A fire alarm system upgrade can be a huge investment, especially in a commercial building. However, with newer technology constantly entering the market, it can be easy to keep up to date with the latest measures, systems, and regulations to keep your business safe.
Outdated fire alarm systems can be seriously risky for two reasons: either failing to detect the presence of a fire or causing false alarms, which jeopardize the time of fire and rescue services.
But how do you know when your system is due for a fire alarm system upgrade? In this article, we'll explore everything you need to know about a fire alarm system upgrade.
Importance Of Fire Alarms In Commercial Properties
Why is a fire alarm system necessary for your commercial building or facility? Here are some of the main reasons:
Code compliance: The first reason to ensure your fire alarm is up-to-date is to comply with state policies. Failure to comply can result in reprimands and fines.
Smoke and fire detection: You can't be everywhere in your commercial establishment at the same time to monitor fire hazards and the potential of a fire breakout. A fire alarm alerts you of fire, smoke, or heat in other building areas.
Audible and visual signal: As a life safety system, one of the fundamental purposes of fire alarms is to alert anyone in the building of danger so they can escape before the condition escalates further.
Activate fire suppression system: Fire sprinklers, foam systems, and other automated fire suppressants activate based on information from the fire alarm system. These devices can make the difference between salvaging your building and watching it burn to the ground.
Notification system: Fire alarms alert local authorities and emergency personnel of the situation. Their immediate response is critical for getting a commercial building fire under control.
What are the Risks of an Outdated Fire Alarm System?
The most significant risk of an outdated fire alarm system is that it will not work effectively when you need it most. The end goal of a fire detection system is to alert occupants to the beginnings or presence of a fire, allowing them to react in time before the risk becomes life-threatening.
Poor management and maintenance of fire systems will expose your business to serious risk. 80% of businesses fail within eighteen months of a serious fire incident. In addition to the potential loss of expensive assets, as a business owner, you could be liable for a fire in the workplace. If records show that the correct fire safety measures were not carried out before the incident, you can face hefty fines and possible jail time.
An outdated fire alarm can also become a day-to-day nuisance. False alarms account for the largest number of incidents recorded by the Fire and Rescue services each year. These false alarms become increasingly more common with age, causing disruption to business operations and taking precious time away from rescue services.
Should I Upgrade or Replace my Fire Alarm?
The (NFPA) National Fire Protection Association recommends replacing fire alarms after ten years or in line with the manufacturer's recommendation, which is also generally ten years.
After ten years of use, a detector will have dropped below 70% of its initial light output, which causes it to stop operating within its designed specification. Additional electric components will also begin to change over time, affecting the sensor's sensitivity.
Increased sensitivity will lead to a higher number of false alarms. In contrast, a decreased sensitivity can significantly lower the reaction time in detecting a fire, putting people inside the building at serious risk.
When it comes to fire alarm system upgrade vs. replacement, it's becoming increasingly common that systems that are more than ten years old are no longer manufactured. Due to this, it may prove much more difficult to replace existing alarms as you can no longer access spare or additional parts.
Nonetheless, if you are fortunate enough to find that the products and parts in your system are still available, considering an upgrade is still in your best interest, as you will inevitably find that software updates and patches no longer support older systems.
When Should You Upgrade Your Fire Alarm?
You Have an Outdated Existing Fire Alarm System
If your current fire protection system is over ten years old, consider getting a fire alarm system upgrade. There are advances in fire protection technology that you need, and your existing unit might also be less effective than it was when it was first installed.
As technology changes, older systems become obsolete. The price for parts for obsolete systems can also skyrocket and be difficult to source. Some older technology may no longer be supported in a system of this age, and the manufacturers also stop offering support for these older systems.
Your System Needs More Maintenance
Another sign that you need a fire alarm system upgrade is the need for frequent repairs to keep it functioning. Some older systems become too sensitive, causing frequent false alarms, while others may become too insensitive.
If you have to keep recalibrating your system to ensure it will function properly, it's time to upgrade to a newer option.
You Want New Features
Even when your fire protection system is functioning properly, it is worthwhile to replace it. You might hear about new technology that would be beneficial for your business. In that case, getting a fire alarm system upgrade will be a worthwhile investment.
This is something to consider as new smart technology becomes available. Smart devices can help you manage many different aspects of your business and can be especially beneficial in protecting against fire hazards.
New tech innovations, such as heat sensors, can help activate sprinklers, alarms, and other aspects of your system sooner.
You're Expanding Your Business
Your current fire protection system might serve your business well enough, but that will change if you intend to alter your business.
Building a new addition or expanding your business in other ways will change the effectiveness of your current alarm system. Relying on an older unit to provide expanded protection can be costly.
You shouldn't just add a new fire alarm system to the extra space. You'll want one system that monitors and protects your entire business. That connectivity will help you respond to fire more efficiently, no matter where the fire starts.
Why Should You Upgrade Your Fire Alarm?
If your fire detection system is outdated and needs replacement, you'll reap more benefits from a fire alarm system upgrade than simply replacing the same tech with a newer specification. Here are the top benefits of a fire alarm upgrade:
Old Fire Alarm Systems Can Malfunction
A fire alarm system that has existed for many years may be unreliable and malfunctioning, leading to potential disasters. Malfunctions can be caused by outdated technology, faulty wiring, or normal wear and tear. In any case, a malfunctioning fire alarm system can result in fire damage or even loss of life. A fire alarm system upgrade will ensure that your business has the latest and most reliable technology to detect potential fire hazards.
New Fire Alarm Systems Offer More Advanced Features
New fire alarm systems have more advanced features than older systems. For example, many new systems can detect fires more accurately, reducing false alarms. They also offer remote monitoring, enabling you to track the system's status and receive alerts even when not on site. Some systems can even integrate with your building's automation systems, allowing for seamless control of the fire alarm system and other systems.
You May Need to Comply With New Regulations
Over the years, fire safety regulations have become more stringent. You may face hefty fines or other legal repercussions if your fire alarm system does not meet current regulations. Upgrading your fire alarm system will ensure that you meet all the necessary regulations and that your business is safe from potential legal action.
Upgrading Your Fire Alarm System Can Save You Money
Although upgrading your fire alarm system may seem like a significant expense, it can save you money in the long run. New systems are more energy-efficient, reducing your energy costs. They also require less maintenance, saving you money on repair costs. Additionally, upgrading your fire alarm system can lower your insurance premiums, as insurance companies often offer discounts to businesses with modern fire alarm systems.
After knowing the benefits of a fire alarm system upgrade, don't hesitate to have this essential system installed on your property today! Reach out to us here at A1 Fire & Security Equipment for a reliable and high-quality fire alarm system upgrade service!