Addressable Fire Alarms vs. Conventional Fire Alarms

If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your building’s fire alarm system, you’ve probably come across the terms “addressable fire alarms” and “conventional fire alarms.” You may even already know the difference between the two:

  • Conventional fire alarms are all wired to the same control panel, so if alarm goes off, they all go off
  • Addressable fire alarms give each individual device (smoke detectors, heat detectors, pull stations, etc.) its own unique address, allowing you to see exactly which device is going off at any time

So the question is, which type of fire alarm is best for your building?

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Benefits of Addressable Fire Alarms

The benefits of addressable fire alarms are numerous. A panel at the entrance of your building will display exactly which devices are going off, making it easy to figure out either where there is a fire or, in the event of a false alarm, which specific device is going off.

Addressable fire alarms are invaluable for large buildings or building campuses where a single control panel may service dozens of alarm units.

Another benefit of addressable fire alarms is that they require less cabling than conventional fire alarms. All of the devices installed as part of an addressable fire alarm system connect to a single cabling loop that runs through the entire premises, making it easy to install new devices.

Benefits of Conventional Fire Alarms

Conventional fire alarms are set up in zones, with each zone hardwired into a control panel or zone expander. Different devices have to be run on different zones, e.g.  smoke detectors run on a separate zone from pull stations. That said, conventional fire alarm systems are much less expensive and require significantly less labor to install.

Addressable Fire Alarms vs. Conventional Fire Alarms—the Bottom Line

When it comes down to it, the type of fire alarm you choose to use depends on the size and layout of your building. A single retail store, small restaurant, or other similar building will likely be fine with a conventional fire alarm. For large buildings or building campuses, however, an addressable fire alarm may be essential—the information they provide to both fire alarm service companies and the local fire department (should they ever have to show up) is invaluable.

And to keep your building even better protected, the experts at Confires recommend fire alarm monitoring. With a monitored fire alarm, you have the benefit of knowing your building is under the watchful protection of a team of fire protection professionals who will notify the fire department of any developing emergencies, day or night—whether your building is occupied or not.

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