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Fire Alarm Systems Overview: We walk you through the purchase process to help you get the Fire Alarm System you need.

Buying a fire alarm system is not something you should take lightly: in addition to the serious safety issues, there are specific legal codes that govern what goes into a commercial fire alarm system. Make sure you're working with a licensed fire alarm dealer before spending a dime.

Fire alarm systems for businesses are much more comprehensive than residential systems, in part due to the national fire code NFPA-72. Before selecting any fire alarm provider, make sure you know what local and state requirements you have to follow in addition to NFPA-72, and check that the dealers you speak to are adequately informed on all of them.

Ready to buy a fire alarm system for your business? We can help. As an unbiased source of buying information, we don't sell any fire alarm systems ourselves. However, we can help you find qualified dealers near you free! Fill out one simple form and you'll be contacted by professional suppliers.

Then you can choose to speak with one of our Purchasing Advisors who can walk you through the process and handle any issues or questions that arise. Our Advisors provide these services and more:

Video Surveillance Equipment

Fire alarm systems typically consist of these elements:

Who's manning the phones?

No matter what combination of sensors and keypads your alarm system uses, the most important single aspect of the whole setup is the monitoring service you use.

When your alarm is tripped, it sends a signal to the monitoring service. An operator there will then call a pre-set phone number to ask if there's trouble. If they don't get the designated contact, or if that person can't confirm that everything is under control, the monitoring service will call the fire department.

These monitoring services have round-the-clock coverage and can respond to trouble calls in just seconds. It's worth taking the time to interview them on the phone and ask about their training policies, response times, and experience – don't just take the word of the hardware salesperson.

Also make sure you get an alarm system that can be used with multiple providers: don't get locked into using one monitoring service because your control panel is proprietary.

False alarms

One of the biggest worries about fire alarm systems that are connected to a monitoring service is the risk of false alarms. Fire departments in many communities will start fining you after a few false alarms – if that's not an incentive to get a reliable system set up, consider that your false alarm could keep firefighters away from other legitimate calls.

Sprinkler systems

Sprinkler systems represent another side of fire safety: combating the effects of the fire once it starts. In most cases, sprinkler systems aren't really designed to extinguish serious fires. Instead, they cool the air and slow the spread of a fire, both of which help increase people's chances of escape.

Sprinkler systems are most commonly installed when a building is built, since they require extensive plumbing work. Updating or installing a new fire alarm system may require an inspection of your sprinkler system, though, so be prepared.

Ready to start talking to fire alarm system dealers? Submit a free request for quote and we'll connect you with the best suppliers in your area.