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You are currently viewing Fire Detection, Warning, Control and Intercom Systems – AS1670.1:2018

Fire Detection, Warning, Control and Intercom Systems – AS1670.1:2018

Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems

What is AS 1670.1:2018?

AS/NZS 1670.1:2018 is an Australian and New Zealand Standard for the design, installation and commissioning of fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems. The purpose of this Standard is to specify the requirements that are based on the functional performance of the system (i.e., what it is intended to achieve) rather than on specific technical or design solutions.

The Standard is in fact a suite of documents that are related to one another in various ways. It consists of:

  • AS/NZS 1670.1-2018—the core document that specifies the requirements for the installation of fire protection and fire alarm systems;
  • AS 1670.2-1997—a document with additional requirements for the design, installation, testing and maintenance of fire alarm systems;
  • AS 1670.3-2018—a document with additional requirements for the design, installation, testing and maintenance of fire detection systems;
  • AS 1670.4-2018—a document with additional requirements for the design, installation, testing and maintenance of public address systems;

What is a fire warning and alarm system?

When you think of fire, do you think of the screaming, the panic, the people stampeding toward the exits? Do you ever stop to think about what happens when there is no one around to scream or panic, when there are no exits to run toward? A fire warning and alarm system is what makes fire visible. It makes it clear that fire is there, that it’s time to leave. A warning system does this by detecting smoke, by sensing heat or by both. This information is then pulled together into a message—a warning—that goes out over an intercom system or to a computer-based voice evacuation system. The message alerts people through visual and audio cues so they can escape before it’s too late.

A fire alarm system (FAS) is the hardware component that detects the presence of fire, whereas a fire warning system (FWS) alerts building occupants through localised voice messages, strobe/luminaire lighting and/or public address announcements. A typical installation will include both a FAS and a FWS. The FAS activates the FWS which in turn alerts occupants by means of visual, auditory and/or vibrotactile warnings.

The importance of installation and commissioning in the design process

When designing a fire detection, warning, control and intercom system for a building or site you must take into account all possible eventualities. You need to take into account the layout of the building, the different types of rooms used, the floors above and below ground level, any corrosive atmospheres that may be present, whether there are any hazardous substances being handled in that area or whether any people have physical disabilities which would restrict their movement or who may require assistance. The importance of installation and commissioning in the design process cannot be stressed enough because if this stage is neglected or overlooked it could lead to failures during final testing and ultimately lead to a reduction in safety standards for those who work within this area, as well as other occupants and visitors to your premises.

Fire detection and early warning devices

Fire detection and early warning is a fundamental part of any fire protection system. It involves the installation of smoke detectors, heat detectors, fire alarms and sprinkler systems in public buildings. In most cases, fire detection and early warning is installed along with fire alarm systems. In order to be effective, a fire system must be able to detect the presence of a fire before it becomes a problem. Fire detection systems do this by monitoring a building for the products of combustion. The most common method for detecting smoke is through the use of smoke detectors or photoelectric sensors. These devices, which are often installed in ceilings or high on walls, respond to visible light, ultra-violet radiation and heat given off by smouldering fires. Fire alarms consist of two parts: an alarm control panel that monitors incoming signals from detector devices and produces an audible signal when appropriate; and devices such as horns, bells, strobes or speakers that produce the audible output. Smoke detectors are usually designed to eliminate nuisance alarms caused by cooking fumes and other household odours. This is done through either rate-of-rise or temperature sensors which activate at different rates depending on the type of smoke detected.

 

Read also: “Changing face of commercial fire alarm systems”

The most common types of smoke detectors are ionization and photoelectric.

The ionisation type is the more popular of the two, and it is used in most residential dwellings. It detects smoke particles that are invisible to the eye by using an electrical current to measure the conductivity of the air. The more smoke particles in the air, the more conductive it becomes. A sensor detects this increased conductivity and sets off an alarm. The photoelectric type works like a light sensor—when smoke particles enter the detector’s field of vision, they block or interfere with its ability to detect light. And without light, it trips an alarm. 
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