Why An Addressable Alarm System Is Better

Why An Addressable Alarm System Is Better

Why Are Addressable Alarm Systems Better than Conventional Systems?

The key to rapid response in a fire emergency situation is time. Without timely identification of a problem and immediate emergency notification, lives may be jeopardized and more property lost. Addressable fire alarm systems are designed to detect problems instantly, and notify monitoring or emergency personnel of the location of a developing fire situation. In larger buildings, such as residential high-rises, hospital complexes, or university campuses, addressable fire alarm systems are far more efficient than conventional zone type systems.

What is an Addressable Fire Alarm System?

Addressable fire alarm systems consist of smoke, fire, gas, security breach detection and notification devices that link to a central control panel. The location of each activated device in the system is instantly identified when triggered, thereby allowing personnel to locate the initial location of the problem and to track the progress. In massive, multi-story or sprawling buildings, emergency responders can address the danger immediately and direct occupant evacuation away from the danger.

Addressable systems are wired in a loop consisting of several types of devices each with its own “address.” The system may include smoke and fire detectors, sprinkler or other suppression equipment, alarms, visual notification appliances, voice evacuation systems, control annunciators, auxiliary power, and network gas detection systems. Each of these devices and peripheral equipment is connected to the control panel and a central monitoring location.

Advantages of an Addressable Alarm System

Properly installed and situated, the addressable fire detection and alarm system can:

  • Quickly identify the location of the potential emergency.
  • Monitor the health and operational condition of each device.
  • Detect buildup of contaminants which can affect performance.
  • Identify a “break” in the system wiring more quickly.
  • Reduce false alarms and determine the cause and location more quickly.

Difference Between Conventional and Addressable Detection Systems

Conventional systems are wired to create individual zones. These systems are simply hardware and wiring-based with no programming required. This method does not allow for the precise identification of the problem but may give a general idea of the zone where the problem exists. In a large building, these systems do not provide the precision for rapid response.

An addressable system with programmed communications capability indicates the exact starting point and current status of the problem.

Conventional systems require more wiring than addressable systems. However, only a trained and certified fire safety technician should install and program any addressable fire detection system because of the importance and complexities of device intercommunications.

Testing and Maintenance of an Addressable Alarm System

One essential feature of an addressable system is that each element can be tested and monitored independently of the others. Because every device has an “address” or location of its own, signals can be exchanged between the control panel and each component to determine that all are working correctly. Regular testing is simplified, and controllers are notified anytime there is a break in the network.

Programming an Addressable Fire Detection System

The key component of an addressable system is the programming. A correctly installed system can perform a broad range of functions during the testing phases as well as while in operation. Certain strategies may be built in to allow for a cause/effect response. One scenario is to program the system to notify the area of imminent danger while placing other sections on active alert mode. This strategy contributes to a safer, more orderly evacuation.

Reduce False Alarms

False alarms are disruptive and expensive. Older, conventional systems will tend to activate as dust and grime interrupt the sensing capability. Smoke detectors usually work with photoelectric cells that respond when a focused beam of light is redirected. Distortion resulting from dust buildup may sound the alarm.

Modern addressable systems sense the dust buildup and send a notification of a potential problem to the control panel. The device enables a pre-fire warning which is recognized at the control center and can be checked and serviced immediately.


An addressable alarm system is more reliable than conventional systems, particularly for large buildings. Because of the wiring configurations, the likelihood of the addressable system malfunctioning due to a wiring break is less than with conventional systems. Standard system installation consists of single wires attaching the individual elements to the control panel. If that wire becomes disconnected, that zone goes dead.

Addressable system wiring is a loop connecting each device in the system. If one connection disconnects from the control panel, the other end of the wire will still be connected. Notification of the problem and location is immediate and can be corrected.

NOTIFIER™️ by Honeywell Addressable Alarm System

One company, NOTIFIER™️ by Honeywell, offers a complete menu of fire safety equipment that can be installed and programmed for any size building. NOTIFIER’s ONYX Series control panels build on Honeywell’s century of experience in atmospheric sensing devices to create a state-of-the-art fire management system. Linked to NOTIFIER’s advanced smoke, fire, and gas detection and notification devices, the resulting addressable system provides the best level of protection for large buildings and complexes.

Addressable Alarm System Control Panel

The heart of any fire alarm system is the control panel, the location where information is gathered. With an addressable system, the control panel receives an electronic message that identifies the presence and location of any potential problem. The control panel is integrated with a central monitoring station, alerting security personnel of any problem, its location, and an ongoing status. Monitoring locations may include an onsite security station, an offsite monitoring service, and the local fire departments.

NOTIFIER’s ONYX Series NFS-320 SYS Control Panels, for example, can network up to 318 addressable devices with peripherals such as voice evacuation modules and annunciators. The systems can even be networked wirelessly, another potential benefit in case of loss of power and back-ups.

NOTIFIER “First Vision”honeywell-security

One NOTIFIER accessory that exemplifies a way an addressable system helps firefighters to control an emergency is ONYX First Vision™. This navigational tool provides firefighters with a graphic display of the initial location and current status of a fire. This tool shows the emergency responders how quickly the problem is spreading and where to proceed to extinguish the fire as soon as possible.

Networking with Security Devices

For additional non-fire related security, access control, central locking, and closed circuit TV can be integrated into the overall addressable alarm system. From a central location, security personnel may identify potential security breaches and respond by monitoring the threat, locking specific doorways, implementing evacuations, and identifying the location of stranded occupants.

Work with Certified Fire Safety Experts

In Chicago, High Rise Security Systems has many years experience designing, installing, maintaining, and monitoring fire security systems. The company partners with the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art fire detection device manufacturers in the world. HRSS is a distributor of NOTIFIER products.

Addressable fire alarm systems are the best choice for large buildings and complexes where the identification of a developing problem must be immediate or lives and property will be at stake. These systems are complex and should only be installed, managed, and maintained by certified and experienced technicians. HRSS performs all the critical services that a sophisticated fire detection and notification system requires.

When constructing a new building or retrofitting an old one, the design phase is an excellent time to address the latest technology of the most important element of your structure. The most recent addressable alarm system designs are truly state-of-the-art and will provide the most protection for the tenants and building assets. Quickly identifying the location of the problem is the essential first step to safe evacuation and extinguishing the fire.

Expert fire safety companies like HRSS can simulate any building with CAD (computer-aided design) to determine the precise location, number, and types of detection, notification, and suppression devices necessary to ensure occupant safety. Evacuation routes must be designed at this point as well.

Linked through an addressable network monitored by a central control panel, the system will provide the necessary safeguards.

Once the system has been designed, the installation and testing by the certified installer will ensure that everything has been connected correctly and that all devices are responsive.

Addressable Fire System is Critical for Large Buildingsfire alarm

Though installation of an addressable fire safety system is easier than with conventional systems, the final installation costs may be somewhat higher. However, the expense of the high-tech, addressable devices may be coming down as the demand increases. The benefits of quick response and easier maintenance in a larger building easily justifies any extra cost.

Buildings of one or two stories may function equally well with conventional systems in place since identification and notification are less problematic in a smaller area.

However, an addressable alarm system is essential for large buildings.

Fire safety must be everyone’s primary concern. Advancements in the technology of addressable fire detection devices in high-rise buildings have saved lives and reduced the levels of damage in many instances.


Share It!