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Conventional fire detection

As you will agree, fire detection is important to prevent injury, serious damage and potential loss of business and/or property whilst alerting building occupiers.

Conventional fire detection systems generally utilise manual call points (MCP) and/or automatic fire detection (AFD) depending on system category. AFD devices are used to detect smoke, heat or a combination of both. MCPs require manual operation. All devices are hard-wired using fire retardant cabling (wireless systems are available) from a conventional control panel generally located in the vicinity of the entrance to the property.

Each wired circuit of detection is known as a zone which is generally configured to offer protection to a specific area(s) of a building. A conventional fire alarm system can be any number of zones which should be indicated on a ‘zone plan’.

There are a number of drawbacks with using conventional detection and control equipment. One example is the activation of a zone would require inspection of all devices in the relevant area of the activation to identify which device(s) caused the activation; not ideal if searching a large building.

Large multiple zones systems can be costly in cabling. All individual zones are cabled from the fire control panel where a 12-zone system would require at least 14 cables, including sounder circuits, being terminated at the fire control panel which may not be the most aesthetic option if the control panel is situated in a reception area. Also, to isolate a problematic device would require either removal of the device or the complete zone being isolated. Consideration must be taken if isolating a zone as this particular isolated zone could offer protection to crucial areas and a large proportion of the building which may affect your insurance.

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