Fire Detection Alarm Systems and Equipment in Buildings

Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm Systems

Automatic fire detection and alarm systems are designed to warn building occupants of a fire situation, they do not generally intervene in the fire growth process except where interfaced with a fire suppression or other fire control system.

These systems generally use smoke, heat or flame detectors to detect the outbreak of fire and to alert building occupants and the fire service. Manual call points which allow an occupant who discovers fire to raise the alarm may also be included in the system.

Single station residential smoke alarms, as installed in most homes, are the simplest system for detecting a fire and warning the building occupants.

The time between the outbreak of fire and the commencement of fire fighting is the single most important factor in fire control and can be effectively reduced by having the system monitored directly by the fire service.

Fire alarm systems must be heard by the building occupants in all parts of the building. To achieve this, they are often connected to occupant evacuation warning and intercommunication systems which sound a defined ‘beep - beep – beep’ throughout the building when the detection system has been activated.

Sometimes these systems automatically close smoke and fire doors, operate flashing warning lights, stop air-conditioning systems or alert critical staff via personal pagers. Today these systems extensively rely upon computer systems and are changing at the same rapid pace as is computer technology. Today's systems can be "intelligent" defining exactly where the fire is, determining if the smoke is from a fire threat or just burnt toast and advising the maintenance manager when the detector needs cleaning or other routine maintenance work is required.

For further discussion or advice on this matter, please contact the Community Safety and Resilience Department.

The following documents are recommended further reading for guidance and information:-

  • The National Construction Code Volume 1 Building Code of Australia Class 2 to Class 9 Buildings
  • The National Construction Code Volume 2 Building Code of Australia Class 1 and Class 10 Buildings
  • Australian Standard 1670 Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems - System design installation and commissioning
  • Australian Standard 1851 Maintenance of fire protection equipment

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