Hard Fire Suppression Systems Blog

Types of Fire Alarms

Hard Fire specializes in fire alarm systems in Ohio, so we thought we would take the time to discuss the two most common types of fire alarms available today: ionization fire alarms and photoelectric fire alarms. Both of them have their uses and advantages, and most fire alarm systems will use both in order to ensure the best fire protection possible.

Ionization Fire Alarms

These types of fire alarms are usually more responsive to flaming fires. They have a small amount of a radioactive material (called Americium-241) that is in between two electrically charged plates. These plates are called electrodes and they are connected to a battery. These electrodes ionize the air and cause electric currents to flow between the two plates. If smoke enters that chamber, it will disrupt that flow of ions and that will trigger the fire alarm.

Photoelectric Fire Alarms

Sometimes when a fire breaks out, it does not instantly burst into flames. Fires can smolder for quite some time before spreading. Photoelectric fire alarms respond to these types of fires by aiming an LED light in a straight line into a sensing chamber. If smoke gets into the chamber, the particles of the smoke will interrupt that light beam and scatter it into different directions. Some of that LED light will go toward the light sensor and trigger the alarm to go off.

If the batteries in the alarm are low, the alarm will start to chirp. But that chirping noise is different than the sound the fire alarm makes when it detects a fire, so people know it is going off because of low batteries and not because there is a fire.

Both types of alarms should be used in most fire alarm systems to ensure there is adequate coverage since fires can break out either instantly or smolder for awhile. There are also alarms on the market that combine both of these technologies.

The main purpose of fire alarms is to alert the building’s occupants that there is a fire and they need to evacuate as soon as possible. Using both types of these alarms ensures that, no matter how the fire has started or how quickly it is spreading, there will be an alarm that detects it and sounds a warning.

If you would like more information on fire alarm systems in Ohio, call Hard Fire at 1-800-848-1301 or 614-882-2990 or you can Contact Us.

What to Do after A Fire Alarm Sounds

If the worst happens and a fire breaks out in your commercial building, if you have one of our fire protection systems, an alarm of some sort will sound and there will be other notifications that the alarm has gone off. The notifications you get will depend on the type of system you have installed. But what do you do after you hear the fire alarm? Here are a few tips. And when you want more information about fire protection systems in Cleveland and the surrounding areas, give us a call.

One of the best things you can do after we install one of our fire protection systems is to come up with an evacuation plan for your building. Make sure that all of your building’s tenants or your employees know where the stairwells and exits are.

When the alarm sounds, that usually indicates your sprinkler system will be activated soon after. Sprinkler heads are heat-activated, so they will kick on as soon as they sense the temperatures have been elevated to a certain level.

Fire protection systems should notify the proper emergency personnel, who will then come to finish extinguishing the flames that the sprinklers did not put out. After that, the fire department should tell you if it is safe to re-enter your building. Make sure you grab what you need, if you can, and then leave the building as soon as possible again after that.

You should also look into having your building secured in some way after the fire, if possible. This could help prevent any further damage, and it could help protect any other valuable assets that are in your building.

Finally, be sure you contact your insurance company to figure out your next steps. They will advise you on what to do to file your claim, and they will probably send an insurance adjuster out to assess and evaluate any damage that your building sustained.

Fire protection systems are a great way to give yourself valuable peace of mind that, if the worst does happen and a fire breaks out, your building’s occupants and your assets are protected. These systems are designed to help give you and the other building occupants time to safely evacuate a building if a fire breaks out.

Are you interested in learning more about fire protection systems in Cleveland? Call Hard Fire at 1-800-848-1301, or you can Contact Us.

Preventing a Fire in Your Workplace

In this day and age, it is more important than ever to make sure your workplace stays safe from the threat of a fire. Not only is the health and well-being of your business’ occupants at stake, but so are your business assets. So what are some of the best ways to keep your workplace safe? Hard Fire specializes in designing and installing commercial fire alarms in Cleveland, and we have a few suggestions for you on how to help keep your workplace safe from a fire.

