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Why should I consider a Wireless Fire Alarm System?

Ordinary fire detection and alarm systems need extensive cabling to be installed between all of the system devices and the central control panel. Wireless systems, on the other hand, achieve the same end using radio technology and so don’t need the installation of all that cabling. It’s not difficult to see the benefits of this, especially when it comes to installing a system within an occupied building. But the choice isn’t necessarily as simple as that!

Twenty years ago, wireless fire detection systems were relatively rare and usually restricted to buildings where cable installation would be extremely problematic, such as highly ornate interiors or historic, listed buildings. Reliability and cost issues were, however, commonplace. These days, the technology has advanced dramatically, making wireless systems far more common.

Correctly designed and installed, wireless systems are now highly reliable, as they have to be. They have to comply fully with the same standards as wired systems, and in fact British Standards now specifically dictate criteria for wireless systems. The need for 100% reliability in fire systems, which involves self monitoring and redundancy at a number of levels, means that providing this in a wireless system requires quite advanced technology. Far more specialised, for example, than you would find in a wireless security system or a computer WiFi network.

So the equipment itself is relatively expensive when compared to wired system equipment but this is offset by not requiring expensive cable installation. As wired fire systems need to be installed in specialist, fire resistant cable, this can be significant. These days, wireless systems can compete directly with wired systems on cost so economically they can be considered in a much wider range of applications.

But the consideration of a wireless system is not just about cost. Another important factor is often time. Wireless systems can be installed in a fraction of the time taken to install a wired system. The difference can be dramatic. In certain circumstances, a wireless system can be installed in a day, where a wired system would take weeks, or even longer.

Then there is disruption. Large scale cable installation in a working building is extremely disruptive and inflexible. The needs of the system will dictate where cables need to be installed, not convenience. This may not be a huge concern in a new build or refurbishment scenario, but if it is a stand alone fire system installation that is required then it certainly will be! Wireless system installation on the other hand is quick, straightforward and neat.

Finally, there is appearance. Fire alarms system cables are not small, so in a retrofit situation it may be very difficult to conceal system cabling effectively. In some buildings, this is simply unacceptable. Here, wireless systems come into their own and are by far the best choice.

Once installed, there is very little difference between the two types of system. Often, the end user will not even be aware of which type of system he has. Wireless systems provide all of the technical advantages of “intelligent” analogue addressable fire detection and alarm systems.

Wireless fire detection systems are, however, a very sophisticated technology. When we talk about “correctly designed and installed” this cannot be taken lightly and it is vital that a specialist organisation is employed. Such systems require an in depth knowledge and understanding of radio technology as well as fire system design and installation. Radio surveys, which form a vital part of the system design process, require specialist equipment, training and experience.

Chameleon Systems are specialists in the field of wireless fire alarm and detection systems and are approved suppliers of all three of the major wireless system brands. With a wealth of experience in a wide variety of projects, Chameleon will provide the optimal solution for your particular requirement. To find out more, simply give us a call!



Whatever your fire safety systems requirement, Chameleon Systems are the perfect company to fulfill it.
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