What is a fire alarm control panel and how it works?Mayara
Fire alarm control panels are designed to alert people during an emergency, so they can take action and protect themselves. They are everywhere: factories, grocery stores and office buildings, to name a few places. These are part of our daily surroundings. However, the fire alarm control panel is often overlooked, until you actually need it in action.
How does it works?
There are many methods of detection and initiation that trigger an alarm. It can be via a smoke or heat detector, for example. As a result, once the alarm goes off, there are loud sounds and flashing strobes that will activate to warn people. Some alarm systems also incorporate remote signal monitoring systems, which alert the fire department via a central station.
Everything starts with the fire alarm control panel (FACP), fire alarm control unit (FACU) or simply fire alarm panel (FAP). These panels are the controlling component of the fire alarm system. They receive information from devices designed to detect and report a fire. Additionally, may supply electrical energy to operate any associated initiating device, notification appliance, control, transmitter or relay.
To provide us with a convenient tool to access the entire system, all protection devices can be connected to an alarm control panel. The diversity of functions and capabilities of the modern alarm control panel is truly impressive. There are endless possibilities to achieve.
Why do you need a fire alarm control panel?
A fire alarm control panel’s primary purpose is to keep a property safe and secure, including both assets and individuals. Its activation happens by linking the network to different security and life-safety devices that control the building in various ways. In conclusion, each system will do its job for full protection.
The fire alarm control panel is the hub of this setup and manages the status of any device in its network. Therefore, if the user needs to add or delete a device they will do so via their control panel. This is how the system works:
- A smoke detector or manual call point will send a signal to a control panel in the event of a fire;
- Then, a fire sprinkler systems can also send a signal to the panel when water starts flowing;
- In effect, the fire alarm control panel responds to any of these signals. It triggers strobes or make noises, sending a signal to fire officials.
In contrast to building control systems and safety systems, fire panels may be integrated. During such cases, a fire panel’s role takes priority over other systems. If an access control system locks down certain outer doors in a building due to an external security threat, that command would need to be overridden in the event of a fire evacuation, for example.
Types of fire alarm control units
Like fire alarm systems, the fire alarm control units are often classified as “conventional” or “addressable”. Conventional panels represent a building as a series of regions known as detection zones.
The electrical current to the fire alarm panel varies when a smoke detector triggers in an area. Then, the control panel shows a system activation somewhere in that section.
Devices connected to an addressable panel send data to the board and displaying which system has triggered. Each device has a unique system “address,” hence the “addressable” panel name. The extra level of detail helps first responders to identify the exact location of a fire more quickly and take appropriate action.
Conventional Fire Alarm
Both standard fire alarm systems and their modules are connected together to a control panel for fire alarm. When these components are active, the control panel displays a signal. These types of systems are cheap and work well in small installations. Each device connects to the control panel via its own wire with a conventional alarm.
Although, there is no way to identify the exact location of a fire in this traditional method. The best you can do is to get a general idea of where the fire is. You can do that by linking the building to different zones. For example, you could wire zone 1 and zone 2 for first and second floor. So you would know where to go.
Addressable Fire Alarm
The most common type of system is the addressable fire alarm and its elements have unique individual identifiers. When one of the components triggers, it shows the address of the element on the fire alarm table. Large facilities use these systems a lot because they can quickly identify the source of the trouble signal.
Typically, addressable fire alarm panels are much more advanced than their traditional counterparts. It has a greater degree of flexibility in programming and single point detection. This panel is computer-like and sometimes the firmware (panel software) can trigger problems. It is not common, however, and the advantages of smart panels far outweigh all of these firmware problems.
The majority of panels will perform drills, silence other alerts and share certain design features. Fire alarm control panels feature pre-alarm indications, in order to reduce the rate of false alarms. Therefore, these light up when a monitoring device activates, giving staff the opportunity to check the area before the sound of alarms.
What are repeater panels?
A repeater panel displays information from the main fire panel. When it can only display information, but not provide controls, it is called a passive repeater panel.
In fact, there are two types of repeater panels on the market. Firstly, the passive repeater panel and, secondly, the active panel. As an active repeater board, this repeater can provide details on this type of panel.
Controls available in the repeater panel
Usually, in the repeater panel, you will have some controls such as reset, siren research, display events log or mute. Silencers may, without constant noise, allow emergency personnel or fire equipment installers to perform their work. Panels can also allow drilling and monitoring for damaged or malfunctioning devices.
Which buildings need a fire alarm control panel?
Fire panels are a component of fire alarm system installation and many types of buildings need them. The National Fire Protection Association details which buildings require fire alarm systems in two volumes:
- NFPA 101: Life Safety Code.
- NFPA 5000: Building Construction and Safety Code.
The International Building Code (IBC) also sets out similar requirements. The IBC codes set different building standards and specify what kind of fire alarm control unit is required.
Speak with a fire alarm installation company to help you decide which type of system would work best in your facility. They will evaluate your building and work with the authorities to keep you safe.
They will also follow the codes and determine which components are needed in your facility. A fire & life safety firm can ensure that all local requirements and NFPA standards are met by your new fire alarm system.
At The Fire Alarm Supplier we have everything you need to build your Fire Alarm System! Our staff would certainly be happy to help you find the perfect system for you!
Strong relationships with manufacturers and suppliers, gave us the opportunity to have some of the most competitive prices on the market. So, please, don’t hesitate in contacting us at any time. Customer services is one of our priorities, also the great prices.