Fire Alarm Systems: 4 Types & Their Advantages
Fire alarm systems are comprised of a number of intricate components and mechanisms, and different systems are more or less appropriate in different scenarios. Some fire alarms engage in proximity to heat, while others rely on smoke, and still others utilize photoelectric mechanisms or ionization protocols to provide a different kind of protection. This article discusses four different fire alarm system designs, how they work, and the environments for which they are best suited.
Fire alarm systems that trigger in the presence of heat are one of the oldest types of alarm systems still in use today. These heat-based systems rely on a component that activates once the temperature in the room exceeds a preset limit. These types of units are ideal for areas where traditional smoke detectors simply wouldn't be adequate, such as in warehouses, or buildings with large open spaces.
Ionization Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms that utilize ionization mechanisms actually rely on radioactive material to detect activity in the vicinity. There are trace amounts of radiation in smoke, and when smoke passes through a detector's ionization chamber it sets of a chemical reaction. This chemical reaction, in turn, interrupts a current that ultimately sets off the alarm mechanism.
These types of fire alarms are used almost exclusively in residential homes and schools, but they are ideal for any situation that might give rise to aggressive, quickly burning fires.
Photoelectric Smoke Alarms
Photoelectric smoke alarms incorporate a series of light beams, much like the laser-field types of alarm systems used in Hollywood heist movies. The alarm is triggered when smoke enters the optical chamber of the device, affecting reflections of the light beams that ultimately trip the sensor. Photoelectric alarms are best utilized in areas that are prone to slowly building fires. Storage facilities housing explosive fuels, for instance, would not represent an appropriate setting for photoelectric fire alarm systems.
Combination smoke alarms that utilize ionization technologies and photoelectric systems also exist for those who want the earliest warning possible. These types of alarms are most appropriate in places that have significant human traffic at any given time. Schools, shopping malls, and even large department stores would benefit from having such systems installed.
In the end, there are a number of fire alarm systems available and each is best suited for a particular task. Those areas that need faster alerts would be best served in considering ionization alarm systems, whereas areas that aren't necessarily prone to blazing, out-of-control fires are typically fine with photoelectric alarm systems. Of course, the combination-variety is best for those who simply don't want to take chances. Talk to places like Vigilant Security Inc. for more information.