  • Make sure your employees know that the only place they should prepare hot food is in the designated kitchen area. Toasters, microwaves, coffee pots and other appliances that can heat up food and liquids should only be used in the kitchen. They should never be used in anyone’s office area or in another part of the building that is not a designated food preparation area.
  • You should not allow your employees to use space heaters. Not only is this illegal in some parts, but it is also a huge fire hazard. While commercial fire alarms will alert your employees that there is a fire, you can help nip the need for this in the bud if you do not permit anyone to use space heaters.
  • Along the same vein, all smokers should be asked to smoke outside of the building, preferably several feet away from the building, if not farther. That way, if someone does not put out their cigarette completely or if there is a lit ember that blows off, there is less of a chance that it will ignite and start a fire.
  • If you allow your employees to use power strips for their electronics, make sure that they know not to overload the power strips. An overloaded power strip is a pretty common cause of commercial building fires. Your employees should also check to make sure that the cords and wires that plug into electronics and appliances are not damaged or frayed. If anyone finds a damaged cord, they should unplug the device immediately and ask for a new one.
  • Make sure all trash is put into the proper area of your building, like out near a dumpster. Do not allow trash, paper and other materials to gather up and clutter hallways and offices.

Do you need more information about commercial fire alarms in Cleveland? Call Hard Fire at 800-848-1301 or 614-882-2990 or you can Contact Us.

FAQs about Fire Protection

At Hard Fire, we are often asked the same questions about our industry and just how important a fire suppression system and fire alarms are. So we wanted to take some time to talk about the questions we hear the most often about fire protection in Ohio and the surrounding areas.

Q: How important is it to having working fire alarms in a home or business?

A: Very important! Fire alarms are an important part of a good fire protection system, whether you are at home or at work. Nearly 60% of home fire deaths between 2007 and 2011 were in homes were there were no working fire alarms. Fire alarms are one of the most effective ways to alert a building’s occupants that there is a fire and everyone needs to evacuate as quickly and safely as possible.

Q: How often should I have my fire extinguishers inspected?

A: We recommend that you get your fire extinguishers inspected on a yearly basis by a fire protection company like Hard Fire. We also recommend that you look at your fire extinguishers on a monthly basis for any obvious signs of damage.

Q: I have a sprinkler system in my home or commercial building. What can I do to make sure it stays in good shape and functions if it’s ever needed?

A: The best thing you can do for your fire protection system, like a sprinkler system, is to have it inspected by Hard Fire at least once a year. We can catch any problems that might impact the system’s ability to work if it is needed. We also recommend that you take a look at it on a monthly basis and that you take basic precautions like never painting over the sprinklers, never obstructing them and never hanging items from them.

Q: I just had some fire alarms installed. How long will they last?

A: With proper maintenance and care, your new fire alarms will last around 12 years. Fire alarms are an important part of fire protection, so you should have your alarms looked at by professionals like the ones at Hard Fire at least once a year. You should be sure to make sure the batteries are fresh by changing them at least twice a year.

Do you want to learn more about fire protection in Ohio? Call Hard Fire at 1-800-848-1301, or you can Contact Us.

The Basic Components of a Fire Protection and Suppression System

As one of the leading companies in fire protection in the Columbus OH area, we design, install, maintain, monitor and repair a variety of fire protection and suppression systems for property owners like you. Every system we design is unique, but there are some basic components that go into all of them. Here is a brief rundown of each basic component and its function.

Fire Alarm Panel

This is the brain of your entire fire suppression system. It monitors every connected device and relays information between each part. It also monitors the system’s integrity and output. A fire protection company like Hard Fire knows exactly what type of fire alarm panel will best meet your building’s fire protection needs.

Initiating Devices

There are two main types of initiating devices: manual and automatic. Manual devices are ones that require a person to activate them, such as pull stations and “break glass” stations. Automatic devices are ones that respond on their own to the detectable physical changes that come with a fire, like heat and smoke.

Primary Power Supply

This is the main source of power for your fire protection and suppression system. Usually there is a dedicated branch circuit for the fire suppression system, and the power supply is generally controlled by the power company.

Secondary Power Supply

This is the primary power supply’s back-up and usually consists of batteries, an emergency generator or some other type of emergency power device. The secondary power supply will engage if something happens to the primary power supply. This is to ensure your fire protection and suppression system stays up and running even if the power goes out.

Notification Appliances

These include strobe lights or audio devices such as a horn. This is the way the system tells the building’s occupants that there is a fire and everyone should evacuate immediately. They also help people evacuate the building quickly and safely.

These are just a few basic components of a fire protection and suppression system. Professionals like the ones at Hard Fire will know exactly what your building needs to respond to a fire emergency. That way, you can rest easy knowing your property, its occupants and your assets are well protected in the event the worst happens.

Are you interested in learning more about fire protection in Columbus OH? Call us at Hard Fire at 800-848-1301 or 614-882-2990 or you can Contact Us.