Though it’s not always pleasant to consider, in the fire protection industry we are always thinking about the possibility of a fire. One of the easiest ways to protect your business in the event of a fire is to ensure you have a properly functioning fire alarm system in place. That means choosing from a huge array of possible systems and finding the one that will work best for your needs. If you’re not an expert, it might seem like a daunting task, but keep reading for some easy ways to choose the right fire alarm system.
Determine the Purpose
Fire alarm systems are designed with a few purposes in mind, including life safety and property protection. Chances are that both of these issues are important to you and your business, but different aspects of fire alarm systems address each one. A smoke detection system, for instance, is key to life safety, giving people an early warning if a fire starts.
When it comes to property protection, heat detection systems are the most common fire alarm components used. These sensors detect the heat of a fire and notify authorities. Remember that while in many settings fire alarm systems are used in conjunction with fire suppression systems, they are not the same thing.
Consider the Codes
As a business owner, you know that building regulations and codes are not optional. When choosing a fire alarm system you do not want to end up on the wrong side of the fire code. Any reputable fire protection company should be aware of the codes in your particular area and will be able to explain them to you.
However, it is also important to note that fire codes are usually require only the bare minimum of protection. According to the Central Station Alarm Association, “building and fire codes are designed to avoid conflagrations, not ensure the building with survive a fire.” If you would prefer for your building and business to survive a fire, that usually means investing in more than the minimum in fire alarm and fire protection systems.
Make Sure it Measures Up
The size of a building or business can have a major impact on what type of fire alarm system will work best. Square footage should inform your choices about how many alarm locations you need, how to best control them, and what installation method is most ideal.
Some fire alarm systems are designed only to alert occupants and fire departments of a fire. More sophisticated alarms can alert occupants while simultaneously activating fire suppression equipment and shutting off hazardous equipment. Different systems are more appropriate for different applications. In a professional kitchen, for instance, fire suppression systems may be required by fire codes, while other industrial or residential buildings do not necessarily have these requirements.
These tips should help you when shopping for a fire alarm system for your business. Still, for many business owners the best way to learn what type of fire alarm system they need is to consult with a fire protection specialist.