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During a daily business or school day, there is no way to know what hazards you will face. Whether accidental or intentional, fires cause great amounts of monetary damage and pose a threat to those in the area. Using a fire alarm system in your structure helps to minimize the overall effect by notifying anyone in the building and surrounding area to call for emergency assistance, preserving more of the structure from burning and ensuring the safety of guests since they have time to leave before the fire worsens. 

Some of the fire alarms offered include the Cooper SM87PBL Push Button Fire Alarm Call Point, the Honeywell Ademco 6160CR-2 Commercial Fire Alarm, and the ADT Fire Alarm and Smoke Monitoring System.

Fire Alarm Systems: What to Look For

As you browse through the various models available, there are some different options within each to make your selection simpler. Each of the models offers different programming options to handle the particular coverage areas. To control these specific spots, the control panels for each system vary to customize your zones and often include emergency buttons. The control systems feature several different types of displays, providing another option that helps you distinguish between the choices.

Programming
Each of the fire alarm systems has different programming built in. For those with specific zones, they vary from as few as three zones to over 200, depending on the available spots for you to install the alarms. Some are already pre-programmed with built-in zones but are expandable to add more in that range. This is a major factor when you consider the size of the area you need to secure. Larger areas will require more covered zones.

Display
All of the fire alarm systems come with a keypad to dial into the various sensors and to program your different areas. However, some are backlit or have LED lighting to make it easier to see what you are typing. Within these keypads, they have different status functions for the whole system. Though not all of the models list the various status functions, the most often used are to activate the system and show it is armed. Other buttons and options they have include an indicator in the event of an actual fire, a power switch, a deactivate button and programmable circuits for your own setup.

Color
In the event of an actual emergency, the color of the main panel helps you and others to find it quickly. The panels with these alarm systems come most popularly in red, leaving a bold color that stands out for fast identification. They are also available in stainless steel or black, which can be more difficult to see than the red.

Having a fire alarm system in your commercial space is imperative to keeping yourself and those around you safe at all times and helping to alert occupants as to when they need to evacuate to stay safe. Take a look at the fire alarm systems offered here to make the best choice for your area.

ADT Review

The ADT Fire Alarm System has the ability to connect with the rest of your ADT security system. It features multiple safety features to keep your patrons and employees from becoming exposed to the dangers of an indoor fire.

This system allows you to integrate fire safety into your existing security setup. The "open platform" setup enables this combination among any ADT system products and is not limited to only the fire system. Each system is enhanced with programming that alerts you to the specific covered area in which the fire is taking place. The fire detector also alerts emergency services and warns those in the building to evacuate as soon as possible.

ADT specializes in "blast mitigation solutions," meaning that it has its fire alarms set up to minimize the amount of damage that is spread from spontaneous explosions of debris and glass. The alarms also feature carbon monoxide detectors to minimize exposure to poisonous gases that are damaging to your lungs.

The control panel of the fire alarm system features a keypad to input your programming information. It uses a backlit LED display. However, any further information regarding the system or setup must be discussed directly with an ADT small business representative for further inquiries or quotes. ADT provides onsite and over-the-phone consultations to get the right fire system to fit your needs. Since the fire alarm control panel integrates with your existing system (if you have one), the programming covers the same amount of zones. When you get your quote, the business representative will help you accommodate the number of zones you need, which is determined by your business size.

With business fire alarms and security systems, ADT's blended systems have specific coverage solutions for retail stores, restaurants, hospitals and home offices that are additional to their fire safety setup. Each zone that you program uses sensors to monitor activity, both for potential fires and additional security. In the event of an emergency, the system automatically dials the local fire department and other emergency personnel. An audible alarm sounds if any of the fire sensors are tripped so those around the affected area can follow procedures to get to safety.

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Cooper Review

The SM87PBL Push Button Fire Alarm Call Point system has a variety of features and customizable options. The manufacturing company, Cooper Industries, offers a range of alarms and other output field devices that work with this emergency system. However, it is possible to install the device and connect it to your existing system.

These push button stations function in a host of industries that handle hazardous materials. They can withstand a variety of corrosive chemicals, high temperatures and other materials. This engineering ensures that the device always functions, even under harsh conditions or during a hazardous emergency. The system works as a fire alarm or a call point for any form of crisis. The SM87PBL has a variety of customizable options, including how the device activates, size, materials and housing colors.

