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Fire detection systems are designed to discover fires early in their development when time will still be available for
the safe evacuation of occupants. Early detection also plays a significant role in protecting the safety of emergency
response personnel. Property loss can be reduced and downtime for the operation minimized through early detection
because control efforts are started while the fire is still small. Most alarm systems provide information to emergency
responders on the location of the fire, speeding the process of fire control.

1. What are the basics of FDAS?

The basic fire detection and alarm system consists of the following:

 Fire Alarm Control Panel, the center of the system that controls the functions of the system.

 Small to Medium Systems

Small to medium Fire Detection and Alarm Systems are usually identified as those systems having a single
control panel for the system without remote control panels, the system may have notification extender
power supplies to support the notification appliances required. The number of initiating devices is
relatively low, from less than 50 devices for a small system and a few hundred devices for a medium
system. Buildings are usually less than five stories in height for medium size systems.

 Large Systems

Large systems may have several hundred initiating devices and extensive output functions and notification
appliances. The fire detection and alarm system may be configured to serve buildings and complexes of all
sizes. Large systems may be configured in several ways depending on the local conditions whether the
system is being installed as the building is being constructed or if it is being installed to replace an older
system that has reached the end of its useful life.


 Sytem Configurations

o Central Control
A central system has all of the control equipment installed in a single location. Prior to the introduction of
intelligent systems the conventional systems were installed in this manner. All of the wiring for the system
started in this location, for large systems this could be a significant number of circuits and require a good
deal of space to contain the system. The cost of installing all of the control equipment in one location and
running the wiring to all of the devices in a large structure may have a significant impact on the overall
project cost. Limitations in the wire lengths also must be considered for large systems, losses in wire runs
can compromise the system functionality.

o Distributed Control Equipment Design

With the introduction to more sophisticated design components the distributed system became possible.
This configuration allowed the control equipment to be installed in several locations in the building
connecting the remote located panels with communications circuits and allowing the notification and
initiating circuits to originate from the remote locations. These distributed systems were less costly to
install and did not require the large amount of space in one location to install. Distributed systems have a
master slave relationship between the main control panel and the remote panels, a failure in the
communications path between the main panel and the remote panels will cause the remote panels to go into
a degrade mode of operation.

o Networked Control Equipment Design

Networked systems are similar to the distributed system but are a network of complete independent systems
that work together rather than a distribution of a single system. Networked systems may also employ the
remote panels as the distributed system and be a hybrid of the two configurations to meet the requirement of
large complex buildings or campus sites. The integrity of a networked system to provide service to large
buildings is improved in that a failure in one portion of the network of systems does not impact the
performance of other portions of the system.

o Networked/Distributed Equipment Design

Networked/Distributed Equipment is a combination of the networked and distributed system configuration
where there are multiple systems networked together and each of the systems may have remote control

 Initiating Devices, the devices that provide the input to the control panel when they are activated.

A circuit to which automatic or manual initiating devices are connected where the signal received does not
identify the individual device operated. The initiating device circuits are used in conventional systems to
connect the initiating devices to the control panel. The supervision of the IDC is similar to the NAC
(Notification Appliance Circuit) circuits in that they use and end-of-line device and the control panel
monitors the circuit current. The initiating devices are designed to apply a short to the circuit in the alarm
state so in the case of the IDC a wire to wire short would result in an alarm condition for the circuit. An
open or ground on the circuit would result in a trouble condition at the control panel.


 Notification Appliances, the devices that notify the occupants of a building of the fire condition.

The notification appliance circuits are the supervised circuits the notification appliances are connected to.
These circuits operate on the reversed polarity method where the polarity of the voltage applied to the circuit
in the supervisory mode is reversed in the alarm mode. The devices have internal components that prevent
the supervisory voltage from operating the devices in this mode. This supervision method uses an end-of-
line (EOL) device, connected to the circuit to establish a path for the supervisory voltage to return to the
panel. This state is called the supervisory condition and the voltage applied to the circuit and the electronic
component results in a current of a specific value to be measured by the control panel. If the current is
outside of a specified range the control panel indicates a trouble condition for that circuit. This may occur if
the circuit opens and the current drops to zero or it the circuit has a wire to wire short and the current goes
above the expected range or the circuit has a ground applied and the current changes outside of the expected

The notification appliance circuits are designed to support a limited amount of current on the circuit and the
number of notification appliances that may be connected to a circuit is dependent on the appliance and the
current and voltage requirements for proper operation. When designing a NAC the total current and the
voltage drop of the circuit must be considered to ensure that the devices will operate under the worst case
conditions expected.


