If you own or manage a commercial building, you can take several proactive steps to ensure the property is safe against a set of typical threats. While intrusion is a common issue amongst commercial properties, property managers are just as concerned with the risk indoor or exterior fires pose. A fire can cause an immeasurable amount of damage to merchandise, machinery, computer equipment, the building’s structure or of course to life.
In order to prevent or mitigate this type of loss, commercial building owners invest in commercial fire alarm systems, fire hazard alerts and monitoring services for peace of mind and as well to comply with business safety regulations. While fire alarm systems have a variety of different features depending on the manufacturer and specific model, they all have the same purpose – monitoring a building for fire threats and hazards, alerting staff of the need to tackle the fire and or evacuate and facilitating the appropriate emergency service response. By considering your building type and design, as well as a number of specific commercial fire alarm system components, you can find the application that will work best for you.
What Does Commercial Fire Alarm Equipment Do?
A fire alarm system consists of detectors, sounders and other equipment that will notify occupants of a possible fire threat within or nearby the building. These systems are designed to give building owners, and at times fire departments, essential advance notice during a damaging fire emergency. With several types of visible and audible indicators that can signal a problem, as well as text and call notification services for GSM (Global Service for Mobiles) systems, you will have the peace of mind in knowing you will be informed.
Typically, a central commercial fire alarm monitoring service will standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to ensure your property is under constant fire surveillance. With your contact information on hand, a monitoring service will notify you personally in the event a sensor is triggered. While there is always the risk of a false alarm, it is better to be safe than sorry. Once a fire is confirmed, authorities and the fire department will be called to the scene to prevent further damage, determine the cause of the fire, and mitigate the loss.
The Basic Features of Commercial Fire Alarms
Each fire alarm will have its own specific components that make it unique from other brands and models. While components and capabilities may differ slightly, the purpose of each component remains the same. The central component of a commercial fire alarm system is the control panel. This is essentially the brain of your system and will be connected to all of the satellite components as well as the monitoring station.
While smoke detectors are legally required in commercial building as well as residential applications, the fire detectors used in a monitoring alarm system differ from traditional units. The smoke detectors will be connected to the control panel with sensors and will signal when smoke levels reach a certain point. Heat detectors are also included to monitor the temperature of a building and signals will be activated when this temperature becomes too high. More advanced systems will also utilize photoelectric and ionization technologies to monitor a building for the presence of a potential fire threat.
Manual signal boxes are extremely important in larger buildings and properties. While sensors monitor to their range of capabilities, manual signals can be activated by a member of staff if a fire is witnessed by an employee; this may be prior to the automatic sensors being triggered and allow more time for the fire to be addressed. Typically, a manual trigger will involve a person pulling a handle or shattering a glass panel; this will inform the monitoring station to call the fire authorities and possibly before smoke detectors and heat sensors are activated as discussed.
With the right sprinkler system, a fire loss can be reduced significantly. While some commercial insurance providers will require buildings to have some form of sprinkler system in place, not all do. These, in combination with a monitoring system, will react very quickly to the presence of smoke and flames. By lowering temperatures and limiting the size of the fire, you can reduce damages and costs from the incident and give people longer to evacuate.
There are many different vendors and service providers selling and installing commercial fire alarm systems. It is recommended to hire a professional installation service as these systems tend to be quite involved and certainly beyond the understanding of the average Joe. Find a reputable vendor that is regarded as one of the best in the business to ensure you are receiving quality products and a good price point.
When you are ready to invest in a monitoring service, browse the market for these companies; looking on the internet will give you the broadest range to choose from in the first instance. Speak with representatives of each company and ask a set of key questions to narrow down your search. In particular, make sure to obtain pricing quotes for installation, initial equipment purchases, setup, monthly monitoring fees, and warranties to make a well-educated decision. Installation costs will vary significantly between each service provider if you choose to go this route. Review special offers and incentives available in your area. While the incentives may be enticing, be sure to research the company before making an impulse buy. The right system and the right service should ensure a quality fire protection and management scheme for your property.