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How Do Fire Alarm Systems Work 

Fire alarm systems and fire detection systems are designed to alert building occupants if a fire should break out, they do not generally reduce the fire or contain it, although this is possible when systems are fitted with fire suppression equipment such carbon dioxide fire suppression systems. 


A fire “alarm” system is distinctly different from a “suppression” system in that it has no connection to fighting the fire; its purpose is to inform all occupants of the building that there is a fire via audible alarms in order for them to evacuate the building.

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Whats Involved?

Fire Alarm Systems have 2 main components, smoke or heat detectors and a control panel, these life saving systems do exactly what you would expect them to do, continuously monitor premisis for the presence of fire or smoke.


Heat smoke sensors are located throughout the entire building or premisis, they are connected to a main alarm panel by special cables & wires. The control panel is in turn connected to a sets of sirens that give a loud audible alarm throughout the building and the areas that surround it.

how do fire alam systems work

 As mentioned, the most common form of alert is a strobe light by the main enterance point or an audible alarm bell situated throughout. 


Most Control Panels these days can also call the Fire services automatically or notify security organisations which can then pass on the information to authorities.


The main alarm control panel of the fire alarm system should be located in a control room or a security room which is monitored 24 hours a day. The control panel will let personell know the exact location of the fire so they can coordinate the evacuation process in a safe and secure way.

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Maintaining a Fire Alarm

Fire Alarms require regular maintenance & testing to ensure that the alarm is funtioning as it should. Monthly, Yearly, five yearly and 20 year certification is required by proffesional engineers with records kept within the premisis.


Monthly test:
Checks all equipment for proper functioning. Activate alarms and ensure connection to the fire brigade operates as it should.

6-monthly test: Monthly test plus inspecting sinage, acuators & local control stations where Special Hazard systems are installed.


Annual testing.
As above, includes all system functioning testing for the shutting down of system, testing 20% heat detection units, 50% of smoke detectors & 100% of all manual call points. Additionally, sound levels from all occupant warning systems are measured & check that the system meets the requirements and that no alterations or changes have been made to the area.


A 5-yearly test:
The 5 yearly test is more scientific than the other interval tests in that quite a bit of system measuring is required such as impedance of occupant warning system speaker lines, short circuit isolators and power supply testing.


False alarms are quite a common occcurance if the Fire alarm System is not regullay maintained. At some premisis, due to other safety concerns, it may also be a requirement to have regular cleaning of the smoke detector units due to particles such as dust, insects and debris.This either takes place 6 monthly or annually. If you have any question ot would like to arrange for a free fire safety consultation then please contact us for help.


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Prime Fire and Security Systems Ltd
70 Bounces Road, London N9 8JS

Telephone: 020 3961 8181

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