Fire alarm systems are a crucial part of our life when it comes to fire protection. These intelligent systems can save lives as well as mitigating damages to your property. In Canada, there are about 20,000 structural fires that happen every year. Over 12,000 of them are from residential properties. Below are the causes of these fires from highest to lowest:
- Unknown reason.
- Mechanical and electrical failure.
- Incendiary act.
- Human failing. This refers to people who are being impaired by alcohol, medication, drugs, having mental issues, being distracted, etc.
- Misuse of material ignited.
- Misuse of the source of ignition.
- Misuse of equipment.
- Construction, design, or installation deficiency
Cooking equipment is the leading cause of fires in Canada averaging 3,200 per year. Electrical equipment comes after around 2,300 per year. We have more than 100 deaths per year in Canada caused by fire. Canada has a 0.50 death rate per 100,000, which places Canada 149th lowest death rate in the world out of 183 countries. Canada has a higher death rate than Mexico, Colombia, Vietnam, Cuba, and many more (https://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/).
All new buildings in British Columbia are required to have fire protection systems such as fire alarm system, fire sprinkler system, special suppression system along with fire extinguishers, and emergency lighting systems. The main purpose of fire alarm systems is to save lives by alerting people when a fire is in an early stage. It also mitigates structural damages. A fire alarm system consists of an AC power supply along with battery backup, in case if a fire breaks out when there is a power outage. It has initiating devices such as smoke detectors, heat detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, pull stations, etc.
A fire alarm system also connects to other fire protection systems and auxiliary devices such as elevators, makeup air units, dampers, door holders, etc. In case of a fire, it controls auxiliary devices to reduce the impact of fire and smoke to save lives. Fire sprinkler systems are connected to fire alarm systems as well. Fire alarm system monitors and supervises sprinkler system’s flow switches and tamper valves. For instance, if someone turns a sprinkler valve off, the fire alarm panel will go into supervisory trouble. Fire alarm systems are also required to be monitored by a monitoring station, which will call the fire department in case of fire or the building owner if there is trouble in the system.
Having a fire alarm system alone is not enough to ensure safety. Periodic inspection, testing, and maintenance of the system are necessary. ULC S536, B.C. Fire Code and Vancouver Bylaws require periodic inspection of fire alarm systems. Other benefits of having an up-to-date fire alarm system make it easier to get insurance as well as reducing insurance premiums.
In conclusion, a fire alarm system is a system consists of initiating and indicating devices to alert people when there is a fire. It can also be considered as a control system that is connected to many other auxiliary devices to save lives, reduce fire damage, and provide many other benefits. Please contact Otis Fire Protection for your installation, inspection, maintenance, and repairs needs.