How Does a Fire Alarm System Work?

 

One of the most dangerous events that can occur to a building or structure is a fire. This destructive element can pose a threat from the instant it begins to generate toxic smoke. But exactly how does a fire system work? What are its components and purpose and how do they collectively work together to detect and possibly prevent the rapid spread of fire to protect property and save lives?

What is a Fire Alarm System?

A fire alarm system is designed to detect the imminent threat of smoke and fire and will automatically alert local authorities and its occupants, so they can take the appropriate action to evacuate the premises and relocate to a safer location.

There are six main components of a commercial fire alarm system which includes:

  • Sprinkler systems
  • Wiring and backup power source
  • Display panels and remote controls
  • Alarm / alert notification
  • (FACP) Fire Alarm Control Panel
  • Strobes and horns

Known as the “brain” of the system, the fire alarm control panel, or FACP is responsible for monitoring and managing the notification devices and is designed to send signals to all indicator devices in the event a malfunction or issue is detected.

When a fire begins, devices such as an activated device such as a hand-activated pull switch, heat or smoke detector will send a signal to the FACP. The rise in ambient temperature or the alarm pressure or flow switch contained within the sprinkler system will then transmit a signal to the FACP which initiates the flow of water through the now activated sprinkler system.

The FACP then responds by illuminating lights, activating noise signals and bells and will then send a fire signal to a contract private monitoring company or the local fire authorities for response.

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