Prior to fire alarms, smoke detectors were primarily the main indicator for alerting the occupants of a building to a fire. Before that, only an individual calling the fire department may have resulted in minimal loss of property and life. Today fire alarm systems have evolved into complicated networks. With more recent advances, fire alarms have improved diagnostics which only aid in the reliability of the alarm system.
Even though current smoke detectors and heads are more sensitive to detecting fires and heat than systems from even as recent as 2005, improvements are constantly being made from the development of addressable heads to touch screen or touchpad panels. These advances have allowed owners, monitoring agencies and fire departments greater ability in responding to true alarms instead of false alarms.
An addressable head is a recent development in fire detection and locating. Before addressable heads, fire alarm panels would merely display the general location of the fire by identifying a generic zone. For small business owners with only a couple of thousand feet of space, this may be satisfactory, however, for a larger space such as a storage facility, school, assisted living or hospital facility, this can literally be a life saver.
There are several other components available to a commercial facility. Indicator appliances, part of many fire alarm systems, help identify whether a building is occupied. Many times this particular feature would be useful, especially in a school or assisted living facility. Electromagnetic door holders can be very effective with regards to securing or isolating sections of a building, thereby slowing the advance of a fire. The manner in which an electromagnetic door holder functions is when an alarm is activated, the electromagnetic contact holding the door open is de-energized, which in turn causes the door to swing freely shut. Many alarms panels are available with touch panels or touchpad screens. By simplifying the user interface in this manner, it allows companies to train their employees on the use and understanding of the fire alarm and security systems quickly and efficiently.
Every commercial business or institution could benefit from investing in a new fire alarm control system or updating the existing alarm system. At a bare minimum, an inspection needs to be performed annually. In many cases particular industries, such as restaurants or food related facilities, hospitals and schools are generally required by law to have an inspection done more frequently. Along with an inspection, fire suppression systems are also required to be inspected. Even though the components and fittings of a fire suppression system may not have been activated, the parts do receive wear and tear in certain conditions and need to be adjusted periodically.