You can choose between a normal push button or break glass and key switch for the activation method of your fire alarm system. The push button includes an optional cover that protects from accidental activation. The break glass is plastic "glass," which makes it breakable without much force and safe to touch. The force from a fingertip is capable of breaking it. The key switch protects against accidental button presses because you need to insert the key to activate. The key attaches to the device with a short cable.

The type of fire alarm system you choose will determine the size of the call point box. On average, the devices are a little less than 5 x 2.5 inches. These dimensions vary depending on the chosen activation method. The materials used in constructing the fire detector can be stainless steel, alloy metal or corrosive-free GRP (Glass Reinforced Polyester). The weight of the device changes by material. They weigh between 2.5 pounds (corrosive-free GRP) to 8.3 pounds (steel). There is also an optional LED indicator to signal when the system activates.

Due to their many applications in hazardous material industries, these fire alarms carry worldwide safety certifications. They are compatible with metric cable and NPT (National Pipe Thread) connections to satisfy US and international standards. The devices feature both in-line and end-of-line resistors, which detect and protect the system from having a short in its circuit. Pricing for this system varies from building to building. To receive an accurate price, you have to contact a Cooper Industries certified technician in your area and get a quote.

Overall, the SM87PBL Push Button Fire Alarm Call Point comes with a lot of different options; carries worldwide certifications; and is protected against corrosive materials, extreme heat and short-circuiting. However, you have to receive a quote to know the exact cost, and there may not be a technician in your area who works with these systems.

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Deelat Review

Deelat Industrial USA, also known as Boon Trading Company, is a U.S.-based vendor of branded and private-label products for office spaces, manufacturing warehouses and other industrial-based companies. It offers a midrange solution, the Conventional Fire Alarm Control Panel FD1142913, for protecting your commercial space from fires.

This fire alarm panel outputs high voltage and current. Although this spikes electricity costs, it creates greater smoke and fire detection in your building because the panel is receiving high levels of power. These additional energy costs are something you may want to consider in your purchasing decision. The system operates on 24 volts.

The D1142913 system offers eight zones of protection. Zones represent areas where smoke or fire is detected. Strategically placing these zones throughout your commercial business or residential property can maximize the amount of coverage that the fire alarm system provides. The number of regions you'll need to cover depends on the square footage of the space and the division of that space into rooms. Deelat sells a selection of smoke detectors and other items that work with the Conventional Fire Alarm Control Panel D1142913. If you have an existing fire alarm system and are looking for a new control panel, you may want to contact the company directly to make sure that it will be compatible with your existing fire detectors.

The product's red panel has a see-through glass door that locks and unlocks with a key. The box is painted red like a fire extinguisher to indicate that it is part of the fire prevention system for the building. The glass door allows you to see the status of the system without having to unlock and open the door each time. The panel displays a range of information about your fire alarm system. The display will notify you if your system is armed or needs maintenance. It also displays light indicators for each zone and the overall status of the system. If there is a problem with your device, this is a helpful way to find out where the problem is located.

Deelat's Conventional Fire Alarm Control Panel #D1142913 is a mid-range solution for commercial fire protection. Its modular display is clearly visible and has light indicators to show you the status of your system. However, it uses an abundance of power to maximize its protection efforts. These extra costs for electricity come at an additional cost to you. Also, it may not be compatible with an existing system.

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Edwards Signaling Review

The Edwards Signaling E-FSC 3-Zone Conventional Fire Alarm is a straightforward fire alarm system that can support up to three zones. It is designed for smaller commercial buildings, such as offices, retail businesses and schools. This conventional alarm control panel features an integrated DACT/Dialer, serial remote relay modules and serial annunciator modules that are microprocessor controlled.

This fire alarm includes a variety of features designed to simplify operation, installation and maintenance, including front panel programming, selectable IDC and NAC types, and one-person walk testing. You can reset the system, run drills, silence the alarm, start an audible walk test, disable or enable the common alarm relay, and city tie NAC types from the cabinet. It also has a fully integrated upload and download feature that lets you monitor it, communicate with it and program it remotely with a PC.

This model is suitable for retrofitting old systems or new installation. It supports a variety of detectors, including ESL 400, 500 and 700 series detectors and Edwards ED2M, SC and 2400 series detectors. It has three Class B initiating device circuits and two Class B notification appliance circuits that can support numerous initiating and notification devices.

