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How do I Choose the Best Commercial Fire Alarm?

Patrick Wensink
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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In order to choose the best commercial fire alarm, you must be familiar with the demands and limits of your property. When considering a business or home fire alarm, you need to concern yourself with only four primary areas. Knowing about manual and automatic alarms, their methods for detecting fires, their power supplies and their controls will allow you to dial in the perfect combination for your building.

When finding a commercial fire alarm, the first major question to tackle is whether to go manual or automatic. A manual alarm sounds only when a fire alarm pull station, a little glass-encased lever, is pulled. An automatic fire alarm is always working and instantly signals when it detects smoke or fire. For home and business use, a manual alarm leaves too much to chance, so in most cases, an automatic alarm will best protect people and property from damage.

An automatic commercial fire alarm comes in two distinct detection types, and you must consider your priorities before selecting one. A photoelectric alarm uses a light beam to detect when smoke is present in a room before sounding its signal. An ionization alarm goes off when it detects the particles that are present in combustion. A home or office commercial fire alarm usually is the photoelectric kind and is perfect for preventing the hazards of inhaling smoke. If the property that you are trying to protect often has smoke, such as a restaurant kitchen, you will want to choose the ionization alarm for its ability to detect only fires.

The power supply for a commercial fire alarm also is a crucial decision. The most popular type of home fire protection is from a battery-powered alarm because they usually are small and inexpensive. Alarms that feed off a building's power supply tend to cost more. In addition, you need to weigh the risks of needing to change batteries versus dealing with power outages when making your decision.

Finally, you must consider how you want to control a sounding alarm. More complex systems provide a control panel that usually alerts a fire department and informs you where the fire is located on the property. Simpler home alarms can be turned off by fanning the system until the smoke clears from the photoelectric sensor or by pressing a button. The control panel system usually is less desirable for small buildings because it is much more complicated and expensive than the alternative.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Patrick Wensink
By Patrick Wensink
Patrick Wensink, a bestselling novelist and nonfiction writer, captivates readers with his engaging style across various genres and platforms. His work has been featured in major publications, including attention from The New Yorker. With a background in communication management, Wensink brings a unique perspective to his writing, crafting compelling narratives that resonate with audiences.
Discussion Comments
By anon118353 — On Oct 14, 2010

Commercial places always have large crowds, hence fire hazards can affect more at commercial places. We should be careful while purchasing fire alarms systems for commercial places and always prefer reliable and well known sources like our fire alarm installer.

Patrick Wensink
Patrick Wensink
Patrick Wensink, a bestselling novelist and nonfiction writer, captivates readers with his engaging style across various...
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