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A fire alarm system includes a network of devices, which will be suitable for every situation and should ensure adequate detection and  reliability. The detection will have as a direct result the signaling of an alarm (visual, acoustic, etc),  central station and fire brigade alert and triggering of the extinguishing systems if installed.

Fire alarm systems are based on detectors (temperature, flame, smoke, combined heat/smoke detectors) and call points which are placed in prominent spots, allowing both automatic and manual triggering of the system.

The detectors, call points, sirens/strobe, control modules are connected in a loop wiring and fire resistant cables to the Main Panel. The detection devices are carefully installed at specific points after a careful study of the particular building, complex or home.

The cabling of the system is fire resistant, thus withstand heat and naked flame for a long period of time. Generally the fire alarm cabling is completely independent in each complex installed in various ways surface or concealed depending on each building’s infrastructure and or provisions, for example they may be visible on walls, built in walls, or through piping

The fire detectors are placed on ceilings of designated areas. They can be placed in rooms, corridors, etc. and wherever there are false ceilings, they can be placed above as well as below them depending on the fire needs/risks of the building. Several types of detectors are all joined together in a loop that starts and ends at the main panel of the system.

Each detector incorporates an LED indicator that flashes indicting either a healthy or an alarm status on sensor activation so as to easily locate the source of the fire.

Remote LED indicators are also installed in areas where a secondary indication of the status or alarm of the detector is required, such as outside hotel rooms.

As soon as a detector is triggered or a call point is pressed, it allows an instantaneous current to pass through the loop and triggers an alarm condition. This is reported to the main panel as an “alarm”. The “alarm”, both visual and acoustic, can be transferred with the use of a network cable to another fire panels or alert the Fire Brigade and or Monitoring Station.

In the event of a cut or short on the cable, the load current in the loop is interrupted isolating the specific part of the cabling and does not affect the devices operation as they are complete with isolation base. This ensures a continuous operation of the system under all conditions.

Repeater Panels are also used in In areas where the user/fire brigate needs to have a full information of fire or faults conditions and fully manage the system.


Fire Detection Surveys

A survey for fire detection should be based on careful analysis of some basic factors:

a) The type, size, location and usage of the area to be protected.
b) The permanent or possible contents of the site (such as people, valuable objects).
c) The system’s reliability requirements in relation to the available financial resources.
d) The special requirements and characteristics, in conjunction with all of the objectives.

The careful selection of the appropriate or suitable types of fire detectors will be the starting point of the study. The next most significant element is related with the sensitivity, reliability of the fire detection system, is the number of detectors to be installed at each area.


Fire Detectors

One of the main parts of a fire detection system, are the automatic fire detectors, which are usually classified into the following categories:

HEAT/ TEMPERATURE DETECTORS

These detectors react when the air temperature of an area reaches a predetermined point (depending on usage) e.g. 70°C. In order for the temperature to reach such a level, the process of combustion needs to have progressed a lot. A possible application would be at a building’s central heating machinery room or kitchens

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FLAME DETECTORS

They visually detect flames and react to the frequency of the pulse. They are used in particularly tall spaces such as aircraft hangars and warehouses. In areas with a height of up to 15m, depending on the growth of the fire, the flame detector can be activated before the fumes reach the ceiling.

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OPTICAL SMOKE DETECTORS

They detect smoke visually, however smoke of at least a light colour is needed in order for the detector to activate. 

 

 

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IR BEAM DETECTOR

For warehouses, factories, areas where large coverage is needed. They detect smoke visually, however the smoke needs to be of at least a light colour.

 

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GAS DETECTORS

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FIRE CALL POINTS / BREAK GLASS

They are manually used to activate the fire alarm system if someone realizes fire at its early stage, before it is automatically detected by a sensor.

 

 

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FIRE SIRENS/STROBES

They beep/Flash when the systems is activated.

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Fire detection procedure and singlaing

The fire detection installations are usually combined with a series of “first or immediate actions”, such as the permanent activation of the fire-fighting, the moving and placing of fire dampers, the ventilation control, the closing of the fire doors, the termination of lifts or escalators (in large buildings) etc.

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Central control panels

There are two categories:

CONVENTIONAL

It divides areas into zones and recognizes the covered area as a zone. For example, the ground floor can be classified as zone 1 and this will include all devices connected within the floor area and when the system detects a fire activation, then the control panel indicates zone 1 into alarm (ground floor) and not the specific area of the floor. The detector that was triggered can be visually identified by its onboard LED status.

 

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ANALOG ADDRESSABLE

All devices are connected within a loop and each device has its own address. Thus faults/fire events will give information of the exact device, so as to determine the fire immediately, without any delay.

 

 

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The central panel of fire detection/ extinguishing systems includes:

  • A power supply with battery back up
  • The battery charger unit, which charge the batteries when the power is restored in the area and periodically provide the necessary electrical power to keep them at a healthy status
  • The batteries that must be kept healthy to ensure autonomy for e.g 24, 48 hours etc, depending on the conditions
  • Loops/Zones/ Inputs/Outpus for fire detection, signaling and control units,
  • Communication devices that signal a fire condition to other panels, users and the fire brigade

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