Poorly designed and installed fire alarms can be nerve racking at best, at their worst they can also be an expensive liability; disturbing a good night’s sleep, interrupting production and generally being an unwelcome nuisance.
At Black Box Security we can straighten-out the worst offenders and often do it with a minimum of disruption and expense.
What are the causes of most of these false alarms?
They can be split into two camps, the erroneous and the malicious. Erroneous alarms come mainly from automatic detectors that are being deceived by things like steam, dust and aerosols. Malicious alarms are caused by people deliberately setting off the fire alarm system to cause disruption; this is most common in public buildings and schools.
The feel of bad design: Be sure to keep all of the steam inside the bathroom.
Why are my detectors deceiving me?
Quite often the use of a building changes and the fire alarm stays the same. For example, what may once have been an office might become a kitchen or a high bay warehouse may have a new mezzanine installed. The new layout may have introduced phenomena that the detectors are not capable of filtering out, such as dust blown into a warehouse when unloading or even when sweeping up.
Sometimes the answer is just to change the detectors to something that won’t see the dust, but often this means losing the sensitivity that you need to see the fire at an early stage before any damage is done. Fortunately we can supply the solution to just this problem without losing the sensitivity or needing expensive panel and cable changes.
I’m suffering from detector based false alarms, what can I do?
If you have a conventional system (typically these just have LED lights on the front, not a digital display) then we can replace the detectors with powerful Siemens ASA detectors which can cure most false alarm problems even in difficult areas.
If you have an addressable system (which usually have a digital display) then we may be able to replace the offending detectors with something more appropriate, or in some cases keep them and re-programme their parameters.
I’m suffering from malicious alarms, can this be fixed?
Yes, although malicious alarms are more difficult to deal with we can supply special call point covers with breakable seals, alarms and other devices to deter repeat offenders. In some cases we can even change the call points to only be triggered with a key.
For very difficult areas, key operated call points. Image courtesty of KAC.
Remember that your fire alarm is there to help and not hinder you – give us a call about your worst performing system we probably have just the solution.