The Basics of the All-important Fire Alarm System
Sound the Alarm!
The importance of the Fire Alarm System often goes unnoticed until its shrill siren goes off, warning us about a possible outbreak of fire -- so that we can get to safety. While the noise and the drills can be unpleasant at times, this system is actually considered the ‘brain’ of the fire protection systems as one trigger sets in motion multiple steps to combat the spread of fire by:
• Detecting a fire at an early stage • Alerting and evacuating occupants • Notifying relevant personnel to take action • Activating auxiliary building services functions • Identifying and guiding first responders and fire-fighters to site of the fire
While the design of each system varies according the building’s design and specification, these are some basic components that make up the Fire Alarm System:
Where Are These Components Located? The Fire Alarm System components are usually found at key common areas of the building to ensure optimum efficiency in detecting fire and alerting occupants. To find out more about where the components are in a building, you may do so at the:
• Fire Command Centre (FCC) room • Lobbies • Zone charts • Mimic/ Indicator Panels • Operation and Maintenance (O&M) manual • Building AS-Built or Fire Alarm Schematic drawings
Who Are the Responsible Parties? According to building and fire safety regulations, building owners and council members are responsible for ensuring that there is an operationally-ready Fire Alarm System. How Can BSE Help? Fire protection specialists like BSE, MCST managing agencies, and/or technicians are engaged to assist building owners and council members with the installation, inspection and maintenance of Fire Alarm Systems. After Installation, What's Next? At BSE, we provide the following services with excellence to ensure Total Fire Safety for All:
• Inspection of Fire Alarm Systems and equipment • Testing of Fire Alarm Systems and equipment under fire and fault conditions • Identification of defects for rectification in a timely manner
How Often Is Inspection, Testing and Maintenance Required? The common frequency of inspection, testing and maintenance of the Fire Alarm System in buildings is MONTHLY based on the requirements from:
• Code of Practice for Fire Precautions in Building 2018 (Fire Code 2018) - Chapter 6 • Code of Practice for Installation and Servicing of Electrical Fire Alarm System (SS-CP 10: 2005)
4 Simple Tips to Ensure an Optimum Fire Alarm System: • Ensure that your Fire Alarm Panels DO NOT have any indication of fault or isolation. It should be showing GREEN LED lighting for conventional alarm panels and NO system error faults in addressable alarm panels. • Ensure SIGNALS from the various components linked to the Fire Alarm panels can be received and sent through the DECAM Panel to the DECAM Station. • Ensure that the LOCATIONS indicated on the Fire Alarm panels are exactly where the location of the components that alert the system are. • Ensure that the BELLS are functioning. Silent testing may be deemed as an ‘annoyance’ to tenants and residents, however it plays the critical role of alerting them in the event of an emergency.
The Fire Alarm System is the FIRST indication of alerting people in the building in the event of a fire incident. Therefore, it is ESSENTIAL to have it in an operationally-ready state! A fire can take seconds to build up and spread, depending on the environment and combustible materials available, EVERY SECOND COUNTS! SOUND THE ALARM!
Disclaimer: All facts and opinions presented are for educational purposes only. Please consult our competent professional for expert technical or other assistance and advice.