 Primary and Secondary Power Supplies

Fire detection and alarm systems are supplied with two power sources to improve the reliability of the
system. The system monitors the primary power and if the voltage falls below a designated value the system
automatically switches to the secondary supply and indicates at the control panel that the primary power has
failed. If the primary power fails and the secondary power supply is the battery back up portion of the
system it must be able to supply power for the system operation for a designated period of time as required
by local code.

 Remote Annunciators/Remote Control Panels

Remote annunciators are used to display the status of the fire detection and alarm system at locations away
from the main control panel. Remote annunciators may have control functions for the system as well.

Remote Lamp Panels

These remote indicators are used with conventional devices to remotely indicate the device or zone


Remote Indicator Lamps

Remote indicator lamps are connected to initiating devices that may be concealed or located out of sight.
The remote indicator is located in an accessible area to indicate the status of the initiating device.

Remote Diagnostic Module

The Remote Diagnostic module is installed in the control panel and provided with a telephone line for
communication to a remote location with a matching module and a PC. The arrangement permits the remote
location to check the system status.

2. Notification devices

Notification appliances include both audible and visual appliances that are intended to notify the occupants of a
building of a fire emergency. Audible notification devices for non-Voice systems include bells, horns, buzzers,
chimes and other devices that can create a distinctive sound that may be associated with an emergency

In addition to reliable alarm initiation, effective FA notification is the critical element of fire life safety systems.
FA notification and signaling appliances protect life by automatically warning occupants of a fire condition, and
signaling the need to evacuate the building or area. To achieve its intended purpose, FA notification needs to
function in a way that ensures that the signal is correctly perceived and interpreted by building occupants.

Types of Notification Appliances

The most commonly utilized notification appliances for FA signaling are audible, visible, or combination
audible and visible appliances.

Notification appliances are manufactured in a wide variety of appearances, designs, and configurations, but are
generally classified in the following categories:


• Bells
• Chimes
• Horns
• Speakers
• Strobes
• Chime/strobes, horn/strobes, speaker/strobes
When used for FA signaling, notification appliances are required to carry a UL listing consistent with their
intended use. Similarly, notification appliances used for FA signaling are almost exclusively designed to operate
on 24 V direct current (dc) power, so that they will continue to function normally on battery backup power, in
the event of a loss of primary power from the FA system.

Audible Devices

Visible Devices

Audible-Visible Devices


Notification Appliance Circuit (NAC)

FA NACs are used to connect and operate notification appliances. The NACs are low-voltage circuits and can
originate either from the FACP or from a distributed- or stand-alone power supply. NACs are supervised. The
FA system can be configured to generate a trouble signal if a short circuit, open circuit, or ground fault is
experienced on any of the system NACs. Depending on wiring configuration and connections, NACs can
achieve varied levels of performance and fault tolerance.

The following design goals are necessary considerations when designing effective notification:

• Signal audibility
• Intelligibility
• Visibility

To ensure that good practice is followed, there are codes, standards, and regulations that govern the design of
compliant FA (Fire Alarm) notification. This section does not discuss standards affecting design practice;
however, the section addresses the components that constitute FA notification.

Factors Affecting Performance

To fulfill the goals of protection of life and property, it is essential that notification appliances function as
intended. The most comprehensive and extensive systems will be rendered useless if the alarm signal is not
clearly perceived and understood by the occupants of the protected premises. Code-writing authorities are
giving increasing attention to factors that affect system performance and effectiveness.


Perhaps the single most important aspect of FA signaling is audibility. Hearing is the most common mode of
alarm perception. However, effective audibility can be compromised in many ways, such as the following:

• Alarm level—If output levels are not sufficient, occupants will be unaware of alarm events.
• Alarm clarity—If alarm tones and patterns are not clearly recognizable, occupants may misinterpret the nature
of the alarm.
• Alarm reliability—Excessive false alarms can create mistrust and doubt, which can lead to ignoring alarm



With the growing support and preference for voice evacuation systems, audibility is no longer the sole
consideration for system performance. Where voice messages are concerned, it is not uncommon for messages
to be audible, but not intelligible. Crowded subway stations, large auditoriums, and houses of worship are
examples of areas that may have sufficient audible output, but poor intelligibility.


