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Fire Detection and Suppression

Chapter 2
Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems


The early detection of a fire and the signaling of an appropriate alarm remain the most significant factors in preventing large losses from occurring.

2-1

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Standards and Codes


Component tests by nationally recognized labs
Underwriters Laboratories Factory Mutual

Codes
NFPA 70, National Electrical Code NPFA 72, The National Fire Alarm Code

Local codes and ordinances

2-2

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Basic System Components


System control unit (alarm panel)
Brain of system Processes alarm signals from actuating devices and transmits them to the local or other alerting system

2-3

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Power supply

Basic System Components (cont.)


Primary power supply
Public electric utility Engine-driven generator

Secondary power supply


Storage battery and charger Engine-driven generator and 4-hour storage battery Multiple engine-driven generators

Trouble signal power supply


2-4 Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Basic System Components (cont.)


Initiating devices: manual pull stations, heat detectors, smoke detectors, flame detectors, waterflow devices, tamper switches, and combination detectors
Notification appliances: bells, buzzers, horns, recorded voice messages, strobe lights, speakers, and other warning appliances Auxiliary services
2-5 Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Types of Fire Alarm Systems


Selection factors
Level of life-safety hazard Structural features of the building

Level of hazard presented by the contents of the building


Availability of fire suppression resources

State and local code requirements


(Continued)

2-6

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Types of Fire Alarm Systems (cont.)


Local system

Noncoded local alarm


Simultaneous operation of all alarm-indicating devices Only practical in small occupancies with limited number of rooms Serves the premises as a local control unit and receives input from other fire alarm control units Used in occupancies that use the alarm signals for other purposes
(Continued)

Master coded local alarm


2-7

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Types of Fire Alarm Systems


Local system (cont.)
Zoned/annunciated alarm
Identifies fire location quickly and accurately Alarm-initiating devices arranged in circuits or zones Initiating device sounds alarm and lights corresponding lamp on control unit Annunciator panel remote from control panel Coded signals
(Continued)

Presignal alarm

2-8

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Types of Fire Alarm Systems (cont.)


Auxiliary system
Facility that receives signals where personnel are always present to respond
Initiation devices Local requirements and policies Local energy system Shunt system Parallel telephone system
(Continued)

Types of auxiliary systems

2-9

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Types of Fire Alarm Systems (cont.)


Remote station system
Connected to dispatch center by means other than municipal fire alarm box system Local alarm capability Monitoring options
(Continued)

2-10

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Types of Fire Alarm Systems (cont.)


Proprietary system
Used to protect large buildings or facilities Systems for individual buildings or areas wired into common receiving point Wide-ranging capabilities
(Continued)

2-11

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Types of Fire Alarm Systems (cont.)


Central station system
Similar to proprietary system but receiving point is an outside, contracted central station Alarm activation information received by central station employees, who initiate emergency response
(Continued)

2-12

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Types of Fire Alarm Systems (cont.)


Emergency voice/alarm communications system
Supplements other systems

Communicates detailed information to occupants and fire fighting personnel


One-way/two-way

2-13

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Manual Alarm-Initiating Devices


General requirements
Mounting and distribution Generally not required in fully sprinklered structures Outmoded broken glass pull stations

Coded versus noncoded pull stations

Single-action and double-action pull stations

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Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Automatic Alarm-Initiating Devices


Continuously monitor atmosphere
Four basic types
Heat detectors

Smoke detectors
Fire-gas detectors Flame detectors

2-15

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Heat Detectors
Fixed temperature heat detectors
Fusible links/frangible bulbs Continuous line detector Bimetallic detector

Rate-of-rise heat detector


Pneumatic rate-of-rise spot detector (Fig. 2.34) Pneumatic rate-of-rise line detector (Fig. 2.35)

Rate compensated detector (Fig. 2.36)


Thermoelectric detector
2-16 Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Smoke Detectors
Photoelectric smoke detector
Projected beam (Fig. 2.37) Refractory photocell (Fig. 2.38)

Ionization smoke detector (Fig. 2.39)


Dual chamber Air-sampling smoke detectors
Cloud chamber (Fig. 2.40) Second type (Fig. 2.41)
(Continued)

2-17

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Smoke Detectors (cont.)


