Article
According to the National Fire Protection Association’s most recent numbers, up to 8 percent of all fire calls are the result of a false alarm. In 2018, that statistic translated into 2.8 million false alarm responses. Such events are both dangerous and expensive, and they are often caused by equipment failure rather than deliberate vandalism. Today’s addressable sensors and other initiating devices include self-monitoring capabilities that can help reduce false alarms and the aggravation and expense that go along with them.

Addressable Detectors Help Limit the Nuisance of False Alarms

Chuck Ross
According to the National Fire Protection Association’s most recent numbers, up to 8 percent of all fire calls are the result of a false alarm. In 2018, that statistic translated into 2.8 million false alarm responses. Such events are both dangerous and expensive, and they are often caused by equipment failure rather than deliberate vandalism. Today’s addressable sensors and other initiating devices include self-monitoring capabilities that can help reduce false alarms and the aggravation and expense that go along with them.

False alarms raise risks and aggravation for fire departments and facility owners and managers, alike. These events can strain fire department resources and make responding crews temporarily unavailable to help with real fire and medical emergencies. They also can be expensive for building owners, because many cities now impose fines when fire departments are forced to respond to a false alarm fire call. Plus, there’s the lost productivity that can occur when an alarm shuts down operations while fire professionals perform the inspections needed to clear a building for occupancy, again.

Many of these problems are caused by poor installation decisions, like placing sensors to close to sources of heat or steam. Lax inspection and maintenance also can result in nuisance alarm activation. Addressable sensors can help facility managers meet both of these challenges. Many of these devices feature a range of sensitivity settings to meet installation-specific environmental conditions. And they also can alert maintenance personnel when the buildup of dust, dirt or other contaminants is beginning to threaten performance.

Addressability also offers significant advantages when a true smoke or fire emergency arises. Conventional detection and initiation systems are organized into broad zones, which can give firefighters a general idea of where an event might be occurring, but not a specific location. Addressable devices, however, are individually identifiable – this means first responders know exactly where to head for first, which can save valuable minutes, especially in larger facilities.
Photo courtesy of Johnson Controls
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