Imagine a multi-story building or a sprawling hospital campus with hundreds of independent smoke detection devices and fire alarms. When a fire starts and begins to spread, a single alarm goes off. Soon the smoke spreads, a second alarm activates, and more alarms are sounding. By the time the firefighting units arrive, many alarms are sounding, and the emergency crew has no idea where the problem began nor the source of the problem. This situation can lead to a prolonged event, excessive property damage and possibly unnecessary injury and loss of life.
One solution is an addressable fire alarm control panel system.
Why an Addressable Fire Alarm System?
An addressable fire alarm system is one in which all fire and smoke detection devices in a system are connected and communicate both with each other and a central control monitoring location. This interconnectivity allows the control personnel to identify the location or “address” where the initial detection occurred. The information directs the emergency response team to pinpoint their efforts immediately to the precise location of the developing problem.
Linking all devices offers several advantages that are not possible with traditional independent fire alarms. Some of the benefits of an addressable system are:
- Accurate identification of where the problem started and where it may be spreading
- Specific actions can be programmed such as delaying evacuations from areas not immediately threatened, thereby reducing bottlenecks of evacuating occupants
- Reduces potential for false alarms
- Each element of the system can be monitored routinely for operational health
How Does an Addressable Fire Alarm System Work?
Each detection and notification device is connected to each other. Moreover, each device is connected directly to the central addressable fire alarm control panel which is continually sending messages to check on the functionality of each instrument. In response, each element sends back a report that informs the control panel of its current health. If for any reason a device does not respond, the control panel indicates a problem at that particular address. Authorized technicians from the fire alarm maintenance company can immediately proceed to the location, fix or replace the problem device, and the issue is solved.
Quick Recognition Outbreak Location
Direct identification of the site of the outbreak is beneficial for several reasons. Occupants can initiate immediate evacuation from the adjacent areas while others receive notification to evacuate in the opposite direction from that location to prevent crowding.
Configuring an Addressable Fire Alarm Control System
An additional advantage of an addressable fire alarm system is that elements can be programmed to respond in particular ways with specific responses. Systems can be programmed to create a “cause and effect” response. In large buildings with several stories, wings or sections, it is possible to program alarms that are some distance away from the activated alarm to delay sounding to evacuate the building in orderly sequences.
How Can Addressable Fire Alarm Systems Reduce False Alarms?
False alarms cause interruptions in business activity and unnecessary emergency responses by local authorities. Sometimes accumulations of dust and grime can set off an alarm. With addressable, connected alarm systems, each device is monitored from a central location. If dust accumulations begin to affect the atmosphere around the sensors, a warning is transmitted to the central control area. The location is noted, and the device can be serviced without the alarm ever sounding.
Reliability of Addressable Fire Alarms Systems
Addressable fire alarm systems are wired in a loop with each device directly connected to the central addressable fire alarm control panel. If a disruption should result from a break in a wire or the destruction of one or more device, the remaining sensors and alarms continue to function and communicate with the control panel.
Testing and Monitoring Each Device
Addressable fire alarm systems allow for routine monitoring of the health of each connected device. Alarms will transmit a signal to indicate weakness or malfunction of any component. The source of the problem is identifiable by address and can be serviced easily. The ability to self-diagnose and repair ensures the system will properly function when needed. With independently wired alarms, each device must be checked separately to ensure functionality, and neglect can result in disaster.
Should You Install an Addressable Fire Alarm Control Panel and System?
Addressable fire alarm control panels with detection, notification and communications capability are designed with the latest technology. Reverting to decades-old processes and equipment to protect the occupants and assets within a large building or campus puts everyone at greater risk than necessary. The technology facilitates quicker detection, faster recognition, smoother evacuations, and guides firefighters to the precise location of the problem sooner. Whether designing a new building or initiating a retrofit of all security systems, an addressable fire alarm system is the most important element.
Whether a new installation or retrofit, an addressable fire alarm control panel and all of the necessary detection and notification devices require less wiring than with conventional independent alarm systems. The savings in installation alone will offset some of the cost of installing an addressable system.
Notifier by Honeywell Addressable Fire Alarm Control Panel
Honeywell has been a leader in new technologies for over a century. As a specialist in fire safety devices, Honeywell’s Notifier has a range of addressable control panels, alarms, and ancillary devices which provide complete coverage and central monitoring throughout a large building.
The Notifier approach is to provide a holistic, fully integrated fire protection system for every building. Network devices detect the presence of smoke or gas, notify the central monitoring personnel, trigger notification devices that direct evacuation with audible and visual messages, while simultaneously alerting emergency agencies and monitoring services.
Notifier addressable fire alarm control panel models are designed to manage fire safety in many different types of buildings and capacities. The model lines include:
- Onyx Series NFC 3030 designed for mid to large scale facilities
- Onyx Series NFS 640 stand-alone for small to large installations, or as a single, large network
- AFC 600 Intelligent Addressable Fire Panel supports up to 636 devices
- AFP 100 Analog/Addressable Compact Fire Alarm Control Panel supporting up to 99 devices
- FireWarden 100 and 102 comes with emergency voice-activated evacuation instruction
- NFV 25/50 Addressable Voice Evacuation control panel
- FireWarden 100-2 (Rev 3) Addressable Fire Alarm Control Panel and Digital Alarm Communicator
- FireWarden 100-2C is a compact Addressable Fire Alarm Control Panel and Digital Alarm Communicator
- Fire Warden 50 is an Addressable Fire Alarm Control Panel with Communicator that supports up to 50 devices.
Each of these devices is programmable to perform as needed. Many ancillary devices complement the control panel and essential detection and notification devices. Annunciators, strobes, warning bells, speakers, and LED-directional indicators complete the system to assist in making occupants aware of the problem and initiating evacuation.
Closed-circuit TV cameras provide additional security by providing real-time visual assistance for determining the progress of a fire or other security challenge. The cameras can also identify the location of any individual who may be trapped or unconscious within the building. All of these elements will be connected to the central control monitoring station.
High Rise Security Systems in Chicago
Building owners and managers should consult with a professional certified fire alarm company to learn about addressable fire alarm control panels, detection and notification devices. In Chicago, High Rise Security Systems experts are licensed and trained to design, install, maintain, and monitor addressable fire alarm systems. The company has successfully provided fire and safety support for all types of buildings including hospitals, residential and commercial high-rise buildings, and university campuses.
Some long-term educational customers include the University of Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago Campus, College of DuPage, and Chicago Public Schools. Medical center clients include Mercy Hospital, Cigna Healthcare, and others.
In the hospitality industry, HRSS provides fire safety support for McDonald’s and Ronald McDonald’s Children’s Charities, the Chicago Cubs, Navy Pier as well as several convention centers and many other hotels and restaurants.
High Rise Security is fully certified by NICET (National Institute of Certification in Engineering Technologies) and UL (United Laboratories). HRSS provides complete support for the design, installation and ongoing maintenance of the addressable fire control panel and ancillary devices.
Using computer-aided design technology, HRSS experts can integrate a full menu of fire detection and notification devices. The design capability provides a 3-dimensional replication of the entire facility to determine precise locations for detection and alarm devices, as well as optimal and secondary evacuation routes. A Notifier addressable fire alarm control panel and central control monitoring site will provide the utmost security for occupants and the building.
Beyond the design and installation, High Rise Security technicians will continue to test and maintain the fire safety systems to ensure maximum performance.