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What are the differences between commercial fire alarms and residential fire alarms?

Posted on: December 14, 2012

If you own or operate a business in Maryland, Washington, DC, or Northern Virginia, it’s important you protect your building, your employees, and your customers from potential fires—the most common of all business disasters. Every year, fires cause thousands of deaths and injuries and billions of dollars in damage, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Over 6,000 workplace fires occur each year, injuring some 17,000 people and causing over $10 billion in damage.

With workplace fires, early detection is vital—the first five minutes are crucial. During this time, a properly installed commercial fire alarm system will quickly detect the fire and sound off an alarm to notify fire-fighting forces of the fire.

Here at Kolb Electric, we have years of experience completing commercial fire alarm installations in MD, VA, and DC. While commercial fire alarm systems serve the same basic function as residential alarms, they have several additions that allow them to handle the complexities of a large building space with a lot of people.

Commercial Fire Alarm Features

Commercial fire alarms in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC buildings include:

Pull stations – These devices are located by the exits of a building or facility, and they allow people to sound the alarm. As you can imagine, in a large building that includes many people—and many exits—this is an important addition to commercial fire alarm systems.

Horn strobe systems – Understandably so, commercial fire alarms must rely on a different method of notification compared to residential fire alarms. Unlike residential fire alarms, commercial fire alarm systems require both visual and auditory alarms.

Annunciator panels – If you own or operate a large business in the DC area, you may need to install an annunciator panel. Each fire alarm in your building will relay information to the annunciator’s control panels. With annunciator panels, firefighters will know exactly which devices are going off, leading them directly to the fire. Annunciator panels also prevent the fire department from responding to false alarms, and they can alert the user to system failures.

If you have more questions about the features and specifications of commercial fire alarm systems, please contact us. We can complete a full commercial fire alarm installation for your business in the Maryland, Northern Virginia, and DC Metropolitan area.

Check out some other tips on preventing electrical fires>>

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