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Modern technology has led to the creation of many high-quality types of fire alarm equipment, from the very basic to quite complex. From simple home fire protection such as smoke detectors to intricate monitoring systems, there are many different types available for residential, commercial, and industrial use. The basic home smoke detector is a good example of simple fire alarm equipment, but there are numerous and more elaborate options, devices, and systems.
Basic fire alarm equipment is generally made up of two units: input devices and output devices. Input means the unit is receiving some sort of information, such as when smoke reaches the smoke detector. Output is the response of the fire alarm equipment to that information, such as the warning sound emitted by the smoke detector when smoke is present.
Of course, in larger structures, fire alarm equipment is often required to do more than simply send out an alert. The input may be different as well, such as notable fire conditions other than smoke, including heat. The output in such cases may be alerting the fire station and other first responders to the potential danger, as well as several other tasks. Fire alarm equipment can be programmed to do many things such as turning on sprinklers, turning off machinery, stopping the use of elevators, turning on generators, and triggering alarms elsewhere in the complex, in addition to sounding the original alarm.
The term "fire alarm annunciator" may not be familiar, but it is another term for the control panel. The annunciator helps monitor other fire alarm equipment and analyze information offered by other devices in the fire protection system. By determining where the fire is located, how severe it is, or if there is a real fire, an annunciator can help minimize panic, avoid full evacuation if unnecessary, and help the person in charge decide if the emergency can be contained or if outside help is required.
Some types of fire alarm equipment are offered in more aesthetically pleasing styles instead of the big, shiny, red boxes one typically pictures. While they may be more attractive in appearance, they may not be readily recognized as emergency devices, such as fire alarm pull stations. If this is the case, it is important that the devices be appropriately labeled as well as being clearly marked on maps of the premises.