Audibility and intelligibility are worthy design goals, but alone they do not comprise an effective notification or
signaling system. Since the advent of the ADA and the concept of equivalent facilitation, it has become equally
important for systems to be visible as it is for systems to be audible. Just as audibility can be compromised by
environmental factors, so can visibility be impacted by factors such as the:

• Area of coverage.
• Mounting location.
• Ceiling height.

One Way Communications Systems

Emergency Voice Communication systems replace the notification appliances such as bells, horns, buzzers and
chimes with speakers and the notification appliance circuits that provide power to the notification appliances are
supplying an audio signal to the speakers. This configuration allows the system to use tones that emulate the
other notification appliances like bells, horns buzzers and chimes as well as spoken messages to the occupants
of the building. Digital messages are used to reproduce a spoken message along with some tones to alert the
occupants. The system is also capable of live voice messaging over the speaker circuits so that instructions may
be modified to meet the needs of the emergency. These systems are commonly installed in high rise buildings
and combined with the ability to signal different portions of the building with different messages can avoid the
evacuation of an entire building unnecessarily and aid in the partial and total evacuation when necessary. The
speaker system provides one way communication from the fire alarm control panel to locations in the building.
Selector switches at the control panel provide the means for the operator to select the areas of the building to
make announcement s to. The fire alarm control panel has priority over all other inputs to the voice system.

Two Way Firefighter Telephone Systems

Firefighter telephone systems are another feature of the emergency voice systems. These telephone systems are
independent from all other systems in the building and are intended to be used in fire emergencies only. The
system consists of a master telephone unit and selector switches at the fire alarm control panel and remotely
located telephone stations or telephone jacks that will accept a portable hand set carried by the emergency
responders. When a telephone station handset is removed from its holder or a portable telephone is plugged
into a firefighter telephone jack the control panel indicates the location of the active instrument and by
operating the associated switch at the control panel the master telephone and the remote location are connected
and two way communications may be initiated. Up to five (5) remote telephones may be connected to the
system at one time without a degrade in the quality of the transmission.


3. Initial Devices

The devices used with conventional systems provide a contact closure to initiate the event to the control panel
without any additional interface other than the IDC.

 Manually Actuated Alarm Initiating Devices

Manually actuated devices; also known as fire alarm boxes, manual pull stations, or simply pull stations,
break glass stations, and (in Europe) call points. It is commonly called manual pull stations, allow
occupants to manually initiate the fire alarm signaling system. Devices for manual fire alarm activation are
installed to be readily located (near the exits), identified, and operated. They are usually actuated by means
of physical interaction, such as pulling a lever or breaking glass.

Manual pull stations can be single-action or double-action, which are described as follows:

• Single-action — Operates after a single motion is made by the user. When the station lever is pulled, a
lever or other movable part is moved into the alarm position and a corresponding signal is sent to the FACU
(Fire Alarm Control Unit).

Single-action pull stations require only a single motion to trigger an alarm.

• Double-action — Requires the operator to perform two steps to initiate an alarm. First, the operator must lift a
cover or open a door to access the alarm control. Then the operator must manipulate an alarm lever, switch, or
button to send the signal to the fire alarm control panel. Double-action manual pull stations may be confusing to
certain occupant/ operators due to the need to perform two separate steps before an alarm is initiated.

A double-action pull station has a panel that must be lifted so the operator can access and operate the pull


 Automatically Actuated Alarm Initiating Devices

Automatically actuated devices can take many forms intended to respond to any number of detectable
physical changes associated with fire: convected thermal energy; heat detector, products of combustion;
smoke detector, radiant energy; flame detector, combustion gasses; fire gas detector, and release of
extinguishing agents; water-flow detector.

