signal to local fire departments and emergency personnel, indicating the need for immediate response
Unique facility needs require customized systems
Fire alarms are not universal equipment; that is, each type of building will have specific needs that have to be met by a fire alarm system. As you plan your commercial fire alarm installation, assess the unique needs of the building or facility where the alarm will be placed. Some common situations and needs include:
- Multiple alarms – Buildings of several stories or large facilities that take up a lot of ground space will need multiple alarms and fire sensing systems to make sure potential dangers are covered in all areas of a building. A smoke detector or heat sensor on a lower floor, for example, might not be able to detect or respond to smoke or flames on an upper floor.
- Concentration of alarms – Certain types of buildings and facilities might need a larger number of alarms in areas where there are more people or more potentially hazardous activities taking place.
- Visual alerts – Fire alarm systems are usually auditory, but in some situations, visual alerts such as flashing lights or other visual signals may be necessary. For example, employees who work in a high-noise area or who routinely wear hearing protection may not be able to hear an auditory alarm. Employees and clients with hearing impairments will be similarly prevented from heating an audible alarm.
- Fire suppression – An alarm system may include a fire suppression system such as sprinklers, foam or other material. The type of material used for fire suppression will depend on the characteristics and needs of the building and area.
Goals for fire alarm system
Safety and protection are, of course, the fundamental goals of a fire alarm system, but you may have other needs in mind as well, such as:
- Extent of the system – You may need only a fire alarm system that alerts employees and customers to keep them safe.
- Priorities for what survives a fire – Some types of businesses will need more fire protection than others. A comprehensive fire response system that will keep your facility relatively intact will be more expensive than a lesser type.
- Desire to stay in business – If a major fire strikes your business, you may be inclined to abandon that type of business or move to another facility.
Adherence to code
Fire alarm systems must be installed in accordance with applicable state and local codes, regulations and ordinances. One of the most important is NFPA 72 2010, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. Contact your local fire safety authorities or municipal offices for assistance with interpreting and applying local fire safety codes and to make sure your commercial fire alarm installation meets all requirements.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial and Residential settings. For more information about commercial fire alarm installation and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!
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