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Last edited 10 Dec 2021
Types of alarm in buildings
- Accessible toilet alarm: Allows occupants to call for assistance.
- Carbon monoxide detector: Electrochemical sensing technology sounds an alarm if carbon monoxide is detected. Many carbon monoxide alarms are combined with smoke alarms in one device.
- Deterrence alarm: A high-pitched sound that is particularly audible to younger people, can be used as a form of hostile architecture.
- Fire alarm: Gives early warning of developing fires to enable evacuation.
- Flood alarm: Senses the presence of water and can provide early warning of leaks, i.e. in pipework or boilers.
- Intruder alarm: Detects attempted intrusion or unauthorised entry into a building, room, site or secure installation and triggers a response. Some burglar alarms are simple auditory warnings, while others are linked to surveillance cameras, light systems, and remote monitoring by security companies.
- Heat alarm: Have fixed-temperature elements and respond to the temperature of the fire gases in the immediate vicinity of the heat alarm.
- Lift emergency alarm: Sounds an alarm in the event of a passenger lift breakdown to alert personnel.
- Multi-sensor alarm: Detect more than one fire phenomena, for example optical and heat detection.
- Smoke alarm: Can be optical (detect the scattering or absorption of light within the detector chamber) or ionisation (more sensitive to smoke containing small particles such as rapidly burning flaming fires but are less sensitive to steam).
In August 2019, BRE reported that more than £1 billion is lost every year due to false alarms. These losses are due largely to the disruption and loss of productivity in businesses. An earlier research project estimated that each false alarm costs businesses on average around £2.9k. For more information see: Over 1 billion lost every year due to false alarms.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Automatic fire detection and alarm systems, an introductory guide to components and systems BR 510.
- BS 5839-1: Fire detection and fire alarm system for buildings. Code of practice for design, installation and commissioning and maintenance of systems in non-domestic premises.
- Carbon monoxide alarm.
- Emergency services.
- False alarm.
- Fire detection and alarm system (FDAS).
- Heat alarm.
- Intelligent multi-sensor alarm.
- Interlinked fire alarm safety laws in Scotland.
- Intruder alarm.
- Ionisation smoke alarm.
- Multi sensor alarm.
- New requirements for fire detection and alarm network systems IP 12 13.
- Optical smoke alarm.
- Over 1 billion lost every year due to false alarms.
- Smoke alarm.
- Visual alarm devices - their effectiveness in warning of fire.
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