 Smoke detectors

Smoke detectors are provided on fire alarm initiating device circuits to automatically detect a fire and
initiate the alarm. It is a device that senses smoke, typically as an indicator of fire. Commercial security
devices issue a signal to a fire alarm control panel as part of a fire alarm system, while household smoke
detectors, also known as smoke alarms, generally issue a local audible or visual alarm from the detector

o Area Detectors

Detectors that are installed in the occupied spaces of a building are called area smoke detectors, these
detectors are designed to operate in this environment. The normal coverage of a modern smoke
detector is 900 square feet of unobstructed space, if the space is less than 900 square feet it requires a
smoke detector, spaces larger than 900 square feet will require more than one smoke detector.

o Detectors Duct

Detectors that are installed to monitor the air contained within a HVAC (Heating Ventilating and Air
Conditioning System) are designed to operate in this environment and are installed in various
configurations so that they are monitoring the air in the system. These smoke detectors are also
involved in the control of the fans of the system to prevent the uncontrolled spread of smoke in the
building. Duct type smoke detectors are not a replacement or alternative to area smoke detectors where
the area smoke detectors are required to meet the local codes. Test Switches may be provided for
operating the duct detector when it is installed in inaccessible locations if required.


Duct Detector & Test Switch

 Flame detectors

Flame detectors also know and radiant energy detectors are devices that respond to radiant energy the may
or may not be in the human visual range, UV (ultraviolet) and IR (Infrared). The detectors may employ
sensors of either the UV or IR type or both. Flame detectors are used for special applications where the
hazard presents a need for very fast response. A sensor designed to detect and respond to the presence of a
flame or fire, allowing flame detection. Responses to a detected flame depend on the installation, but can
include sounding an alarm, deactivating a fuel line (such as a propane or a natural gas line), and activating a
fire suppression system.

 Heat detectors

Heat detectors are devices that are designed to detect and respond to the heat from a fire. A fire alarm
device designed to respond when the convected thermal energy of a fire increases the temperature of a heat
sensitive element. These devices are available in several types, fixed temperature, rate-of-rise and rate
compensation are some of them.


Fixed Temperature

The fixed temperature type is designed with a fusible element that melts rapidly at a predetermined
temperature. The element melting results in an electrical contact closing to initiate the alarm. This is
the most common type of heat detector. Fixed temperature detectors operate when the heat sensitive
eutectic alloy reaches the eutectic point changing state from a solid to a liquid.

Rate-of Rise

The rate-of-rise type of detector may be a spot type detector of a linear type. Rate-of-Rise (ROR) heat
detectors operate on a rapid rise in element temperature of 12° to 15°F (6.7° to 8.3°C) increase per
minute, irrespective of the starting temperature. This type of heat detector can operate at a lower
temperature fire condition than would be possible if the threshold were fixed.

Rate Compensation.

The construction of the rate compensation heat detector, using materials that react to heat differently
provides a device that operates faster than a normal fixed temperature device.

4. Types of System

The two main types of fire alarm systems are conventional and addressable. The various components that make
up these systems are either automatic or manual.

 Conventional System

Conventional systems are essentially simple switches that are either "on" or "off". They cannot distinguish
between a real fire and the various non-fire phenomena that can trigger an alarm such as tobacco smoke,
dust and steam. With conventional systems the control panel is only able to indicate the zone or circuit that
an activated (or faulty) detector is on, they cannot identify the individual device.

Conventional fire alarm systems and its components are all wired to the same cable that connects them to a
fire alarm control panel. The control panel displays a signal when these components activate. These types of
systems are inexpensive and work well in small facilities. The main problem with conventional fire alarm
systems is that when a fire alarm component produces a signal and it appears on the control panel there is
no way to know which component it is in the building. If you foresee this to be a problem you may want to
consider an addressable fire alarm system.

Conventional systems are generally the most cost effective option for smaller buildings.
 SBT conventional system

The SBT conventional fire detection and alarm systems include the System3, SXL-EX and the PXL
lines. The System3, introduced in 1976, is a conventional system and in fact the System3 is the only
system offered by SBT that is not software controlled. This may be one of the reasons this product is
still in production and meeting the needs of many applications. This is the most basic of the fire
detection and alarm systems but its modular design allows it to meet the needs of many applications.

The other conventional systems available from SBT are the PXL and SXL-EX systems which have a
microprocessor for control of the system. The SXL-EX basic configuration has four zones and can be
expanded to eight zones; the PXL basic configuration has twelve (12) zones and can be expanded to
thirty six (36) zones. The microprocessor in the SXL-EX and PXL is used to control the outputs of the
system including the notification appliances and other functions.

