What is an Addressable Fire Alarm System?
An addressable fire alarm system uses sophisticated technology to pinpoint a fire’s exact location. Every device is connected and communicates continuously with each other and a central monitoring station. They use digital signals to transfer vital information such as system health, device type, location, smoke density, etc.

Hospitals, schools, industrial facilities, and larger establishments need a customizable and scalable fire alarm to better protect their people, property, and premises. The basic capabilities of conventional fire alarms will not provide the degree of protection needed to ensure safety in large, complex buildings.

This is where an addressable fire alarm system comes into play.

The only option for larger buildings, these intelligent systems offer numerous safety-enhancing benefits and can pinpoint the exact location of a fire. Let’s explore what an addressable fire alarm system is and the five key benefits of using one.
How Does an Addressable Fire Alarm Work?

An addressable fire alarm is a commercial fire alarm system that uses sophisticated technology to detect and pinpoint a fire’s exact location. Every device in an addressable system is connected and communicates continuously with each other and a central monitoring station. They use digital signals to transfer vital information such as
Addressable fire alarm systems are designed using a loop configuration. These loop circuits called signaling line circuits (SLC), can support numerous initiating devices and notification appliances. Over 200 devices can be attached to a single loop with complex systems utilizing multiple SLC loops. Addressable systems typically include:
Each component in an addressable fire alarm loop has its own electronic address or serial number assigned to it so that malfunctions can be identified quickly and precisely. When an attached device activates, the unique code displays on the main control panel – helping to determine which type of device it is and where in the facility it is located. Since the control panel continually communicates with attached devices, technicians can identify system faults quickly and resolve issues more efficiently
5 Benefits of An Addressable Fire Alarm System

While more expensive, addressable fire alarm systems offer several advantages over their conventional counterpart – particularly in larger buildings or complexes. If you’re considering investing in an addressable system, here’s a closer look at the benefits.

  1. Faster response times – The detailed information provided by an addressable fire alarm panel enables quicker response times – as responders can arrive prepared with the exact cause and location of a detected fire.
  2. Improved reliability – Addressable systems are less susceptible to false alarms from malfunctioning detectors and other issues that could cause unnecessary disruption.
  3. Scalability – Compared to conventional systems, addressable systems require less cabling and can monitor more devices in a single loop — making it ideal for larger commercial buildings.
  4. Greater flexibility – Addressable systems are highly customizable and can be programmed to perform specific functions such as closing fire doors, activating sprinklers, and shutting off HVAC systems to prevent circulating smoke. They allow you to adjust settings and create custom thresholds that better suit your particular environment.
  5. Simplified Maintenance – Since an addressable system can pinpoint individual detectors that need servicing or repairs, authorized technicians can complete maintenance tasks more efficiently – lowering labor costs over time.
    Ready to Install an Addressable Fire Alarm System?

An addressable fire alarm provides many advantages, making it a desirable option for larger commercial and industrial facilities. With its reliable detection capabilities, simplified maintenance needs, and increased safety features, it’s easy to see why investing in an addressable system is worth the price tag.

Businesses should partner with an experienced fire protection company for addressable fire alarm system design, installation, maintenance, and monitoring. Trained technicians will work with you to create a plan to migrate your outdated fire alarms to newer, addressable systems often recommended by the local AHJ.
How Can Addressable Fire Alarm Systems Reduce False Alarms?

False alarms cause interruptions in business activity and unnecessary emergency responses by local authorities. Sometimes accumulations of dust and grime can set off an alarm. With addressable, connected alarm systems, each device is monitored from a central location. If dust accumulations begin to affect the atmosphere around the sensors, a warning is transmitted to the central control area. The location is noted, and the device can be serviced without the alarm ever sounding.
Reliability of Addressable Fire Alarms Systems

Addressable fire alarm systems are wired in a loop with each device directly connected to the central addressable fire alarm control panel. If a disruption should result from a break in a wire or the destruction of one or more device, the remaining sensors and alarms continue to function and communicate with the control panel.
Testing and Monitoring Each Device

Addressable fire alarm systems allow for routine monitoring of the health of each connected device. Alarms will transmit a signal to indicate weakness or malfunction of any component. The source of the problem is identifiable by address and can be serviced easily. The ability to self-diagnose and repair ensures the system will properly function when needed. With independently wired alarms, each device must be checked separately to ensure functionality, and neglect can result in disaster.
Should You Install an Addressable Fire Alarm Control Panel and System?

Addressable fire alarm control panels with detection, notification and communications capability are designed with the latest technology. Reverting to decades-old processes and equipment to protect the occupants and assets within a large building or campus puts everyone at greater risk than necessary. The technology facilitates quicker detection, faster recognition, smoother evacuations, and guides firefighters to the precise location of the problem sooner. Whether designing a new building or initiating a retrofit of all security systems, an addressable fire alarm system is the most important element.

