Manual And Automatic Fire Alarm Systems

The first fire alarm systems in Iowa occurred as the result of the genius of Francis Robbins Upton. He patented the first electric American system in 1890. Since then, improvements have been made – particularly after WWII. Today, you have the choice of several different devices that can help warn you about and protect you and your family and co-workers from a fire. There are smoke detectors, water flow sensors and heat detectors. They are all part of an overall fire alarm system which can be manual or automatic.

The two basic types of fire alarm systems in use today are known as manual and automatic. Both manual and automatic fire alarm systems can be designed to either protect lives only or protect lives and property. Automatic fire alarm systems may operate through their control panel as either conventional or addressable.

What Are Manual Fire Alarm Systems?

These are the ones most commonly recognized. This type of fire alarm is usually positioned near stairwells and doors. The devices are often referred to as call points. They are the ones you pull manually. It depends entirely upon an individual to react when he or she becomes aware of a fire. They pull the lever and set off the alarm which rings throughout the entire premises, alerting the residences and/or employees of the danger.

Since the intent of these fire alarm systems is to provide protection to residents and occupants, they are not intended for larger structures, although they may be placed in industrial buildings where no-one plans to sleep. In general, they act as a warning device because, in their most basic form, they do not set off any other measures such as sprinklers. They also do not notify the fire department.

If the more sophisticated models are installed, they may actually shut down the building’s ventilation system. By doing so, they can prevent the travelling of noxious fumes and toxic smoke into other parts of the building. In general, however, this system lacks a control panel and, therefore, is incapable of doing more than act as a warning mechanism.

What Are Automatic Fire Alarm Systems?

For greater protection and proactive measures, the best fire alarm systems run from off a control panel. These are called automatic fire alarm systems. In Iowa, as is true throughout North America, they are subdivided into two categories: conventional (collective) and addressable (analogue addressable or intelligent). Both are capable of not only setting off an alarm but putting into action protective measures. This generally consists of:

* Sounding an alarm to warn employees, residents or other individuals of the need to evacuate the premises

* Notifying the local fire services

* Alerting the building managers

* Shutting both the fire and smoke doors

* Starting up the systems that are put into place to control smoke such as the ventilation system

* Initiating the shutdown of various devices and services of operation

Such measures are best suited to larger premises where people are active. Depending upon the specific size and the needs of your business or residential property, you may need to install conventional or addressable fire alarm systems. In Iowa, make sure you talk to a professional about your structure and specific needs. He or she will provide you with the information you will need to make the right decision.

If you are interested in installing the right type of fire alarm systems in Iowa, make the time to talk to the professionals at the Getz Fire Equipment Company. Over the past 57 years, we have established ourselves as a leader in the fire protection and safety industries. Our high quality products and impeccable service has helped us retain this role in our community. To learn more about who we are and what we take great pride in doing, visit us online at

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