What are Addressable Fire Alarms?

Jul 13, 2022

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Addressable fire alarms are a new technology in the world of fire safety. Similar to a conventional fire alarm system, addressable fire alarm systems require wiring. However, addressable systems have many unique features which may better suit your commercial premises or building. The core features of an addressable fire alarm system allow the person monitoring the control panel to get a more accurate reading of what is occurring on the premises.

Addressable fire alarms are simply more effective than their counterpart conventional systems. Detecting the location of a fire within your building is easy when you switch to an addressable system. Firefighters will instantly know exactly where to go when tackling potential threats of a blaze.

Confused as to what addressable fire alarms are? We can teach you more. Wanting to learn more about how they work and why you should use them in your home or business? Read on and we will answer all the questions you need.

addressable fire alarm schematic

How Does an Addressable Fire Alarm System Work?

An addressable fire alarm system makes use of a loop configuration. This looped configuration contains all the fire alarm devices such as smoke alarms, sounders and beacons. Compared with a traditional conventional fire alarm system, this addressable loop-wired fire alarm system uses less cable. Conventional systems require extensive cabling and therefore are often disregarded when installation is required in a building with fragile foundations.

An addressable fire alarm system utilises a system-wide language protocol. Firstly, understand that the control panel is the brain of the system. The brain will then use coded language to “talk” and communicate with each fire detection device. These fire detection devices are assigned a unique number or code by the addressable fire alarm panel, the brain. We will then refer to this unique number as the device address.

If you have had your addressable fire alarm panel and devices installed by a professional, then the commissioned engineer will log each device. When logging each device, the address label is attached and the device’s real-world location is noted on the fire alarm panel system.

An addressable fire alarm is designed to continually communicate with these devices on the system. Such advancements in technology now allow us to utilise a fire alarm panel in new ways. We can now identify the exact device, the exact location and the alarm’s condition (if the device has faults). With all this information we are able to produce accurate reporting. A fire’s location is now easily identifiable, any system faults can be resolved quickly and efficiently. The reduction in false alarms will be drastic and all of these features mean that faults take a matter of seconds to analyse.

Addressable Fire Alarm System: Benefits

There are numerous benefits to installing your addressable fire alarm system. Firstly, an addressable system is ideal for medium to large projects which require a multitude of devices and zones. Many larger businesses will require an addressable fire alarm system simply due to their ability to attach device labelling. With the introduction of device labelling we are now able to identify the exact location of a fire. If a fire occurs in larger premises then it can be harder to pinpoint the exact location of the blaze. The longer that the fire is allowed to burn, the more devastating the effects and therefore damage will not be minimised. The premises could be wiped out and injuries will be far more likely.

Installation of an addressable fire alarm system could save you a lot of money. Conventional systems require each device to be directly wired to the control panel individually. Increasing the number of devices on your system will require a lot of construction with new electrical wiring being laid and therefore walls being torn apart. Addressable fire alarm systems are typically more expensive when first purchased. However, over time they become more cost-effective should you ever need to increase the size of your system.

The main benefits of an addressable fire alarm system include:

  • Identification of exact locations of fires, open/closed circuit faults and false alarms.
  • Large fire alarm system capacity.
  • Installation can be cheaper than a conventional system.
  • Suitable for any size project.
  • More system capabilities.
  • Flexible wiring.
  • Reduced installation cost.
  • Pinpoint the location of a fire.
  • Early detection of a fire.
  • Increased reliability.
  • Easier maintenance.

The only con we can give you for an addressable fire alarm is that they cost slightly more. We however believe that the features of these systems far outweigh the price point.

addressable fire alarm panel

Who Is An Addressable Fire Alarm System Suitable For?

Addressable fire alarm systems are much more feature intensive and therefore are best suited to larger businesses that span across a larger area. Due to their ability once triggered to pinpoint the exact locations of activated devices. This is in comparison to a conventional system which simply identifies a zone which could be made up of 20 devices.

Technically, it’s up to the owner of the premises which fire alarm system they opt for. There aren’t any laws that require you to install an addressable fire alarm system. However, due to the limitations of conventional fire alarm systems, many larger businesses may have no choice. Simply put, conventional fire alarm systems aren’t always capable of meeting the business owners’ needs.

Conventional systems don’t usually support more than 30 devices. These devices will include smoke detectors, sounders and manual call points etc. This in turn means that addressable fire alarm systems are the only option for large premises.

Businesses That Require Addressable Fire Alarms

To summarise, we would insist that if you require more than 10 devices on your premises then you should definitely opt for an addressable fire alarm system. Generally, these businesses include educational buildings such as schools, universities and colleges. The education sector will typically have larger buildings suitable for hundreds/thousands of students. As well as being on a larger scale, they have many rooms meaning that it’s crucial to be able to locate a fire quickly without it spreading across multiple rooms/levels. As well as education, we will often fit addressable fire alarm systems into office buildings that span multiple stories. If your office is multi-storey then it is likely to have a few fire exit doors. Reading the fire alarm panel will allow employees to identify the safest route to avoid the fire and exit the building without injury.

Buildings in need of an addressable fire alarm system:

  • Warehouses
  • Schools
  • Colleges
  • Universities
  • Multi-storey office buildings
  • Care homes

Addressable fire alarm systems can be installed in a variety of buildings, including warehouses, schools and colleges. If you are in need of an addressable fire alarm system for your school, college or business then we would be happy to help. If you are interested in installing a new addressable fire alarm system or upgrading your existing system, then please contact us today. Our experienced engineers have over 50 years of experience in fire detection systems and if our systems aren’t suitable for your building then we will give you the best free advice available.

