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Addressable or Conventional Fire Alarm Systems?

Fire Alarm Systems guides


Conventional fire alarms are typically found in small to medium size developments. Conventional systems tend to be cheaper to install than that of Addressable systems. However, they lack the many important features that addressable system has. A Conventional system will indicate the location of a fire, by indicating on the fire control panel the “Zone” that has activated. This zone may only be named as the “First Floor” with no other detail as to the specific location of the fire. The search area in fact could be as large as 2,000 metres in accordance with the standard.


Addressable systems are typically found in larger Buildings or Developments where locating a fire would be very difficult, so the purpose of an addressable system is to provide the exact location and as much detail as to the seat of the fire. Addressable systems are quite capable of providing the zone name i.e. “First Floor”, the device name i.e. 001, and also the exact device location e.g. Apartment number 15.

Choosing Addressable or Conventional

It is important that when you are designing a fire alarm system that consideration be given to the benefits of an addressable system over that of a conventional system. For example a Conventional system will indicate the location of a fire, by only indicating on the panel the “Zone” that has activated. Whereas for example, an Addressable system will indicate the exact location and exact device that has activated.

This will allow the Fire Brigade to be able to locate the fire at this location immediately upon arrival as opposed to the approximate location of the fire indicated on a conventional system. Of course if the system is a small development or building, the need for such an addressable system is not warranted as a conventional system will be satisfactory in this case. If unsure as to the most appropriate system we at Lara can advise you of which system is suitable for you needs.

Another benefit of an Addressable system over that of a Conventional system is the ability to trace any faults that may arise, specifically faults that arise from tampering. For example: if a detector in an Apartment is tampered with this will be indicated on the fire panel as to the exact location the tampering took place, so just that Apartment needs to be accessed. Whereas with a conventional system, everywhere on that zone needs to be checked and accessed to trace that fault.

Addressable systems also tend to require less cabling to be installed meaning installations can be completed in less time and in a tidy manner.