Different Types of Fire Alarm

When it comes to fire safety, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for buying and installing a fire alarm. The reason why there are so many different types of fire alarms on the market is because that not all fires are exactly the same. This is why different types of fire alarms have been developed to tackle different fire emergencies.

Depending on what material or substance is burning, the fire can give off very different levels of smoke and fire. This is why it is very important to identify the type of fire as soon as possible so the correct method of dealing with it can be employed. For example, you would tackle a cooking fat fire in a kitchen in a very different way to a fire that has started in a wood shed.

Even within your own home, there is a chance that one sort of fire will break out in the kitchen, but a very different sort of fire could break out in the bedroom.

Kitchen fires can start from faulty electrical goods or cooking fat fires. Electrical or fat / oil fires should not be tackled using water to extinguish the flames. Using water would increase the risk of death by electrocution with electrical fires, and using water on a oil or fat fire could cause the fire to spread around the kitchen and take hold of flammable materials such as curtains, table cloths, cushions etc. So it is important to know how to extinguish different types of fires too.

Smoke alarms

Some fires can burn particularly smokey, so for example when paper, clothing or furnishings are on fire, they can not only burn rapidly but will also produce small smoke particles. In this situation a good ionisation fire alarm would be more easily triggered.

There are some fires that produce less smoke. These sorts of fire can often be much harder to detect. In the home, these fires are most commonly caused by carpets and sofas catching from from dropped burning cigarettes or hot ashes from open fires. These types of fires will produce a slower burn, but will produce much larger smoke particles. In this case a good optical fire alarm would be able to detect the larger smoke particles present in the room.

Different alarms for different rooms

To effectively protect your living room, hallway and dining room from a fire outbreak, an optical alarm can be a very good choice here.

For bedrooms and walk in wardrobes where there are a lot of materials used and stored, a good ionisation alarm would be very effective here.

Heat sensitive alarms are the best option for areas that are less well used and may not be heated, such as your loft and your garage. A heat alarm in your garage would be a good idea if you store flammable liquids in there, such as oil bottles, paints, cleaning fluids and spare petrol canisters. Quite often lofts and garages are much more dusty than other areas of the house, so any amount of dust in the atmosphere will not trigger a heat alarm, but would interfere with ionisation and optical alarms.

Battery or mains operated?

Whichever type of alarm you choose will either by powered by battery, by mains electricity or mains with a battery back up. What you need to consider here is that a mains operated alarm will only continue to operate while your mains electricity is running. Having a battery operated alarm system is only effective as long as the batteries are working. If the batteries are flat, or have been removed to be used elsewhere and not replaced, then you are putting yourself at risk. A sensible option will be to have a mains operated alarm system with a battery back-up.