 Analogue Addressable/ Intelligent System

Analogue addressable systems have constant two-way communication between the control panel and the
detectors in the field. Each detection device on an analogue addressable system has its own unique address
within the system and the control panel is able to identify each device individually in the case of a fire or a

The increased intelligence associated with analogue addressable systems allows for them to have greater
sensitivity to fire with greater immunity to false alarms.

Addressable fire alarm systems are the most modern type of system and its components have individual
unique identifiers. When one of the system’s components initiates, it indicates the component’s address on
the fire alarm panel. Large facilities utilize these systems because they can quickly pinpoint where the
trouble signal originated. This saves a lot of time because it eliminates the need to search for the component
that produced the signal.

 SBT Intelligent Systems

The SBT line of intelligent automatic fire detection and alarm systems include the MXL/MXLV, the
XLS/XLSV FireFinder and the FS-250 FireSeeker product lines. Intelligent device/detector technology


was introduced to the industry in 1982 by SBT with the XL3 system and today’s FirePrint™ detector
is the only detector available that comes with a no false alarm guarantee.

5. Advantages of Intelligent Addressable Systems

Intelligent Addressable Systems comprises one or more circuits with detectors connected in parallel, and each
detector has a unique identification (address) on the circuit. When the conditions for an alarm signal are
satisfied at the detector, 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.

 Less cabling requirements and labor costs

Due to the fact that addressable systems require less cabling they make for less complex installations that’s
why most of new construction projects implement addressable systems.

 Helps save precious time and improves life safety-

The location of a fire condition is detected and recorded at each individual device, identifying exactly where
the fire is occurring. This will improve response time for emergency responders.

 Stability

Stability is achieved by the system software. If a detector recognizes a condition which could be indicative of
a fire, the control panel will first attempt a quick reset. For most spurious situations such as insects, dust, or
breezes, the incident will often remedy itself during this reset procedure, thereby reducing the probability of
false alarm. If a genuine smoke or fire condition exists, the detector will reenter the alarm mode immediately
after the reset attempt. The control panel will now regard this as a fire condition, and will enter its alarm

 Maintenance

These systems offer several key advantages over conventional ones. First of all, they are able to monitor the
status of each detector. As a detector becomes dirty, the microprocessor recognizes a decreased capability,
and provides a maintenance alert. This feature, known as Listed Integral Sensitivity Testing, allows facilities
personnel to service only those detectors that need attention, rather than requiring a labor and time consuming
cleaning of all units. Lower ongoing service cost, because when a device goes into trouble (i.e. needs
cleaning, repair or replacement), the panel will tell you the exact location of the device needing service.

 Online capabilities

New intelligent panels have the capability to provide detailed online notification of alarm/trouble/supervisory

6. Cables
People always talk about fire protection but it is important to know what this actually means in
practical terms, and to be certain which flame spread rating you need to use. For cables, you also need
to distinguish between flame spread, fire hazard properties and fire resistance.


 Cables that prevent flame spread
Cables running through building levels and walls are a great way for fires to spread. So the most
important requirement when establishing fire protection is to use cables with properties that prevent
the spread of fire. This is why there are general flame spread classes, and these must always be
defined. Our cables have clearly marked flame spread classes that are informative and easy to

 Halogen free – saving lives and money

Smoke and gases from burning cables often cause the biggest problems for people and equipment.
These problems can be reduced if halogen free cables are used. The smoke from halogen free cables
during a fire is much thinner and does not corrode metals. This makes it easier to clear smoke from
rooms, potentially saving lives. That is why our cables for alarms and safety systems are halogen

 Still working during a fire

The most critical cables must also be fire resistant. This means they must be guaranteed to work
even during a fire. This is made possible by special insulation material, which is merely altered
rather than destroyed by fire. The cable keeps its shape, the conductors are kept separate and the
cable continues to work. These cables are needed for the fire alarm system itself, but also for the
safety lighting guiding people out of the building, for the smoke extraction fans and for the lifts. Our
range includes fire resistant cables for power supply and for communication.

Example of cables used in FDAS


The detecting element of the Protectowire system is a cable

consisting of two steel wires covered with a heat-sensitive
polymer wrapped in a protective tape and enclosed in a
protective outer covering. At the rated temperature, the
heat sensitive polymer insulation yields to the pressure
between conductors, permitting them to move into contact
with each other, thereby initiating an alarm signal. It is not
required that a specific length be heated in order to initiate
an alarm, nor is system calibration necessary to compensate
for changes in the installed ambient temperature.


