Understanding How Different Types of Fire Alarm Systems Work

If you are looking to install a fire alarm system in your building, there are many different types that you can choose from. However, what type is best for your needs depends on a few things.

First, you need to understand how fire alarm systems work. It is necessary since it will allow you to choose the kind of fire alarm system best for your building.

Call Points

Fire alarm call points are an essential part of fire alarm systems. They can be triggered by anyone who finds a fire, and they send a signal to the fire system’s control panel, telling it that there is a fire in an area close to the call point.

They should be positioned so that no one needs to travel more than 45 meters from the nearest call point to exit the building. It is essential in care homes where residents may have limited mobility or those who use wheelchairs.

These call points should also be positioned to be visible at all times, so anyone can push them if needed. Generally, they should be located at the same height as the exit doors – no higher than 1.4m but could be reduced to make them accessible for wheelchair users.

If you need more information about manual fire alarm call points or want to install them on your premises, contact a fire alarm system company. They can provide expert advice and help you choose the best call point for your fire alarm system.


Sounders or alarm sounders are a crucial part of any fire alarm system. They ensure that your building has a solid and recognizable fire warning that will alert everyone on the premises in case of a fire. Depending on the type of building, a range of different kinds of sounders can be used. These can include traditional mechanical bell sounders and electronic sounders.

Some fire alarm systems also use flashing lights, known as strobes. These are useful for deaf people and those who may have difficulty hearing the noise of a fire alarm.

These sounders are available in many different shapes, sizes and designs. Some can be battery-powered while others use low voltage mains power.

Control Panel

A commercial fire protection system’s nerve center is the fire alarm control panel (FACP). It monitors and controls several fire detection and notification devices, as well as triggering sprinkler systems if required by the National Fire Protection Association or International Building Code.

In a conventional system, signaling circuits are wired to initiating devices, including smoke detectors, heat detectors, duct detectors and manual call points. When these devices detect a fire or other hazard, an electric signal is sent to the FACP.

When an alarm condition is detected, the FACP indicates this with an indicator, which may be a solid or flashing LED. It also triggers notification appliances, such as horns and strobes, to alert building occupants that they must evacuate the structure.

If the FACP shows a trouble indicator, something isn’t working correctly. It could mean a battery has died in a wireless system, a wire is short-circuited, or something else has gone wrong with the detectors or the entire alarm system.


Fire alarm systems rely on detectors to detect the presence of fire. These types of sensors can be triggered by smoke, heat or manually.

Smoke detectors are sensors that use ionization technology to detect smoke. Ionization technology uses a current that runs between two metal plates within the device. Smoke entering the chamber disturbs the ion flow, which sets off the alarm.

Ionization sensors are more sensitive to flaming fires than photoelectric smoke detectors but are also more expensive.

On the other hand, photoelectric sensors use a beam of light to detect smoke. When smoke passes through the light beam, it scatters the light, and this scattering triggers the alarm.

These sensors are designed to sense smoke from various sources and transmit the alarm signal to a central control panel. They’re best suited for more significant commercial buildings. They may be paired with other devices like call points and sounders.