Posted July 30, 2021

Last month marked the 4th anniversary of the Grenfell fire. This tragic event continues to highlight the importance of building safety, including the quality life safety systems and provisions within it.

With this in mind, we’d like to revisit addressable fire alarm systems and their importance. Starting by showing how technology can pinpoint that exact location of a fire enabling prompt action.

In today’s digital world, people often think analogue devices/systems are out of date maybe even old fashioned. Conventional fire alarm systems have indeed been around a while and many businesses today still use them. While newer technologies now exist, conventional fire alarm systems remain a good option in some settings. Afterall they’re highly reliable, cost-effective, and affordable. Especially for small buildings where just one or two zones could cover the entire area.

As these businesses grow so does the risk. The cost of upscaling a conventional fire alarm system can quite easily get out of hand.

This is why more and more small businesses are beginning to consider addressable fire alarm systems from the start. Even more so when the time comes to replace their current conventional fire alarms. You simply cannot ignore the additional benefits the newer ‘addressable’ technology provides.

How best to price up for a new addressable fire alarm system

If you’re considering a new fire alarm system for your business, look at the overall cost of ownership. This will summerise the cost over the lifetime of the system and take into account all maintenance costs. Leaving you to weigh up the lifetime costs and safety considerations for both.

An addressable fire alarm system comprises a series of fire detectors and devices connected back to a central control panel. Each device has a location (an address) within the addressable system. It’s through this smart addressable technology that fires are easily located.

Because the exact location of each device in an addressable fire alarm system is pre-programmed, firefighters know before they arrive precisely where in the building the fire is happening. This allows them to respond more quickly to the fire. However, if you have a conventional system, (unless the area in which the system is protecting is a single room), the firefighters will have to spread out to locate the fire.

“So, without a doubt, addressable fire alarm systems provide a greater level of fire safety because they allow firefighters to respond more quickly and effectively by pinpointing the exact location of a fire in a building.”

The other safety benefits of an addressable fire alarm system are:
  • in the light of a fire happening the system can combine smart notifications,
  • they send supervisory signals with voice messages,
  • they have fewer false alarms, so people act quicker when they do hear them
  • the system provides instructions and evacuation directions to occupants (whereas a conventional system will simply sound the alarm).
  • they require less wiring. The control panel can accommodate far more devices than a conventional system.
  • the systems are scalable and can adapt around any growing business.

Initial Costs and Ongoing Maintenance of an addressable fire alarm system.

The equipment required for conventional systems usually comes in with a much lower price tag, which is why they are still a popular choice for small businesses owners. However, it is wise to look beyond the initial costs. 

Conventional systems may be cheaper to initially buy, but this outlay is very often offset by a much higher installation cost.

Remember, conventional systems require a single circuit for each zone, which can lead to much more complex wiring. It’s much easier to install an addressable fire alarm system, as all the devices are wired into a single loop.

While both types of systems require regular inspections and testing, troubleshooting and maintenance is easier and less expensive with an addressable fire alarm system. With independently wired zones in a conventional system, each device must be checked separately to find the problematic device. Addressable systems can send maintenance alerts and trouble signals to the control panel to make finding problematic devices and getting them repaired or replaced much faster.

If you’d like further information on the LAN Control Systems, Nimbus addressable fire alarm system, or fire alarms in general please contact our sales team on email or alternatively give us a call on 03300 417 170 (option 1).