Fiber Optic Sensor Cable
The sensor cable consists of a stainless steel tube and two
quartz fibers and sheathed in a plastic jacketing material.
The sensor cable is designed for a useful life of 30 years.
Damaged sections of the cable can be repaired by splicing
in a new section of cable. The temperature sensing is
accomplished by sending a laser pulse down the cable and
analyzing the shift of the impulse. The sensing equipment
will also determine the location of the fire along the cable
length. The application for this type of sensor is harsh
environments like traffic and rail tunnels

What are some important safety precautions to consider when installing a fire alarm or security
control cable?
All installations must follow guidelines established by the National Electric Code (NEC). Below are
some basic practices to remember when installing power-limited fire alarm systems. For a more in-
depth review of requirements and installation guidelines, refer to the NEC.

 All cables must be UL listed. Check all cables for the proper markings. Refer to NEC Article 760.
 All cables must comply with local wiring requirements.
 Only use conductors made of copper.
 Test wiring for grounds, short circuits and open faults before the system is placed in operation.
 Always use the proper gauge of wire to avoid line loss.
 Avoid interference when routing wiring.
 Installation shall be made to prevent the spread of fire from floor to floor.
 A minimum of 6 inches of free conductor is required in each electrical box to
facilitate termination.
 All wiring must be terminated with UL listed devices.
 Consider local codes. Most states and cities adopt the NEC. A few states and cities amend the NEC
recommendations regarding cable requirements. Any variances in code are easy to obtain through
local officials. Check the local codes to determine if the NEC has been adopted in your area.

Fire Alarm Cable Types

Sometimes cable is defined by the areas in which it can be installed. Two common areas of concern
for fire alarm cable are plenum and riser installations. To be eligible for install in these risky
environments, plenum and riser cable must meet strict safety regulations set by building codes,
including the National Electric Code.

Plenums are ducts or other air spaces in buildings, either above
drop ceilings or under floors. For cable to be fit for installation in
these areas (without the need for conduit), they must meet strict requirements for flammability and low
smoke generation.

This cable does not meet the standards set for plenum-rated cable. It
is not suited for installation in plenum, ducts, or other spaces used for
return air. However, it is perfectly appropriate for a variety of other
general purpose fire alarm applications, including surface wiring for
smoke alarms.


Risers are pathways for indoor cable that run vertically through
multiple floors of a building. To be rated for riser installation, cables
must have good flammability characteristics, but they do not
necessarily need to be low-smoke like those used in plenum

Power Limited and Non-Power Limited Systems Conventional FA Cables are designed based upon the
AWG of the Cable. Conventional systems can be broken into two categories: Power Limited and Non-
Power Limited. Power Limited is the dominant designed system.

Power-limited Fire Alarm Cable

Power-limited circuits have relatively low voltage and current, which prevents them from producing
damaging amounts of fault energy. As a result, power-limited circuits may have different and less
stringent requirements concerning overcurrent protection, insulation, installation, and materials than
non-power-limited circuits.

There are three types of power-limited fire alarm cables commonly used today. These include FPLP,
FPL, and FPLR cables. Respectively, these are plenum-rated, non-plenum rated, and riser-rated cables.

FPLP (Plenum)

FPLP cable is plenum-rated. It is appropriate for use in plenums, ducts, and other similar
environmental air spaces. These cables are fire resistant and produce minimal smoke. FPLP cables
must pass UL test 1424 as well as the Steiner tunnel test 910.

 Multi-conductor, Plenum

This is available with a fully annealed, solid bare copper conductor and premium-grade Flexguard
PVC insulation. Jackets are made of Flexguard PVC or fluoropolymer (PVDF). They are rated to
75° C and 300V. Common uses for the PVC jacketed version of this cable include wiring fire


alarms, smoke detectors, voice communications, burglar alarms, and fire protective circuits. For
those with the abrasion, water, and chemical resistant PVDF jacket, applications include fire alarm
systems, voice communications, smoke detectors, and pull boxes. This class of cable is also
available in both shielded and unshielded versions.