Whether a new installation or retrofit, an addressable fire alarm control panel and all of the necessary detection and notification devices require less wiring than with conventional independent alarm systems. The savings in installation alone will offset some of the cost of installing an addressable system.
NOTIFIER™️ by Honeywell Addressable Fire Alarm Control Panelhoneywell-security

Honeywell has been a leader in new technologies for over a century. As a specialist in fire safety devices, Honeywell’s NOTIFIER has a range of addressable control panels, alarms, and ancillary devices which provide complete coverage and central monitoring throughout a large building.

The NOTIFIER approach is to provide a holistic, fully integrated fire protection system for every building. Network devices detect the presence of smoke or gas, notify the central monitoring personnel, trigger notification devices that direct evacuation with audible and visual messages, while simultaneously alerting emergency agencies and monitoring services.

NOTIFIER addressable fire alarm control panel models are designed to manage fire safety in many different types of buildings and capacities. The model lines include:

Each of these devices is programmable to perform as needed. Many ancillary devices complement the control panel and essential detection and notification devices. Annunciators, strobes, warning bells, speakers, and LED-directional indicators complete the system to assist in making occupants aware of the problem and initiating evacuation.

Closed-circuit TV cameras provide additional security by providing real-time visual assistance for determining the progress of a fire or other security challenge. The cameras can also identify the location of any individual who may be trapped or unconscious within the building. All of these elements will be connected to the central control monitoring station.
High Rise Security Systems in Chicago

Building owners and managers should consult with a professional certified fire alarm company to learn about addressable fire alarm control panels, detection and notification devices. In Chicago, High Rise Security Systems experts are licensed and trained to design, install, maintain, and monitor addressable fire alarm systems. The company has successfully provided fire and safety support for all types of buildings including hospitals, residential and commercial high-rise buildings, and university campuses.

Some long-term educational customers include the University of Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago Campus, College of DuPage, and Chicago Public Schools. Medical center clients include Mercy Hospital, Cigna Healthcare, and others.

In the hospitality industry, HRSS provides fire safety support for McDonald’s and Ronald McDonald’s Children’s Charities, the Chicago Cubs, Navy Pier as well as several convention centers and many other hotels and restaurants.

High Rise Security is fully certified by NICET (National Institute of Certification in Engineering Technologies) and UL (United Laboratories). HRSS provides complete support for the design, installation and ongoing maintenance of the addressable fire control panel and ancillary devices.

Using computer-aided design technology, HRSS experts can integrate a full menu of fire detection and notification devices. The design capability provides a 3-dimensional replication of the entire facility to determine precise locations for detection and alarm devices, as well as optimal and secondary evacuation routes. A NOTIFIER addressable fire alarm control panel and central control monitoring site will provide the utmost security for occupants and the building.

Beyond the design and installation, High Rise Security technicians will continue to test and maintain the fire safety systems to ensure maximum performance.
Why an Addressable Fire Alarm System?

An addressable fire alarm system is one in which all fire and smoke detection devices in a system are connected and communicate both with each other and a central control monitoring location. This interconnectivity allows the control personnel to identify the location or “address” where the initial detection occurred. The information directs the emergency response team to pinpoint their efforts immediately to the precise location of the developing problem.

Linking all devices offers several advantages that are not possible with traditional independent fire alarms. Some of the benefits of an addressable system are:

How Does an Addressable Fire Alarm System Work?

Each detection and notification device is connected to each other. Moreover, each device is connected directly to the central addressable fire alarm control panel which is continually sending messages to check on the functionality of each instrument. In response, each element sends back a report that informs the control panel of its current health. If for any reason a device does not respond, the control panel indicates a problem at that particular address. Authorized technicians from the fire alarm maintenance company can immediately proceed to the location, fix or replace the problem device, and the issue is solved.
Quick Recognition Outbreak Location

Direct identification of the site of the outbreak is beneficial for several reasons. Occupants can initiate immediate evacuation from the adjacent areas while others receive notification to evacuate in the opposite direction from that location to prevent crowding.
Configuring an Addressable Fire Alarm Control System

An additional advantage of an addressable fire alarm system is that elements can be programmed to respond in particular ways with specific responses. Systems can be programmed to create a “cause and effect” response. In large buildings with several stories, wings or sections, it is possible to program alarms that are some distance away from the activated alarm to delay sounding to evacuate the building in orderly sequences.
An addressable fire alarm system works by having every detection and notification device connected to each other and to the addressable fire alarm control panel. An addressable system sends digital signals in binary code, as opposed to a conventional fire alarm system which operates through electrical currents. Addressable systems operate like a computer and convert variations in voltage to binary code, various combinations of zeros and ones.