This alarm has a large, red cabinet (also available in gray) that measures 3.75 x 14.23 x 19.5 inches tall. It houses the alarm panel and up to two 7Ah batteries for backup power in the event of a power failure. The fire detector can be surface mounted or semi-flush mounted with the included semi-flush trim ring. The panel has an LCD that displays the current functional condition of the control panel (if a dialer is installed). It also has LEDs that display system statuses for the alarm, system trouble, supervisory (SUP), power, waterflow, disabled IDC, NAC, remote relay module or dialer, annunciator trouble, battery trouble, ground fault, and service detector.

The Edwards Signaling E-FSC 3-Zone Conventional Fire Alarm is a fire alarm system designed for smaller buildings. It has the functionality needed to protect a small business, school or home. It can be used to retrofit existing equipment or it can be installed with new equipment. If you have more than three zones, you will need to upgrade to a larger system, such as the E-FSC 5 Zone or 10 Zone model.

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Fire-Lite Review

The Fire-Lite MS-4 Conventional Fire Alarm System with Control Panels oversees multiple zones in case of fire. It is compatible with a large range of models, including ones from Edwards, Fenwal, Fire-Lite and Simplex.

This fire alarm system by Fire-Lite allows you to monitor up to four zones and is compatible with a variety of fire detector models from different manufacturers. It connects with two- and four-wire smoke detectors in any of the four designated zones. Of those four zones, use one to program combo, supervisory and water flow. If one transformer is used with this setup, it has a three-amp usable current. However, if you integrate a second transformer, the amps double. If you need to add more to the fire alarm system, this setup allows you to select from optional compatible equipment, like the 4XTMF transmitter module, which plugs directly into the system; a 4XLMF module to support LED annunciators; or 4XZMF zone relay module, which also plugs in. It functions as both a class A (four-wire) and a class B (two-wire) alarm system, securing a larger coverage area for added safety.

The display of this fire alarm features backlighting to make it easier to see the digital lettering. When one of the zones needs to alert the main control panel of a potential fire, the corresponding zone uses a blinking LED light to notify the user. As each zone is activated, those subsequent LED lights blink as well. There are LED indicators in each zone for the fire alarm, supervisory alerts, trouble and maintenance. Indicators also show when the system is connected to AC power or if the status changes to NAC Disable, Zone Disable, NAC Fault, System Trouble or Power Trouble. On the circuit board, it has blinking LED lights to notify of issues with the battery or the charger.

To help it stand out in your building, the control panel is mostly red, making it very apparent against a variety of common neutral tones. The center of the panel is black where the keypad is located and features a digital display. The lock on the front of the panel keeps intruders and unauthorized personnel from tampering with the wiring and settings on the device.

The Fire-Lite system is covered under a three-year warranty, protecting the material and labor of the manufacturer. In order to utilize the warranty, it must have been maintained properly and the distributor must submit the proper authorization form to get the product fixed or replaced. It comes with a user's manual but additional documents about installation and care are available for free download from the manufacturer's website.

The Fire-Lite MS-4 Conventional Fire Alarm covers a small range of zones, which is helpful for an office building or a small school. Since it is compatible with many different manufacturers, you have the option to mix and match for a customized approach to safety.

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Honeywell Ademco Review

The Honeywell Ademco 6100CR-2 Commercial Fire Alarm functions with an existing Honeywell fire alarm system. It may not be compatible with other systems. The keypad connects to the fire control panels and acts as a central hub, allowing you to carry out basic functions like arming, disarming and checking on the system from one area.

This system's control panel has four programmable buttons that can carry out different functions. Their capabilities offer the ability to notify your local fire station or police department by pressing a single key. You can also create a panic button and alarms for other ends of the building.

In addition, there is a numerical keypad that allows you to enter the pass code to arm or disarm the system. These keys have backlighting that is always on for improved visibility. This design allows you locate the panel and disarm the alarm, even in a low-light area. To reach the number pad, you must flip up the cover of the panel by hand. This panel protects the keys from being pressed by accident.

The LCD display of this fire detector illuminates to make it display in the dark. The backlight will activate when you press any key on the panel or when the alarm sounds. The screen lists prompts that allow you navigate the menus. It also notifies you when the status has been correctly armed or disarmed.

