Types of Fire Alarm Systems

A fire alarm system is present in almost any building you enter, be it a home or a place of business. Detection of fires is a very crucial need for any structure’s safety measures. Let us learn about the types of fire alarm systems and understand how the installation works.


The different types of fire alarm systems

Early detection of fires helps prevent dangerous incidents involving people, property, machinery, and more. Let us understand, in brief, the different kinds of systems that are installed to keep buildings and their inhabitants safe. 

Basic Home System

There are two common types of basic home fire alarm systems — photoelectric and ionization. The photoelectric alarm relies on a beam of light, whereas ionization alarm systems detect smoke.

Conventional Fire Alarm System

This is an older version of fire detection, where each device or detector is connected through physical cabling to the main control panel. Detection happens through a ‘zoning’ concept where the space is divided into different zones with multiple detectors, making this an ideal choice for smaller properties.

Addressable Fire Alarm System

As the name suggests, this system recognizes a particular device located anywhere in the building. The detectors are interconnected with each other as well as to the main panel, and a unique address is assigned to each of them. Fluctuations in the given parameters of the device prompt it to send a signal to the control panel, which can read exactly which sensor it has come from.

Intelligent and Wireless Fire Alarm Systems

Intelligent systems are those whose detectors incorporate computers of their own that can evaluate the environment and send out appropriate task signals to the main control panel. Due to their ‘self-aware’ nature, they can more accurately detect fires and prevent false alarms. These are often more complex than the others mentioned.

Along with Intelligent Systems, there are also Wireless Systems, which are relatively new fire alarm systems. Wireless fire alarm mechanisms make use of multi-frequency links between detectors and the controllers, allowing for greater functionality.


Types of detection devices

Depending on the application, detectors come in various types. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and understanding which would help better determine the right one for your purpose.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector

CO detector works on the principle of carbon-monoxide detection, which is a by-product of most fires due to combustion.

Heat Detector

This device works by detecting temperature changes, either on a fixed temperature basis or depending on the rate of temperature change.

Manual Call Point

The apparatus most often seen by people in all buildings is ‘In Case Of Fire, Break Glass.’ This prompts personnel to alert the central systems using a manual trigger for the alarm.

Multi Sensors Detector

These detectors use a combination of sensors, such as carbon monoxide, heat, light, or smoke, to detect fire.

Smoke Detector

This detector is activated by smoke and light. The triggers are ionization, light obscuring, and light scattering.


Determining which fire alarm system you need

Fire detection mechanisms cannot be approached with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ mindset, as it depends on factors like the size of the space, cabling capabilities, and unique industry requirements. Regular upgrades are mandatory. Industry standards suggest commercial buildings update their fire alarm systems once in 10 years and residential properties every 15 years. Professionals adept at providing fire alarm installation services, like those at Von Power, should be called in for help.

Existing fire alarm systems can also be thoroughly inspected for any improvements and fire safety code compliance. Safety system and device providers often have the expertise to determine the needs of virtually any space.


Contractors must understand the various types of fire alarm systems available today. This article has attempted to highlight the details in brief. Engaging with professionals like Von Power will help you navigate this safety need. Contact Von Power today!