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 theother. 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 devices, 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 the 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, and 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.