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This article was previously published on September 9, 2016 and updated on January 18, 2023
But how do business owners know where to start and what their options are if they aren’t even sure what they need or what is available? Working with an experienced commercial fire alarm system provider is the only way to know all your options and to choose the best fire detection system to meet all your needs.
Understanding Your Commercial Fire Detection System Options
A commercial fire alarm system provider understands that protecting businesses and properties is much more than just fire detection and alarm systems. Many systems must work together to provide overall life safety in a variety of business types, whether a big box store, shopping mall, restaurant, hotel, nursing home, hospital, school, industrial operation, or other types of business.
All commercial properties are subject to code compliance with local building and safety standards, such as the Chicago Building Code and national standards issued by the National Fire Protection Association, NFPA. All building owners must maintain their fire alarm and life safety systems and be prepared for inspections, repairs, and upgrades.
Types of Commercial Fire Alarm Systems
Commercial fire alarm systems must be designed around the size and the layout of the building, the type of potential hazard based on business operations, and any other needs or concerns of building owners.
There are basically two main types of commercial fire alarm systems to choose from, conventional and addressable. It is important to understand the difference in choosing the best type for your facility.
Conventional – conventional fire alarm systems are simpler than addressable systems as there is one central fire alarm control panel, and when an alarm sounds, it notifies the entire building as all notification devices are connected. A conventional fire alarm system may be ideal for smaller businesses and office buildings and would provide the benefits of reliable fire protection that is more affordable than addressable systems.
Addressable – addressable fire alarm systems are also called intelligent systems because they identify the exact location in a building where the fire started right down to the exact floor or office number that triggered the notification. This type of system is ideal for larger commercial buildings and provides benefits with precise identification for safer and more efficient evacuation.
Commercial Fire Alarm System Components
Commercial fire alarm systems include fire alarm equipment such as detection devices and notification devices although this is a small part of a building’s overall fire and life safety system. Some of the most important components for commercial buildings include:
- Fire alarm control panel that monitors all controls and system integrity and manages information
- All automatic sensors, including detection and initiating devices for smoke, heat, flames, and carbon monoxide
- Notification devices to alert occupants of an emergency including audible alarms, strobe lights, and speakers for customized announcements
- Building safety components including emergency lighting, exit signs, ventilation systems and the ability to shut down HVAC systems to prevent the spread of smoke or gas, elevator recall, fire doors, and shelter in place areas.
- Fire suppression systems such as automatic sprinklers or non-water agent suppression systems
- Portable fire extinguishers located in the right place with the right type of extinguisher to combat potential types of fire hazards
- Life safety components relevant to the type of building and occupancy such as plans for severe weather or active shooter situations
An experienced commercial fire alarm system provider will know exactly how to implement all necessary components in your commercial building.
Commercial Fire Alarm Systems Designed to Meet Your Needs
Your commercial fire alarm system should be designed around your building structure and business operations to provide safety and code compliance for your unique business type. For example, commercial restaurants will require specific fire suppression systems to deal with kitchen fires effectively. Nursing homes require fire detection systems designed to accommodate occupants with limited mobility. Hospitals also require systems designed to keep patients safe if they are immobile, and hospitals, just like hotels, require addressable systems to pinpoint the exact locations of a fire emergency.
Schools and campuses require an integrated system to protect numerous buildings with mass notification systems. All commercial fire alarm systems require accommodations for the hearing or visually impaired. Only an experienced and reputable commercial fire safety consultant can tell you the various requirements for your business type to protect your occupants and property with complete code compliance.
HRSS Offers Commercial Fire Alarm System Design and Consultation
High Rise Security Systems, HRSS, offers decades of experience as a leading fire and life safety system provider to businesses of all types in and around Chicago. We provide commercial fire alarm system design for complete code compliance focused on saving lives in an emergency. Our number one goal is protecting all occupants from danger and protecting your property and assets.
HRSS is recognized as a leading commercial fire and life safety system provider, offering comprehensive services, including design, consultation, inspections, testing, maintenance, monitoring, and more. We offer high-quality UL-listed fire alarm system equipment from the leading manufacturers and assistance in choosing the best type of system and components to meet your needs. Contact us with any questions and to understand all your commercial fire alarm system options.