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FIRE ALARM & FIRE FIGHTING SYSTEMS


TRAINING
Level: ENTRY LEVEL
Objectives: To familiarize the trainee with the basics of Fire Alarm Systems so that the
final of the training to know:

The purpose of the F.A. Systems


The principle of Operation
Kinds of F.A. Systems
The component parts of F.A. Systems
Optical Smoke Detector and Heat Detector how its working.

The purpose of the F.A. 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 detectors, heat detectors or flame detectors to detect the outbreak of fire and to
alert building occupants and the fire brigade. Manual call points which allow an occupant
who discovers fire to raise the alarm may also be included in the system.

The principle of Operation


The primary purpose of a fire indicator panel is to monitor each circuit, zone or point
for any condition (alarm signal or other abnormal condition); display the status of that condition
and to operate any required output or outputs according to the approved design of the system.
These outputs are typically for the purpose of warning occupants on a fire alarm signal, notify
the fire brigade, control the spread of heat, smoke or fire; or used for a wide variety of other
purposes.
Before going any further its important to define a couple of terms used here, to provide
both context and explanation of their meaning:
Circuit
A circuit comprises an unbroken path (a pair of wires) along which an electric current exists or is
intended or able to flow. In fire alarm terms this generally means the wiring connecting one or
more detectors to the fire panel.

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Zone
A zone is a group of one or more detectors grouped by their common location or in the case of a
collective circuit all of the detectors on that circuit.

Another way to describe a zone is one of the following:


one or more detectors on an single collective circuit.
one or more detectors, in a common location, defined in software on an addressable
circuit.

In brief, the alarm items (detectors or manual call points) grouped by zones are connected
using the circuit(s) to the fire indicator panel (FACP Fire Alarm Control Panel).
FACP (Fire alarm Control Panel):
monitor each circuit / zone
display the status of these
warning in case of circuit trouble
operate according to the approved design of the system:
warning occupants on a fire alarm signal
notify the fire brigade
control the spread of heat, smoke or fire

Kinds of Fire Alarm Systems


There are generally two types of fire alarm systems:
1. Conventional (Collective)

2. Addressable

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On very simple terms, a Conventional (Collective) Fire Alarm System is one that
comprises one or more circuits, with detectors connected in parallel. An alarm
signal is received at the fire panel when the current on a circuit increases due to the
alarm operation of one of the detectors on that circuit. In modern detectors there is may
also be fitted an alarm status indication, often a light emitting diode or LED. One of the
limitations of a Conventional (Collective) Fire Alarm System is that the control panel is
unable to identify the status of each detector of the circuit. Another way to describe
this is that the control panel is only able to display the alarm or fault status of a
circuit, not each detector on the circuit.

The alternative is an addressable fire alarm system that comprises one or more
circuits with detectors connected in parallel, and each detector (or manual call
point) has a unique identification (address) on the circuit, so when the detector (or
manual call point) send his status to the FACP, it send also his identification
number . When the conditions for an alarm signal are satisfied at the detector (or
manual call point), an alarm signal is transmitted via the circuit to the fire indicator panel.
In an addressable system, each detector has the ability to identify itself and its
current status. Over the years, the level of sophistication of detectors and systems has
greatly increased. This includes collecting more information about the conditions
surrounding each detector including the many bi-products of combustion and other
environmental factors.

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Addressable Fire Alarm System (example).

The component parts of Fire Alarm Systems

Central Unit (Fire Alarm Control Panel)


Conventional (Collective)
Addressable
Circuits (usually a pair of wires for each zone in Conventional Systems or a pair of
wires looped In Addressable Systems)
Sensing ( initiating) devices
Manual Call Points, Break Glass Stations.
Detectors:
Smoke detectors (Optical and Ionization)
Heat detectors
Carbon Monoxide detectors
Multisensor detectors
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Warning (notification) devices


Audible or / and visible appliances (bells, combo bell and strobe)
Interfaces
To notifying
Directly to fire brigade (using land line or a GSM module)
The building Fire Command Center
To control the devices designed to spread of heat, smoke or fire

A. Fire Alarm Control Panels (example)

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B. Initiating devices.

1. Break Glass Station (Manual Call Point)

2. Optical Smoke Detector

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3. Heat Detector

4. Carbon Monoxide Detector

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5. Multisensor Detector

C. Warning (notification) Devices

1. Sounder

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2. Combined (Combo) Alarm Device

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How the detectors working (optical and heat detector)

1. The Optical Smoke Detector

The Infra-Red LED emits a burst of collimated light every second. In clear air the Photo-Diode
receives no light directly from the IR LED, because of the angular arrangement and the
chamber baffles. When smoke enters the chamber it scatters light from the emitter IR LED onto
the photo-diode in an amount related to the smoke characteristics and density. The photo-diode
signal is processed to provide an analogue value for transmission when the detector is
interrogated.

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2. The Heat Detector

The Heat Detector uses a single thermistor to sense the air temperature at the detector position.
The thermistor is connected in a resistor network, which produces a voltage output dependent
on temperature. The design of the resistor network, together with the processing algorithm in
the microcontroller, gives an approximately linear characteristic from 10C to 80C. This
linearised signal is further processed, depending on the response mode selected, and
converted to an analogue output. This output signal is sent to the FACP when the detector is
interrogated, triggering the status from the STAND BY level to the ALLARM level.

March 2015

Prepared by:
Nicolae Radulea
Supervisor

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