How to Select the Right Fire and Smoke Detectors for Your Business

by Sterling No Comments

Choosing the correct fire and smoke detectors is crucial to the survival of your business should there be a fire incident.  Early detection is key in reducing the amount of damage that can be caused.  The fact of the matter is that nearly half of all businesses that experience a serious fire will never get back on their feet.

With so many types of detectors available, how are you supposed to know which one or combination of detectors are right for your business?  A lot of thought and consideration needs to go into setting up the right system so that your business gets the protection it needs and deserves.

Before jumping into which kind of detectors you need, you first must answer other questions that will help you to decide.  First question is “where do you need to install detectors throughout your building?”  It is highly suggested that you have at least one fire and carbon monoxide (CO) detector on each level.  But what about other areas that may pose a higher risk of fire occurring?  Any kitchens with a stove are more likely to have an incident.  Any room with a heat source like hot machinery or appliances or that may have an open flame are areas that will require special consideration.

Two other questions you need to answer are “what is my budget?” and “will the new equipment work with your current security system?”, if applicable.  Be sure to know the answer to both of those questions before buying any equipment.

Lastly, there may be some questions you will need a professional fire alarm company to answer.  When getting a quote for an installation, the vendor should discuss any specific equipment features you may need and what fire regulations your business will need to meet.  Will you need a backup battery, voice alarm or hush button?  Are you following all the fire regulations put out by your state?  Any qualified fire alarm vendor will be able to answer these questions.

The next phase for selecting the right fire and smoke detectors your business will need is what type of fire are you trying to detect.  A restaurant’s kitchen is going to naturally produce a lot of smoke.  In this case, a fixed temperature heat detector will work better than a smoke detector.

Here are the most common types of fire and smoke detectors:

  • Air-sampling detectors are the most common type of smoke detector.
  • Ionization detectors are best suited for “fast flame” fires.
  • Photoelectric smoke alarms are best at detecting smoldering fires.
  • Dual-sensors use both features of ionization and photoelectric alarms.
  • Duct smoke detectors will close air ventilation units to stop the spread of smoke.
  • Automatic sprinklers are set off and release water when heat is detected.
  • Pull stations are an alarm that can be triggered by a person when a fire is detected.
  • Heat detectors are fire alarms designed to respond when the convected thermal energy of a fire increases.

While it is good to understand the differences, it should ultimately be the fire-alarm vendor that confirms your choice for the most appropriate type of detection for a business.  If you have any questions at all regarding protecting your business from fire, please give us a call or contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

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