Fire and Smoke Detection System – What It Is And How It Works

As per the National Fire Protection Association (NEPA), your risk of dying in a fire gets down to 55% with the installation of a fire and smoke detection system in your home or workplace. The system saves lives and property if installed well and is in working condition. 

What is a fire and smoke detection system?

The system is designed to detect fire in the early development stage when the occupants have enough time for their safe evacuation. Early detection plays a crucial role to protect the emergency response personnel safely. It helps lower the property loss and operation downtime. The reduction of property loss & operation downtime with life safety is possible as control efforts are made when fire is in the very beginning period.      

How does the fire and smoke detection system work?

With the use of two types of detection technologies, the system detects particles in the air and sends alerts to the concerned persons with visuals. The first type of technology is an ionisation detector. It uses a small bit of safely shielded radioactive material, which ionises, or electrically charges the air molecules that lie between two metal plates. And due to this, there is a small flow of electric current from one place to another in the air. The particles attract the ions and carry the same when they enter the chamber. There is a reduction of the current. The installed fire and smoke detectors can detect the particles and make the attached alarm sound.   

The second type of detection technology is photoelectric. It acts with the light detection. The detected light reflects the smoke particles from a light beam installed inside the sensing chamber. There is no light strike from the light beam when there are no particles. And there is light detection and registration by the light detector when there is the presence of particles in the sensing chamber. And the alarm sounds loudly.   

Both types of detection technologies can detect fast-burning flaming fires or slow-burning smouldering fires with their individual strengths. Ionisation-based alarms can detect small black soot particles quickly due to their production in a large amount and take away more current from the two plates. On the other hand, photoelectric is more sensitive to particles that are large and light or white-coloured. And so, the particles are more reflective.  

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The NEPA suggests people to have both types of smoke and fire detection technologies in their homes and workplaces. The combination of these two technologies will enhance the protection of lives and property.

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