Fire alarm system


Fire alarm system

An automatic fire alarm system is designed to detect the unwanted presence of fire by monitoring environmental changes associated with combustion. In general, a fire alarm system is either classified as automatic, manually activated, or both. Automatic fire alarm systems can be used to notify people to evacuate in the event of a fire or other emergency, to summon emergency forces aid, and to prepare the structure and associated systems to control the spread of fire and smoke.

Design

After the fire protection goals are established - usually by referencing the minimum levels of protection mandated by the appropriate model building code, insurance agencies, and other authorities - the Fire Alarm designer undertakes to detail specific components, arrangements, and interfaces necessary to accomplish these goals. Equipment specifically manufactured for these purposes are selected and standardized installation methods are anticipated during the design. In the United States, NFPA 72, "The National Fire Alarm Code" is an established and widely used installation standard.

Fundamental configuration

* Fire alarm control unit (panel): This component, the hub of the system monitors inputs and system integrity, control outputs and relays information.

* Primary Power supply: Commonly the non-switched 120 Volt Alternating Current source supplied from a commercial power utility. In non-residential applications, a branch circuit dedicated to the fire alarm system and its constituents. "Dedicated branch circuits" should not be confused with "Individual branch circuits" which supply energy to a single appliance.

* Secondary (backup) Power supplies: This component commonly sealed, lead-acid storage batteries or other emergency sources including generators, is used to supply energy in the event of a primary power failure.

* Initiating Devices: This component acts as input to the fire alarm control unit and are either manually or automatically activated.

* Notification Appliances: This component uses energy supplied from the fire alarm system or other stored energy source, to inform the proximate persons of the need to take action, usually to evacuate.

* Building Safety Interfaces: This interface allows the fire alarm system to control aspects of the built environment and to prepare the building for fire and to control the spread of smoke fumes and fire by influencing air movement, lighting, process control, human transport and exit.

Initiating Devices

* Manually activated devices; manual pull station are constructed to be readily located (near the exits), identified, and operated.
* Automatically activated devices can take many forms intended to respond to any number of detectable physical changes associated with fire: convected thermal energy; heat detector, products of combustion; smoke detector, radiant energy; flame detector, combustion gasses; carbon monoxide detector and release of extinguishing agents; water-flow detector. The newest innovations can use cameras and computer algorithms to analyze the visible effects of fire and movement in applications inappropriate for or hostile to other detectable phenomenon.

Notification Appliances

* Audible, visible, tactile, textual or even olfactory stimuli to alert the occupants . [http://www.atss.in/Fire/Fire-Alarm.html] Audible or visible signals are the most common and may utilize speakers to deliver live or pre-recorded instructions to the occupants. In the United States, fire alarm evacuation signals are required to use a standardized interrupted four count temporal pattern to avoid confusion with other signals using similar sounding appliances. Other methods include:
* Audible Textual appliances, which are employed as part of a fire alarm system that includes Emergency Voice Alarm Communications (EVAC) capabilities. High reliability speakers are used to notify the occupants of the need for action in connection with a fire or other emergency. These speakers are employed in large facilities where general undirected evacuation is considered impracticable or undesirable. The signals from the speakers are used to direct the occupant's response. The system may be controlled from one or more locations within the building known as Fire Wardens Stations, or from a single location designated as the building Fire Command Center. Speakers are automatically activated by the fire alarm system in a fire event, and following a pre-alert tone, selected groups of speakers may transmit one or more prerecorded messages directing the occupants to safety. These messages may be repeated in one or more languages. Trained personnel activating and speaking into a dedicated microphone can suppress the replay of automated messages in order to initiate or relay real time voice instructions.cite book
last = Cote
first = Arthur E.
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Fire Protection Handbook eighteenth edition
publisher = National Fire Protection Association
month=March | year=2000
location =
pages = pp 5-7
url =
doi =
isbn = 0-87765-377-1
]

Building safety interfaces

* Magnetic Smoke Door Holders: Wall or floor mounted solenoids or electromagnets controlled by a fire alarm system or detection component that magnetically secures spring-loaded self-closing smoke tight doors in the open position. Designed to de-magnetize to allow automatic closure of the door on command from the fire control or upon failure of the power source, interconnection or controlling element. Stored energy in the form of a spring or gravity can then close the door to restrict the passage of smoke from one space to another in an effort to maintain a tenable atmosphere on either side of the door during evacuation and fire fighting efforts.
* Duct Mounted Smoke Detection: Smoke detection mounted in such a manner as to sample the airflow through duct work and other plenums specifically fabricated for the transport of environmental air into conditioned spaces. Interconnection to the fan motor control circuits are intended to stop air movement, close dampers and generally prevent the recirculation of toxic smoke and fumes produced by fire into occupied spaces.

UK fire alarm system categories

There are many types of fire alarm systems each suited to different building types and applications. A fire alarm system can vary dramatically in both price and complexity, from a single panel with a detector and sounder in a small commercial property to an addressable fire alarm system in a multi-occupancy building. Systems have to protect both buildings and occupants.

The categories of fire alarm systems are L if they are designed to protect life, P to protect buildings and M if they are manual systems. [ [http://www.sdfirealarms.co.uk/shop/firealarmsystems-a-7.html "Fire Alarm System Categories"] ]

See also

* Active fire protection
* Fire alarm control panel
* Fire alarm notification appliance
* Fire protection
* Fire Safety Equivalency System
* Multiple-alarm fire

References

External links

* [http://www.va.gov/facmgt/standard/spec/13850.doc Section 13850 Fire Alarm Systems]


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