This allows for an addressable fire alarm system to transfer critical information to the control panel with a broader range of information. An addressable system can pinpoint the exact location of smoke or fire, providing an increased level of safety and reliability.
Customization of Addressable Fire Alarm Systems

Because an addressable fire alarm system consists of several devices all individually identified and connected, advanced configuration allows for greater flexibility. Various protocols can be established for any mix of detection devices, input, or output modules. Addressable fire alarm control panels employ Signaling Line Currents, commonly referred to as SLC loops or just loops, allowing monitoring of just a few devices to several hundred. More complex fire alarm systems could employ multiple Signaling Line Currents.

Addressable systems can be customized with devices in specific areas programmed with different thresholds depending on their location. The addressable control panel recognizes the individual address of each device on the SLC. Typical initiating devices on an addressable system include
Benefits of Addressable Fire Alarms

Quick recognition of detection location provides many benefits such as helping first responders know exactly where to go and providing quick evacuation in the most jeopardized and adjacent areas. This quicker response to saving lives has to be the greatest benefit of addressable fire alarm systems. Additional benefits of addressable fire alarm systems over conventional systems include improved reliability and reduced false alarms.

Addressable systems also help to diagnose any component malfunction with self-monitoring capabilities for quicker repairs and consistent protection. While a conventional system may cost less up front, an addressable system could be less costly to install with less expenses for wiring, and can provide for easier, less expensive upgrades and maintenance in the future. With the flexibility and scalability of addressable systems, you can easily add new zones without disrupting operation.
HRSS Assists in Evaluating Addressable Alarm Systems

High Rise Security Systems assists business owners, property managers and contractors in evaluating the best type of commercial fire alarm system. We offer more than 30 years of experience in fire alarm system design, fire and life safety system consulting, providing quality UL listed fire alarm system equipment and ensuring code compliance. We are NICET certified and experienced in all building regulations including the International Building Code (IBC), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and the city of Chicago Building Code regulations.

HRSS is recognized as a leading provider of fire alarm and life safety systems to businesses in commercial properties in and around Chicago. We offer comprehensive fire and life safety services including CAD design, UL listed equipment, inspections, testing, maintenance, repair, and monitoring 24/7/365. Contact us to learn more about the benefits and value provided with a commercial addressable fire alarm system
What is an addressable fire alarm system?

Addressable fire alarm systems, like other types, consist of devices such as detectors, call points and sounders. Each device has a unique address which is allocated either by:

All devices are connected to the main control panel via one or multiple wire loops.
How do addressable systems work?

When an alarm or status report is received, the address of the activated device displays on the main control panel. This means the exact location of the device can be pinpointed minimising the time required for validating the activation and taking action.
Who requires an addressable fire alarm system?

The ability to identify the exact location of triggered devices makes addressable fire alarm systems an ideal and intelligent solution for large commercial premises that require many devices spread across an extensive space such as hotels, warehouses and office buildings. Care and nursing homes require an addressable system if they have more than 10 people sleeping there (including staff) at any one time to comply with BS 5839-1:2017.
How reliable are addressable systems?

The ability to accurately pinpoint devices once activated using their addresses minimises the time required to locate and validate an alarm. The extra time afforded by an addressable system will minimise the likelihood of disruption caused by false alarms and reduce risk when responding to real threats.

Devices in an addressable fire alarm system use the same wire loops that connect to the main control panel at either end. If the loop is damaged or severed, the other end is still connected to the control panel. Devices in a conventional system are usually connected to the control panel via individual wires. If an individual wire is damaged, the device is no longer connected to the control panel. This is why addressable fire alarm systems are more reliable.
Installation, wiring and cost

The loops used to connect the devices on an addressable system typically use less wiring. This means addressable fire alarm systems are the most cost-effective for scaling and cheaper to install than other types such as conventional systems that require more wiring. Having said that, addressable control panels are usually more expensive, that’s why an addressable system is more suited for larger premises.
Addressable fire control panels

Here are some examples of addressable control panels that we commonly work with when delivering our fire alarm system services.
Are addressable fire alarm systems intelligent?

Addressable systems are intelligent by design and programming. The control panel can be programmed to take a specific action following an alarm activation. This type of programming is commonly known as ‘cause and effect’.

Double knock or evacuation of certain zones following the activation of multiple detectors are common strategies that are programmed into addressable fire alarm control panels.

Furthermore, addressable control panels monitor each device on the system individually. As a result, the panel can make intelligent decisions based on the individual data it receives from each device.
Is an addressable fire alarm system analogue or digital?

Addressable fire alarm systems use both analogue and digital technology. Analogue addressable, digital addressable or just addressable is essentially the same thing, there is no difference.

Addressable system detectors use analogue sensor technology to detect an increase in heat or smoke in a room. This analogue data is then converted into digital data before being sent to the main control panel. This is required because control panel processors understand binary code, not analogue signals. For example, addressable panels use digital displays to detail devices that have been triggered. Such displays require digital data.
What is a fully addressable fire alarm system?

Fire alarm systems are either addressable or another type, there is no middle ground. Therefore, there is no such thing as a fully addressable fire alarm system.

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