What Is A Fire Alarm System

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Fire alarm systems are designed to send out a warning if a fire accident has occurred. Generally, they are of three types: Manual fire alarm systems, automatic fire alarm systems and fire alarm systems that are both manual and automatic. Manual fire alarm systems require manual activation in order to send out a warning signal. Automatic fire alarm systems, on the other hand, automatically detect any change in the surroundings caused by fire and send out a warning signal. The third type is one that can be manually or automatically activated.

It is always a good practice to take precautionary measures to prevent a catastrophe from causing major damage. Installing a fire alarm system will help tackle the fire accident, by not allowing the fire to aggravate and thus helps in preventing any further loss. Over a period of time, these systems have been designed to be able to do more than just send out a warning signal. These systems are further classified depending on the purpose and range of space to be covered.

In general, they are categorised as L – used for protecting life, P – used for protecting buildings and M – which are manual systems. Further classifications include the following:

  1. M – As mentioned earlier, these are manual systems, which require the occupants to activate the alarm. This type of fire alarm system does not have the capability of detecting fire.
  2. P1 – Since this is used to protect buildings, it is installed in all parts of the building, except in places with low risk of fire accidents such as cupboards.
  3. P2 – This type of system is installed only in specific parts of buildings, which are highly prone to fire accidents or contain valuable items.
  4. L1 – Since this is used for protection of life, it has automatic detectors, which are installed through out the building. This is typically suitable for residential houses.
  5. L2 – This also has automatic detectors that are installed in areas of houses that are highly prone to fire accidents. This is suitable for medium sized premises.
  6. L3 – This is more suited for buildings. Detectors are placed in all the rooms that lead to the escape routes. Even the escape routes have detectors installed. This gives early warning in order to prevent crowd in escape ways.
  7. L4 – The detectors are primarily installed in escape ways. They may also be installed in other parts, but the main objective is to protect escape ways. This, however, is not suitable for bigger and complex buildings.
  8. L5 – This covers the rest of the parts of building that all of the above categories fail to cover. It can also be referred to as the custom category.


Apart from these categories of fire alarm systems, there are many fire alarm systems available in the market that have different designs. Initiating devices are of manual, which include break glass and buttons; and automatic types, which include heat detectors, smoke detectors, flame detectors etc. The notification appliances are also of different types – audible alarms, visible alarms and olfactory stimuli alarms (which will help in warning blind and deaf people). Some complex fire alarm systems come with voice alarm communication systems, which can be used to manually give instructions or can play pre-recorded messages.