An Introduction to Different Types of Fire Alarms

Looking for the right fire alarm system for your Lawrenceville, GA business? There are two main types of fire alarms you can buy for both residential and commercial properties: photoelectric and ionization. Read on to learn about the difference between these two alarm system types and how to determine which one is right for your business.

Photoelectric alarms

Photoelectric smoke alarms detect the presence of a fire by measuring the intensity of light passing through the air nearby. They aim a focused light source into a sensory chamber, and when smoke enters the chamber, it reflects light and sets off the alarm. These alarms work best for detecting slow-moving, smoldering fires, since they pick up on large smoke particles.

If you’re having trouble deciding what types of fire alarms are best for your Lawrenceville, GA property, choose a photoelectric alarm to quickly detect smoldering fires that produce a great amount of smoke. Many of these fires are caused by candles or cigarettes that are left unattended and spread slowly throughout a building, presenting a smoke inhalation danger for all occupants.

Ionization alarms

Ionization alarms take a different approach to fire detection. These detectors contain a tiny amount of radioactive material between two electrically-charged plates. During normal conditions, the charge between the two plates ionizes the air and creates a current. During a fire event, if smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the current and trips the unit’s alarm. Ionization alarms are ideal to detect the very tiny smoke particles that are created by large, fast-moving fires.

If your business or commercial space contains a large amount of flammable liquids, wood or paper products, it’s smart to have ionization alarms installed throughout the premises. Fires from these materials tend to spread rapidly, since these items produce flames right away. These fires don’t produce as much smoke as a smoldering fire, which is why photoelectric devices aren’t as effective in these situations. The ionization alarm is best for detecting low-smoke fires—it’ll trip the alarm sooner and give people advance notice that they need to leave the building.

Dual systems

While both types of fire alarms respond differently to different types of fires, your best bet for protecting the occupants of your building is investing in both types of system. In some cases, you can buy one alarm system, called a dual smoke detector, that utilizes both photoelectric and ionization technologies. It’s often just too risky to choose one system over the other, since you never know what type of fire could occur at your property. By investing in both photoelectric and ionization systems, you create the safest possible environment for occupants of your building and advance notice in the event of a fire.

It’s always smart to get a professional opinion on the best types of fire alarms for your Lawrenceville, GA business. Keep in mind that pairing a fire alarm system with a sprinkler system provides you with the best level of protection in case of a fire emergency. Contact AAA Fire Protection Resources, Inc. to learn more about selecting the best fire alarm systems to protect life and property at your business.

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