Understanding Your Commercial Fire Alarm Options

As a business owner, one of the things you need to prioritize is your company and employees' safety. Commercial fire alarm systems are mandatory according to most building codes, but that doesn't mean you should install just anything. Here are a few things you should know before you settle on the fire alarm system that's right for your business.

What Types Of Alarm Systems Are There?

There are two primary types of commercial fire alarms, and knowing the differences can help you determine which one is right for you.

Photoelectric alarm systems are designed to identify slow-burning fires, smoldering embers, and similar risks. They use an LED sensor system that, when disrupted by smoke across the LED beam, triggers the alarm system. The smoke will scatter the light beam, sending some of that light into the sensor, which is what activates the alarm. These are an ideal system when you're worried about smaller fires that don't necessarily cause big flames. In addition, since they can be triggered by smoldering fires, they can help to identify a fire risk before it actually becomes a severe danger.

Ionization alarms are different. They are designed to react more effectively to flames and more intense fires. They rely on a radioactive material placed between two electrodes. The electrodes ionize the air. When smoke from a fire enters the chamber between the electrodes, it interferes with the ion flow, triggering the alarm. These are highly effective at triggering alarms for significant fires, but are not as efficient as a photoelectric unit.

If you're having trouble choosing one over the other, your fire alarm installation company may be able to create an alarm system that combines the two.

What Else Should You Consider When Choosing A Fire Alarm System?

While your first priority should always be how effective the type of system is, there are other things you'll want to think about.

Your budget is a key component. The right fire alarm system is one that you can afford to have installed, maintained, and monitored. Make sure you know how much you can afford to spend before you start shopping.

Your monitoring needs are important. Having a fire alarm system installed is essential, but if you aren't having it monitored at all times, you may still risk problems. Contact a fire alarm system company like Eastern Fire to learn about what types of monitoring contracts are available for your company's alarm system. That way, you can be sure someone's watching it even when there's nobody in the building.