The Honeywell Ademco 1600CR-2 Commercial Fire Alarm has seven statuses or modes that it uses. The fire alarm system will indicate its status by flashing one of seven color LED lights, each of which is labeled with the status that it indicates. Green lights let you know the device has power and is ready. If the panel is in silenced or supervisory mode, or if there is an issue with the system, the panel will display yellow LED lights. In the event of a fire, a red indicator will flash. The panel will also blink red when the device is armed.

The alarm panel's dimensions are 5.25 x 7.5 x 1.3 inches. It mounts to the wall and includes the mounting kit, instructions and a wiring guide for do-it-yourself installation.

In summation, the Honeywell Ademco 6160CR-2 Commercial Fire Alarm is a low-cost solution for protecting a large commercial space from fire. However, it is only compatible with a Honeywell alarm system. If you do not already have such a system, the price tag will increase substantially. The company does offer kits that include this device and others to create a complete system.

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Napco Review

The Napco Commercial Firewolf 128pt 24V Intelligent Addressable Commercial Fire System Kit is a complete fire alarm system that is flexible and robust. It can support up to 255 zones and supports conventional legacy devices and all types and gauges of existing wiring, so you can use it to upgrade your old setup without replacing the rest of your notification equipment or rewiring your entire system.

It has inputs to monitor a large variety of initiating devices and up to 255 zones. You can use it to monitor as many as two 126 signal line circuits (SLC Loops) and a four-wire fire bus. It supports a variety of SLC fire alarm devices, including analog smoke detector, analog heat detectors, duct detectors, pull stations, short circuit isolators and conventional zone modules, as well as conventional 1-4 zone expansion options. It also supports commercial wireless fire devices, such as wireless smoke detectors, wireless contact transmitters (for water flow, pull stations or tamper) and wireless heat detectors.

This fire detector has 96 outputs with built-in sync, strobe and horn protocol that allows you to silence audible alarms while maintaining visual strobes without the use of additional equipment.

This fire alarm system has everything needed to protect large buildings and small campuses. It includes a 7 amp, 24-volt power supply; built-in horn/strobe sync modules (on each NAC); a dual on-board serial port; and a built-in dual line communicator. It includes one SLC loop card with the option to add a second. It also has Quickloader software for uploading and downloading so it can generate a smoke obscuration report locally through a PC or printer or remotely.

This fire alarm has a large, red locking cabinet with a reversible door. The cabinet base is 14.25 x 25 inches with a reversible door and enough space to house up to 32Ah of backup battery power. The battery shelves are removable so you can adjust them to use a variety of 24-volt battery configurations to power the unit in the event of a power failure, including pairs of 7Ah, 7.5Ah or 8Ah batteries.

The Napco Commercial Firewolf 128pt 24V Intelligent Addressable Commercial Fire System Kit is a powerful fire alarm system. It is flexible enough to be used with existing and legacy equipment and can be used to monitor a variety of equipment in large buildings. It is a complex system that can handle a lot, but it is more complex than necessary for smaller buildings or simpler systems.

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Potter's New Review

The Potter's New PFC-6006 Sprinkler Monitoring System is a step up from simple fire sprinkler monitors. It is a complete fire alarm system that monitors your fire sprinkler system, and it comes with an on-board dual-line alarm dialer, a built-in digital alarm communication transmitter (DACT) and IP capability. It can be synchronized with products from Potter/AMSECO, Gentex, Wheelock and System Sensor, so you can use it with a variety of detection systems.

This fire alarm system can monitor up to six zones through six inputs. The first input can be used for either a Class A or Class B sprinkler flow input while the other inputs can be used for a variety of needs, including two-wire smoke detection fire alarms. It can house up to two 18-amp-hour, 12-volt DC batteries, so it can continue to operate in the event of a power failure for slightly more than 24 hours.

This system can communicate over telephone lines or IP, meeting fire codes that require safeguarding phone-line-communication fire alarms with an alternate technology. The dual-line alarm dialer is capable of notifying emergency services and personnel in the event that the alarm is triggered. IP connectivity offers a backup should the telephone system fail. You can also use the IP option to communicate with the panel via email to download configuration files or to get status updates. You can also use the IP feature to send reminders when a test or inspection is due.

The fire detector's panel has a bright red cabinet with a key lock. The cabinet is made of 18-gauge sheet steel and has a locking, hinged door. Measuring 18.5 x 14.5 x 4.75 inches, this fire alarm system features a compact design for installation in small indoor spaces. Its cabinet has a window that allows you to view the LCD display and LED indicators, and the keypad is accessible by opening the cabinet.