 Mid-capacitance, Plenum

Mid-capacitance, plenum-rated FPLP fire alarm cable comes with a fully annealed, solid bare
copper conductor sized from 18 to 12 AWG, premium-grade color-coded fluoropolymer
insulation, and a premium-grade Flexguard PVC jacket. The jacket is red for easy critical circuit
identification and also comes with a ripcord. This cable is designed for use in addressable fire
alarm systems, fire alarm systems, voice communications, smoke detectors, and pull boxes.
Shielding is optional, depending on individual system requirements and specific environmental

 Multi-paired, Non-plenum
This cable comes with an 18 or 22 AWG fully annealed, solid bare copper conductor, premium-
grade color-coated PVC insulation, and a premium-grade PVC jacket. It can withstand
temperatures from -20° C to 105° C and is rated to 300 volts. Multi-paired, non-plenum FPL cable
is designed for use in the wiring of fire alarms, smoke alarms, voice communications, burglar
alarms, and fire protective circuits.


FPLR cables are rated for use in riser applications. This means they can be used in cable pathways that
run vertically from floor to floor. These cables are listed by the National Electric Code as having fire-
resistant characteristics which help prevent fire from spreading to multiple floors of the building. They
also must pass UL test 1424 and the UL vertical riser test 1666.

 Multi-conductor,Riser

This cable consists of a 22 to 12 AWG fully annealed, solid

bare copper conductor, and premium-grade PVC insulation
and jacketing. It is rated to 300 volts and has a temperature
range of -20° C to 75° C. Common applications for this
cable include fire alarm wiring, smoke alarms, voice
communications, burglar alarms, and fire protective circuits.
A polyester and aluminum foil shield with a stranded tinned copper drain wire is also an option for
applications that require shielding.

Non-Power-Limited Fire Alarm Cable

Non-power-limited circuits have the ability to produce damaging levels of fault energy, so non-power-
limited cable must adhere to a different and more stringent set of guidelines and safety precautions
than power-limited cable.

There are two types of non-power-limited fire alarm system cables. These include NPLF and NPLFP


This non-power-limited cable is designed for general purpose fire alarm use. However, it is not
NEC listed for installation in risers, ducts, plenums, or other space used for environmental air. To
be used in these spaces, the cable must be installed in conduit. NPLF cable is resistant to the
spread of fire and must pass UL test 1425 as well as UL vertical flame test 1581.


NPLFP non-power-limited fire alarm cable can be installed in ducts, plenums, and other similar
spaces. It must be adequately fire resistant, meet low-smoke requirements, and pass the UL test
1425 and the Steiner tunnel test 910.

8. Inspection and Testing Guidelines

Fire department personnel who conduct inspections must have a working knowledge of detection and
alarm systems.
 Service Test
Series of tests performed on fire protection, detection, and/ or suppression systems in order to verify
operational readiness. These tests should be performed at least yearly or whenever the system has
undergone extensive repair or modification.

Some general inspection considerations for a fire inspector include the following:
 Check for changes to the building or use of rooms that may result in different requirements for
detection systems, audio/visual alarms, or that cause a coverage issue.
 Verify that all equipment, especially initiating and signaling devices, are free of dust, dirt, paint,
and other foreign materials.
 Verify that manual pull stations, audible or visual warning devices, and any other components are
not blocked or obstructed in any way.
 Verify that the monitoring system is operational


 Acceptance Test
Preservice test on fire protection, detection, and/ or suppression systems after installation to ensure
that the system operates as intended.

Activities during an acceptance test include the inspector witnessing the following:
 Inspect all wiring for proper support.
 Look for wear, damage, or any other defects that may render the insulation ineffective.
 Inspect conduit for solid connections and proper support wherever circuits are enclosed in
 Check batteries that are used as an emergency power source for clean contacts and proper charge.
Immediately replace batteries that fail inspection and testing procedures. Many batteries have
floating-ball indicators that show whether they are properly charged.


Inspectors must verify that all the switches and

detector lights on enunciator panels work when tested.

It is important to use approved testing procedures for

smoke heat detectors.


Check that inspection records are up-to date.

Verify that the circuitry and wiring match the system


Verify that occupant notification devices are

consistent with the requirements of the locally
adopted code.

A recessed voice evacuation system


Strobe requirements apply to areas that are open to
the public.

The inspector should verify correct placement

for visual devices.