Addressable Alarm Manufacturers That We Supply

Honeywell Gent: The combination of powerful control panel software along with Honeywell Gent’s market-leading range of intelligent devices adds to the strength of the Vigilon and Nano. All the devices are powered by the loop, resulting in a flexible, streamlined system in any building. As the model only require just a single two-core cable to connect the loop and with every device including an integral short circuit isolator, the cost of installation is reduced and the system integrity is increased.

Apollo: A range of addressable systems include the XP95, the Discovery, the Soteria, the Soteria Dimension, the XP95A, the Discovery UL and the Soteria UL. Apollo offers both EN-approved and UL-approved systems for all three model variants.

CTEC: As a result of a multi-million-pound investment project, CTEC was able to design the UK-manufactured ‘distributed intelligence’ addressable fire detection and alarm system, CAST. the CAST communication protocol has greatly strengthened the XFP and ZFP addressable fire panels sold by Apollo.

Kentec: Kentec offers a wide range of analogue-addressable fire alarm systems such as the Takis and Syncro range as well as various offer devices to ensure the effortless installation and use of their products.

An Alternative To Addressable and Conventional Fire Alarms

Both conventional and addressable fire alarm systems require a very intrusive installation process. Holes need to be drilled and wiring will need to be fed through the walls which can be especially difficult in heritage and listed buildings.

The Wireless Fire Alarm

The perfect solution for this issue is the installation of a wireless fire alarm system. We work closely with Electro Detectors to provide systems such as the Zerio Plus wireless fire alarm.

This system is an innovative, wireless system that works on the principle of radio frequency. The system uses radio frequency technology to communicate between each of the individual detectors, which are then connected to a central control panel. This allows for the detection of smoke and fire in each room or area of your building without any need for wiring or drilling holes through walls.

The system is also very easy to install, with each of the detectors being battery operated and wireless. This means that there is no need for any drilling or wiring through walls, which saves time and money in terms of installation. Wireless fire alarms are perfect for owners of prestigious buildings such as hotels. In addition to manor houses, historical buildings and other heritage-type properties.

Wireless fire alarm systems are typically battery-powered and they are ideal for maintaining the aesthetics of a building. Quick and easy to install, these fire alarm panels are the ideal solution for buildings with weaker foundations.

Conclusion

If you want to save time when detecting a fire and help prevent costly activities then the addressable fire alarm unit is certainly superior. A further benefit of the addressable fire alarm system is that it is cheaper and easier to install. An addressable fire alarm system can be purchased under a wide range of different brands. If you want to take advantage of this technology then it’s best to consult an expert. They can advise on which type of system is most suitable for your needs and will be able to help you purchase the correct components.

An addressable fire alarm system is an excellent way to ensure that your home or business is protected from a fire. It’s important to understand the different types of systems available so you can make an informed decision on which one will best suit your needs. It’s important to choose a fire alarm system that is suitable for your property. If you have any questions about which type of system would be best for your home or business then please get in touch with us today.

Our Top-Rated Addressable Fire Alarm Systems:

CTEC fire alarm system

C-TEC XFP

The C-TEC XFP501/X single loop 16 or 32 zone addressable fire alarm panel offers high performance at a competitive price. It’s compatible with devices running Apollo protocol and is suitable for use in hotels, hospitals or factories. The panel has built-in software for easy configuration, can be used with up to 8 repeaters and is suitable for use in many different applications.

  • C Tec XFP501E/X
  • Apollo XP95/Discovery protocol
  • Third-party certified to EN54-2/4 by the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB)
  • Two independently programmable conventional sounder circuits
  • Two programmable inputs
  • Fault output relay and three programmable relay outputs with voltage-free changeover contacts
  • Selection of zone dependency/coincidence functions
  • Day/night (building occupied/unoccupied) function
  • Investigation delay period function
  • Phased evacuation facility
  • Alarm counter
  • Powerful short circuit-protected loop drivers
  • Up to 40 loop-powered 10mA sounders per loop
  • Integral EN54-4/A2 switch mode PSU
  • Combined keypad / keyswitch entry to Access Levels 2 and 3
  • Intuitive Windows-based upload-download PC program

 

Gent Vigilon Plus

Addressable Fire Alarm Vigilon Plus Panel-500x500

The Gent Vigilon Plus 4 Loop Addressable Fire Panel meets the stringent requirements of EN54 parts 2 and 4, and can be ordered with from 1 to 4 detection loops. Gent Vigilon Plus combines the familiar advantages of a combination sensor-sounder/loop-powered beam detector, with every loop device having integral short circuit isolators. The panel is compatible with Gent’s patented S-Quad multi-sensor technology, which combines speech and sounder into a single product.

  • Gent VIGPLUS-24 Addressable Fire Panel
  • 4 Loop Fire Panel (1 loop card supplied)
  • Integral EN54-4 PSU and 24 hour battery standby
  • Batteries included
  • Upgradable to 72 hour battery standby
  • 200 device loop capacity
  • 800mA loop current
  • 406mm x 403mm x 101mm
  • Weight 22Kg (inc batteries)

 

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