The fire detection system is designed to discover fires early in their development when time will be available for occupant evacuation and control actions. The system also helps emergency response personnel by showing them the location of the fire, speeding up their efforts.
A fire alarm system is often required by building codes and insurance policies. However, it serves many more purposes than just that.
Preventing Property Damage
A fire detection system is designed to recognize the presence of smoke, heat, and flames before they can cause substantial property damage. It is, therefore, an important component in minimizing the loss of valuable equipment and business interruptions caused by fire.
By alerting building occupants of the presence of a fire, the system gives everyone time to evacuate the premises, follow safety protocols, and extinguish the fire before it has an opportunity to spread. This can significantly reduce the amount of damage done to critical components that cannot be replaced, such as computer systems, physical building equipment, and documents.
Several types of fire detectors are available, each with its own strengths and benefits. An example is a thermovelocimetric (TV) class fire detection system, which works by using a semiconductor thermistor to measure changes in air temperature. When the thermistor is exposed to smoke, it experiences a change in electrical resistance. This causes the circuit to change voltage, which in turn triggers the alarm system. These systems are highly accurate and can detect a range of different types of smoke.
Other types of fire detection systems include ionization and photoelectric detectors. Ionization-based detectors are better at detecting small black soot particles from flaming fires, while photoelectric detectors are more sensitive to larger and lighter-colored particles that are usually emitted by smoldering fires. Some detectors are also multicriteria, meaning they use a combination of both ionization and optical technologies. This allows them to detect a wide range of sources and can be better at reducing unwanted or nuisance alarms, such as from cooking.
Once a fire has been detected, the fire suppression process can be activated automatically or by manually actuated alarms. This can dramatically reduce the amount of damage caused to a facility and its contents, shorten the recovery period, and return to normal operations. Detectors can also notify emergency response personnel and fire trucks, reducing the time required for them to arrive on the scene. This can significantly cut down on the amount of damage done by the time the fire has spread, allowing you to minimize lost revenue and downtime for your business.
As well as safeguarding your valuable assets and preventing costly damage to the building, the fire detection system is also vital for avoiding injuries to people within the property. This is because they will alert everyone to the threat as soon as it happens, allowing them to escape or take life-saving action.
A reliable fire alarm system can even trigger a coordinated evacuation, ensuring that people are led away from danger by voice messages and that extinguishing systems are activated. This will save time and reduce panic, reducing the chance of fire-related injuries.
In addition, a fire detection system can help to limit the release of toxic smoke and gases, such as carbon monoxide, into the atmosphere. These chemicals are harmful to humans in large doses and can contribute to global warming. A fire detection and alarm system will detect these gases and alert the authorities, thereby limiting their release into the environment.
When a fire occurs, it can spread very quickly. Having a fire detection system in place means that it will be detected very early and can also detect the heat of a fire before anyone is likely to come into contact with it. This means that the authorities will be able to respond more quickly and limit the damage to the building and its contents.
Many people are at risk of being injured or killed in a fire, including young children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. People living in single-family homes and people who use drugs or alcohol are also at greater risk of injury. A reliable fire detection system can protect them by triggering an emergency alarm that can give people time to escape before the fire gets too out of control.
A fire detection system can include various types of detectors, call points, and other equipment, such as a control panel (also known as the fire alarm control panel – FACP). These are the core components of any automated fire detection and warning system. Depending on the type of installation, these devices can detect smoke, heat, flames, gases, radiation, and other hazards. The control panel will monitor the detectors and other sensors to ensure that the system is working correctly, sending an alert to the relevant authorities if necessary. It can also activate a sounder or flasher to indicate that a warning has been triggered. A popular variety of detectors is the optical-thermal dual technology detector, which has both an optical sensor and a thermal sensing device to prevent false alarms.
Preventing Damage to Critical Components
A fire detection system can help prevent equipment damage and production loss. Detecting the presence of smoke or increases in heat provides an opportunity for occupants to evacuate to safety and minimizes the impact of a fire on the building’s critical components.
This is particularly important in high-rise buildings, industrial facilities, and other large commercial or residential structures. Escaping a burning building before a fire spreads can prevent injury and save valuable equipment, data, and inventory.
The most common type of fire detection systems are detectors that work by sounding an alarm when the presence of smoke or increased heat is detected. These systems are ideally connected to a 24/7 monitoring service that will quickly notify local emergency services when the alarm is activated. These types of systems can also be used in conjunction with fire sprinkler systems, which are most effective during the earliest stages of a fire’s growth. These systems dispense water over the fire to dampen and extinguish the flames, which helps prevent further property damage while still leaving room for a quick evacuation.
Fire detection systems can also be used to detect toxic and explosive gases. This is especially beneficial in businesses that produce or store hazardous materials, such as chemical factories, beauty salons, and paint shops. These systems can monitor the presence of gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and other noxious fumes.
While installing a fire detection and alarm system may require an up-front investment, it can help your business save money down the road. In addition to reducing the cost of cleanup and repair from fire-related damages, it can also reduce your insurance premiums by providing proof that you have taken proactive steps to protect your business from the potential consequences of a fire. Most business insurance policies require a fire detection system as a condition of coverage. In addition, many building codes and laws require the installation of a fire detection and alarm system as a condition of occupancy. MoviTHERM’s iEFD fire detection system is an ideal way to meet these requirements while providing your employees and customers with peace of mind.
Preventing Environmental Damage
As fire burns in buildings, it releases toxic gases into the air. These gases can spread into surrounding areas, damaging wildlife and contaminating the environment. Fire detection systems can prevent this by detecting the presence of these gases and sending an alert to the authorities. This will give them a chance to react before the fire spreads.
The alert that is sent by a professional fire alarm system can also notify occupants of the building. This gives them time to follow evacuation procedures, which is crucial for preventing injuries and property damage. It can also allow them to take steps to preserve critical components of the building, such as IT equipment or physical documents. This can prevent the loss of important information and ensure that your employees are able to return to work as soon as possible after the fire is extinguished.
Most modern fire detection systems are also equipped with a remote monitoring and response feature. This allows them to send an immediate alert to a qualified technician, who can then check the status of the fire detection systems and respond accordingly. This will provide extra protection for the building and its occupants, especially if they are located in remote areas or difficult-to-access locations.
When a fire breaks out, most people will first think about evacuating the building and saving lives. However, they might forget about the damage that can be done to the local environment. This can be caused by the smoke that sucks into plants and trees, preventing them from being able to absorb enough sunlight to survive. The toxins released by burning materials can seep into the ground and poison water supplies.
A fire detection system is essential to any workplace or commercial establishment. By installing a professionally installed system, you can protect your assets and keep your teams safe. The nature of the fire detection system you choose will depend on your business needs and the fire safety and protection objectives established by an employer risk assessment. For instance, you might want to consider an optical smoke detector for large indoor spaces and a vapor or gas detector for high-risk areas.