What Is A Fire Detection System?

Fire detection systems provide a means to identify a fire through either manual or automatic methods and then alert building occupants to a fire condition.
Another common function is the transmission of an alarm notification signal to the fire department, control room or other emergency areas. They may also shut down electrical, air handling equipment, or special process operations, and they may be used to initiate suppression systems.

Why Do Buildings Have A Fire Detection System?

The Building Code of Australia volume 1 parts E2.2 and G3.8 detail the mandatory requirement for automatic fire detection systems to be provided in various classes of buildings.

Where Should Fire Detectors Be Located?

Australian Standard AS1670.1 sets out requirements for the design, installation and commissioning of fire detection and alarm systems comprising components conforming to the requirements of the appropriate component Standards.

Detection equipment forming part of a smoke control system must be in accordance with AS1668.1.

Where detection equipment forms part of a special hazard system in must be in accordance with AS4214, the additional requirements are covered in AS1670.5 Fire — Special Hazards.

How Do I Operate A Fire Detection System?

A fire system is generally configured to be activated by an automatic fire sprinkler system or a fire detector or a manual break glass point.

Manual control of the system should only be undertaken by qualified people that have been trained in the use of the panel.

Modern fire panels have a standard control and indicating section that is for use by firefighters and end users. Previously each panel manufacturer could design their own arrangement of controls and indicators.

Maintenance, Inspection & Testing

Western Australia’s building legislation requires owners of Class 2 to Class 9 buildings (which includes residential apartments) to ensure the building’s firefighting services and equipment are maintained.

This is to ensure that safety systems remain capable of performing to a standard not less than they were originally required and commissioned to achieve.

The Building Commission considers the adoption of Australian Standard AS1851-2012 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment as good practice and a means for owners to ensure fire safety measures are serviced at regular frequencies to demonstrate suitable operation, and rectified or repaired if necessary to meet their regulatory obligation on maintenance.

AS1851 requires fire detection systems to be inspected every month. There is an additional inspection and test checklist required to be undertaken six monthly, yearly and five yearly.For convention systems smoke detectors are required to be in situ sensitivity tested ten years after installation and every five years thereafter.

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