There are two major types of fire alarms: ionization fire alarms and photoelectric fire alarms. Ionization fire alarms detect flaming, fast moving fires – curtain fires, trash can fires, etc. Photoelectric fire alarms are best for smoky, smoldering fires, such as electrical fires that start out behind walls. There are also dual sensor fire alarms which, naturally, combine both types into one. To maximize your fire protection, you should install both types (or a combination of the two) to make sure you are completely covered.
In short, yes. Fire sprinkler systems are great for putting out fires after they start, but they only come on once the fire has reached a certain temperature, at which point it will have already done damage. Fire alarm systems, particularly smoke detectors, round out your fire protection because they detect smoke and other gases before the flames start, giving you extra time to escape the building. They can also automatically alert the fire department.
Fire alarm monitoring is basically a guarantee your building has eyes on it 24/7, keeping it protected from fires at all times. If the fire alarms go off in your building, the fire alarm monitoring company will notify the fire department within seconds – even if you’re not there, or if you’re in the process of safely evacuating. Everyone has heard horror stories of people showing up to work and seeing the charred wreckage of what was once their office (and all their equipment, data, etc.) – don’t let this happen to you!
When properly maintained, your fire alarms should last around 10 – 12 years. After this, you should start thinking about replacing the alarms in your home or building, even if they seem to be working fine – you don’t want to take any chances when it comes to the safety of your employees or family. Plus, replacing fire alarms is fairly inexpensive.
Conventional fire alarms are ideal for small buildings such as homes, individual offices, or retail shops. Conventional fire alarms go off when they detect smoke in their immediate vicinity and are perfect for evacuating people from a small space.
Addressable fire alarms are more useful for large buildings or building complexes. The biggest difference between addressable and conventional fire alarm systems is addressable fire alarms have an enunciator panel that shows you (or, more importantly, the fire department) exactly which devices are going off so you can get the proper resources to them as quickly as possible.