The Potter's New PFC-6006 Sprinkler Monitoring System is a good choice for premises that have fire sprinklers but no fire alarm system. This model can serve as both a sprinkler monitor and alarm so you don't need to have two separate systems to protect your buildings. It has enough inputs to monitor multiple zones, and the IP connectivity offers a convenient way to get status updates and inspection reminders.

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Siemens Review

The SXL Conventional Fire Alarm with Panel TXR-320 by Siemens is a fire safety solution for large, commercial-sized buildings, such as department stores, manufacturing warehouses or office space. This panel control has a variety of features that aim to alert and protect you from a potentially devastating fire.

This fire alarm system is capable of servicing a minimum of four zones or areas. There are options to expand this range to cover up to eight zones. The number of zones required will depend on the square feet that you need protected and how that space divides into separate rooms. The panel is compatible with Siemens' Series 3 and Series 11 fire detectors and safety accessories. You must purchase these apart from the panel itself at an additional cost.

The system has multiple safety features to ensure that its service is never interrupted. The device supervises its own circuit and has testing capabilities that make sure it does not malfunction when you need it most. In the event of a power outage, the alarm system has battery backup options. You choose between 24-hour and 60-hour backup power. This auxiliary power operates on 3 amps, and the panel itself has a 50-hertz power supply option that runs on 220, 230 or 240 volts of electrical current.

If a fire is detected, the emergency fire alarm will begin to sound. This horn will signal to the building occupants to evacuate. If it is safe to reach the SXL Conventional Fire Alarm with Panel TXR-320, the screen will indicate which zone is detecting the fire. This may allow you to locate and extinguish the problem before it becomes a crisis. After any detected event, the system keeps a record that details what zone the problem originated from and other information.

These records and more are available on a Siemens security app for a smartphone or mobile device. This app allows you to check the status of your fire alarm system and arm it remotely. During an emergency, it notifies you and reports which zone detected the source of the problem. All of the systems reports are available as well. Even in a total loss fire, your mobile device app will have a record saved of the incident. These reports help you discover the source, handle insurance claims and more.

The SXL Conventional Fire Alarm with Panel TXR-320 is a commercial fire safety system that works with Siemens Series 3 and 11 fire detectors and accessories. The system has backup power in case of power outages and a mobile app to access your system remotely. To receive accurate pricing, you need to consult a Siemens technician and receive a quote.

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Silent Knight Review

The Silent Knight SK-5208 by Honeywell is an expandable fire detector system that allows you to cover up to 30 zones with proper programming. It features an LCD display and a full keyboard to calibrate each area of your building so you can protect yourself and guests from the potential damages of a fire.

This fire alarm system comes with 10 zones already built in, but the included manual shows you how to expand that to up to 30 zones. These extensions from the original zones can be done remotely using supervised expanders and I/O modules. It connects with two- and four-wire smoke detectors in any of the zones, covering both class A and B alarm systems for the maximum amount of coverage in the area. The panel is programmed to automatically link up with other systems, including AMSECO, Gentex, Faraday, System Sensor and Wheelock.

The display of this fire alarm's panel is an LCD screen. The control panel is based on the design of a microprocessor, like those found in home computers or cell phones, for a customized setup of your facility's fire security. It uses raised keys so you have less room for error when typing to alert emergency services or programming the unit. The status module for the panel doesn't need to be mounted near the panel. For added security, the fire alarm system can be placed up to 1,500 feet away to avoid tampering by possible intruders. Within the panel is a dialer to call out for emergency services in the event of a fire. Over the screen, there is a clear panel to protect the digital display. However, you are still able to access the "reset" or "silence" functions.

To help it stand out in your building, the control panel of this fire alarm system is mostly red. The center of the panel is black where the keypad is located and features a digital display. The lock on the front of the panel keeps unauthorized personnel from tampering with the wiring and settings on the device.

The Honeywell fire alarm comes with a three-year warranty that protects against material and manufacturing issues. To be covered, the unit must have been maintained and the distributor must submit authorization for repair or replacement. The fire detector comes with a user's manual, but you can download additional documentation for free online.

The Silent Knight SK-5208 by Honeywell offers an extended panel to cover a large array of zones, making it ideal for an area that requires a greater amount of coverage. The panel is clear and simple with raised keys to leave less room for programming errors.

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