Difference Between Addressable And Conventional Fire Alarm Systems

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Fatalities and dire losses to collateral and property attributed to fires have led to a lot of introspection with regard to fire safety and protocol for businesses, homeowners, and even institutions.

According to a report by Industrial Safety Review, an average of 25,000 people die every year as a result of fires. What’s worse is that the report also revealed that approximately 42 women and 21 men die due to fires in India on a daily basis. Although there is no conclusive and validated data on the economic losses attributed to fires in India, the fatalities itself are enough to alert the population to take fire safety more seriously. In the light of these dangerous situations and also to abide by the stringent code and regulations laid down by the governing bodies, one must be aware of the different kinds of fire alarms. But first, it is important to understand what a fire alarm is. A fire alarm is a device that links various different fire-detecting devices to the central control panel. At a broad level, there are two types of fire alarm systems – one is addressable fire alarm system and second is the conventional fire alarm system.

In this blog, let’s delve deeper to get a better understanding of these vital systems. Here are some of the differentiating points when it comes to addressable and conventional alarm systems.

The Functioning

Simply put, with addressable systems, since every fire detecting device has its own address, one is able to pinpoint the precise location of the fire in a large building or even a complex. This enables the authorities to act quickly and also triggers control panel systems which may activate sprinklers or whatever the situation would demand. In a conventional system, the devices are connected to the control panel with individual wires. These systems will not be able to pinpoint the exact location of the fire; rather it will give you an idea of where the fire is. This can be dangerous if you are dealing with large complexes or commercial spaces since people may be injured and property will be damaged to a greater extent. Conventional alarms are better suited for small spaces such as retail outlets, single offices, and compact homes.

The Installation

Since each fire detecting device connected to the conventional fire alarm panel needs its own individual wire, the installation process is tedious and time-consuming. On the other hand, addressable systems are wired with one wire which loops and connects all the devices to the panel. Since there is just one cable in question, the addressable systems are easier to install in comparison. This also means that the addressable fire alarm systems can be installed in a shorter time.

The Purpose

In most scenarios, addressable alarms exist to help to pinpoint the exact location of the fire so as to save time and resources. Conventional alarm panels exist to simply raise the alarm. For small establishments, since the space is so small, pinpointing the exact location becomes redundant. In the case of small premises, the ease of evacuation and identification of the fire makes a conventional system substantial for the structure.

The Scale

The deciding factor between whether or not to go with an addressable fire alarm system or a conventional one is scale. It all boils down to how many rooms need to be covered. For example, for single rooms, the fire can be identified easily and action can be taken immediately. So there is no real requirement for an addressable system. The complex installation is compensated with a lower price point, and the safety of people and property is not compromised. In this case, a conventional alarm will do just fine. In larger building housing a lot of people would require addressable fire alarm panels because there would be a devastating state of affairs if the authorities are not alerted in time. When it comes to large buildings, addressable fire alarm systems are a must.

The Costs

The addressable system is quicker and easier to install and can save a lot of lives and resources because of the precision. These systems are more expensive. In the case of conventional systems, they require extensive wiring, a lot of testing and also come with a high cost in labor. The price of these systems is lower than the addressable ones.

So in conclusion, the most notable difference would most definitely be scale. When it comes to fire alarm systems, the scale is almost always the deciding factor and is what sets a conventional fire alarm system apart from an addressable one. While addressable alarms may be the need of the hour for larger commercial spaces, conventional ones may work just fine for smaller spaces.


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