What are the main components of a Fire Alarm System?

A Fire Alarm System consists of the fire alarm control panel (FACP), initiating devices, notification devices, input/output modules, and other auxiliary equipment. All these devices are connected to the Fire Alarm Control Panel, which acts as the heart of the fire alarm system where monitoring and control occurs. A Fire Alarm system is best represented in a single line riser diagram. The below schematic shows an addressable Fire Alarm System:

System Architecture

Main Components

1. FACP

The Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP) contains the main electronic board where all the other components of the system connect to. It serves as a central point for monitoring and control.

2. Initiating Devices

From their name, initiating devices send a fire signal to the panel in case of fire. They comprise the different types of fire alarm detectors (e.g. smoke detectors, heat detectors etc..) and pull stations or manual call points. The fire detectors work in an automatic way triggering a fire signal to the panel when a fire is detected, while pull stations or call points need to be operated manually. Usually, the detectors initiate a delayed response, while pull stations or call points initiate an immediate response.

3. Notification Devices

From their name, notification devices notify the occupants in case of fire. The notification can be either visual or audible or both. They comprise bells, strobes, sirens and speakers. Bells and sirens are audible notification devices, while strobes carry a visual notification. Speakers carry a message and enable the operator of the fire alarm system to guide occupants their way out of the building in case of fire.

4. Input/Output Modules

The fire alarm system interacts with other devices present in the premise. To be able to do that, I/O Modules are used. Input modules, also called monitoring modules, input signals from other devices to the fire panel, e.g. from an extinguishing fire panel. On the other hand, output modules, also called control modules, control other devices, e.g. the lifts in the building.

The above items comprise the main components of any fire alarm system. Additional components may include annunciators, repeaters, power supplies, printers, communication modules, and fire telephone

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