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Fire Alarm System FAQs

Posted on: February 18, 2011

As important as fire alarms are to protect a building from fire, few people . Everyone knows what they are for and what they do, but many people don’t know much more than that. At Confires Fire Protection, we believe that the best way to stay safe from a fire is to have as deep of an understanding of your fire protection systems as possible. With that in mind, we’re here to answer some frequently asked questions about your NJ fire alarms!

How often do I need fire alarm system inspection and testing, and how long will the fire alarm system last?

The national fire code requires that you schedule fire alarm system inspection and testing annually. If you keep on top of all the required fire alarm system maintenance, your fire alarm system should last you a very long time.

What’s the difference between a conventional fire alarm system and an addressable fire alarm system?

In general, a conventional fire alarm system is less expensive and is used in smaller buildings. The biggest limitation to conventional fire alarm systems is that they, unlike addressable fire alarm systems, can’t tell you specifically which alarm is going off – they can only tell you which zone is under alarm. Of course, if your building is small, that information may be all you need.

Addressable fire alarm systems, on the other hand, are hooked up to an annunciator panel that can show you exactly what devices are going off at any given time. This type of fire alarm system is more expensive than a conventional fire alarm system, but if you own a large-scale business or operate in a large facility – the specific nature of the information provided can be extremely valuable. Better yet, if you are installing the fire alarm system on a campus or within a large facility you can network the annunciator panels together, so you can visually see the status of the entire fire alarm system.

Do I need a fire alarm system if I have a fire sprinkler system installed?

Short answer: yes. Even though fire sprinkler systems are highly effective fire protection systems, they only kick into gear after the fire has already started and the heat has risen to a certain level. Fire alarm systems, particularly smoke detectors, can detect smoke and other gases before the flames start, giving you extra time to escape the building.  They can also automatically alert the fire department.

What is UL 864 and how does it affect my existing fire alarm system?

UL 864 is the Standard for Control Units and Accessories for Fire Alarm Systems. The standard is updated frequently (the last update went into effect on December 31, 2008). All fire alarm systems are required to comply with UL standards, so if you installed your fire alarm system prior to December 31, 2008, you should have a fire protection services company inspect your fire alarm system to make sure it is up to code.

The more you know about your fire alarm system, the better you will understand how it keeps you protected. If you own a building in New Jersey, Delaware or Philadelphia and need fire alarm maintenance, inspection or testing services, call the experts at Confires Fire Protection today!

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