Limitations
May not provide early warning of a fire developing on another level of a building May not detect fire developing on the other side of a closed door May not be effective when fire is caused by explosions resulting from careless housekeeping

2-18

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Flame Detectors
Types
Ultraviolet (UV) Fig. (2.42a) Infrared (IR) Fig. (2.42b)

Fast to respond
Frequent false alarms

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Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Fire Gas Detectors


Monitors levels of gases released by combustion
Carbon dioxide

Carbon monoxide

Faster than heat detectors but slower than smoke detectors

2-20

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Combination Detectors
Various possible combinations
Fixed rate/rate-of-rise detectors Heat/smoke detectors

Smoke/fire gas detectors

Offer benefits of both systems and increase responsiveness to fire conditions

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Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Acceptance Testing
Should be observe by representatives of building owner, fire department, system installer, and system manufacturer.
All functions of the fire detection and signaling system should be operated:
All alarm-indicating and alarm-initiating devices Restorable heat detectors

Response of outside entities responsible for monitoring the system


2-22 Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

General Inspections
Fire department participation
Checkpoints
Condition of wiring and batteries

All equipment free of foreign materials


Adequate clearance around system control units, recording instruments, and other devices

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Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Inspecting and Service Testing Initiating Devices (cont.)


Manual alarm-initiating devices Automatic alarm-initiating devices
Detectors must not be damaged or painted. Replace or send the following detectors to a recognized testing laboratory for testing:

2-24

Detectors on systems that are being restored to service after a period of disuse Detectors that are obviously corroded
(Continued) Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Inspecting and Service Testing Initiating Devices (cont.)


Automatic alarm-initiating devices
Replace or send the following detectors to a recognized testing laboratory for testing (cont.):
Detectors that have been painted over, even if attempts were made to clean them
Detectors that have been mechanically damaged or abused

Detectors on circuits that were subjected to current surges, overvoltages, or lightning strikes
(Continued) 2-25 Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Inspecting and Service Testing Initiating Devices (cont.)


Automatic alarm-initiating devices
Replace or send the following detectors to a recognized testing laboratory for testing (cont.):
Detectors subjected to foreign substances that might affect their operation Detectors subjected to either direct flame, excessive heat, or smoke damage

Testing

2-26

Nonrestorable Restorable
Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Inspecting System Control Units


Control panel switches and functions
Auxiliary devices Receiving signals

2-27

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

System Testing Timetables


Local systems: local guidelines Central station systems: monthly Auxiliary systems: monthly (noncoded fire alarm boxes: monthly) Remote station and proprietary systems: authority having jurisdiction Emergency voice/alarm systems: quarterly NOTE: In all cases, check the most current edition of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code.

2-28

Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Record Keeping
Maintaining Files and Records
Documents:
Inspection reports, forms, and letters Violation notices Summonses Plans review comments, approvals, and drawings Fire reports Investigations Permits and certificates issued
(Continued)

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Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Record Keeping
Maintaining Files and Records (cont.)
Occupancies:
Those that have been issued a permit, certificate, or license Those that contain automatic fire suppression or detection systems Those that conduct hazardous operations or routinely house hazardous materials

Duration: life of structure Public record


(Continued) 2-30 Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Record Keeping (cont.)


Written records
File for each inspected property Cataloging and storage

Electronic records
Two primary methods of entering data:
Inspectors use laptop computers or handheld electronic data recording equipment during the inspection. Inspectors use written forms during the inspection and then enter the information upon returning to the office.
(Continued) 2-31 Fire Detection and Signaling Systems

Record Keeping (cont.)


Electronic records (cont.)
Considerations in computer system management
How will the information be filed? How can the information be retrieved? What portion of the information will be stored in a read-only format? What personnel will be given access to retrieve information from the system? What information can be released to the public?

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Fire Detection and Signaling Systems