Maximizing Safety: Best Practices for Fire Alarm and Datacom Installation
fire alarm systems

Every fire alarm system is important. The fire alarm system in your commercial or industrial property, which protects your staff’s lives, is especially so. And needless to say, you probably spend a lot of time in your business, too.


A commercial fire alarm system requires installation by an experienced commercial electrician: one who knows every little detail they must in order to maximize safety. That takes a great deal of technical skill, which we will spare you an explanation of. (You may learn more in NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code if you’re interested.)


Successful commercial fire alarm installation also requires careful consideration of many nonelectrical matters, as well as some electrical factors you may not have anticipated. Let us give you some examples of what we mean.


  • Building characteristics. There is no standard fire alarm layout for every business. The best system is intentionally incorporated into the building’s unique floor plan. A building’s occupancy typically factors into system design, as that determines where alarms, strobes and sirens should be placed. The building’s use also determines where smoke, heat and flame sensors are each needed.


  • Fire codes. Following local, state and federal regulations for fire alarms isn’t just the safer choice. It can also help you avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention from the state fire marshal, who can examine your building for electrical compliance. They may determine whether your fire detection and alarm system is sufficient – and order changes, if it isn’t.


  • Accessibility. One federal fire code of particular note is contained in the Americans with Disabilities Act. It requires both visual and audible fire alarms. It also specifies the rate at which visual alarms can flash, which is intended to help people with epilepsy.


  • Documentation. It is critical for an electrician to deliver detailed schematics of the fire alarm system to their client. This information is necessary for effective maintenance and testing. It also saves a great amount of time whenever the electrical system requires modification.


  • System integration. If you actually read NFPA 72, then you would already know that fire alarm speakers may be used for non-emergency purposes under certain conditions. That means you may use your new fire alarm system to play music in your building, or to publicly address your staff. You can only gain this added value if your new fire alarm system is connected to its existing data communications (datacom) gateways.


Datacom System Installation Is Equally Important


No commercial or industrial property can operate without a datacom system. Even a laptop connected to a WiFi system is technically a datacom system, though that is rarely enough on its own to handle the large amount of data most businesses transfer on a daily basis.


The technicalities involved with installing an effective, reliable and secure datacom system are complex. Depending on the client’s needs, it may have to transmit data both ways simultaneously, in only one direction at a time, or in one direction only. It may have to accommodate multiple different area networks as well. This is intricate low-voltage work that you shouldn’t entrust to the average residential electrician. Only a commercial expert can design and install a good datacom system with any certainty.


Whether you are protecting your staff from fire or connecting your business to the world, Mid States Electric Co is here to deliver the solution. If your building is located in the Midwest, Oklahoma or Texas, then we welcome you to contact Mid States Electric.