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The Different Types of Fire Alarms for Commercial Buildings

types of fire alarms

Though the exact laws will slightly vary between, say, Atlanta and Orlando, most commercial buildings are required by national law to at least have one fire alarm. Inevitably, you will have to purchase these for your business if it has none or was just completed. 

You will probably, however, not know anything about the fire alarms. Thus, you will need to perform lots of research on these devices. To get started, you can read about the different types of fire alarms below. 

Manual and Automatic Types of Fire Alarms 

Each fire alarm device comes in two types: automatic or manual. The two types vary mainly based on what causes them to activate and their mechanical makeup. 


In the U.S. and Canada, a manual alarm primarily comprises a pull station. This typically comprises a red box with white lettering that has a white lever with red lettering in the middle. However, variations of colors and shapes are available.

Workers will mount this device on the wall of a commercial or industrial building and wire it into the fire alarm system. A user pulls on the lever when they see a fire. This will cause the fire alarm to make a sound and alert the occupants of the danger. 


Automatic fire alarms do not require human intervention. Rather, they can sense a fire and trigger the system’s sound devices. A smoke or heat detector is usually what gives them this ability. 

These devices typically have a red or white round hockey-puck-like or box-like shape. You may also see vents for detection and a light that will flash upon activation. Workers will install them on the ceiling or high on the wall of an industrial or commercial building. 

Conventional And Automatic Fire Alarm Systems 

Besides the individual devices, there are also two different fire alarm system types. Differences between the cost and technical complexity separate these two devices. 


As they are hardware and analog-based, conventional systems are the simplest of the two fire alarm options. The business owner will categorize different groups of fire alarm devices into zones. He or she will then wire these into the main control panel. 

When a device in any zone gets triggered, it alerts the main control panel and activates the full system. Firefighters can see the zone where the fire took place. However, they will not know the location of each zone or which device activated the system. 


An addressable system can report the location of a fire and which device got triggered. Business owners can also apply many other customizations to this system. This can include timing the activation of different alarm locations to assist with evacuation processes. 

While they are more expensive, the convenience they provide can be worth it.

The Best Fire Alarms For Your Business 

Along with these types of fire alarms, there are many other subcategories. These include different colors and features.

To choose the best fire alarms for preventing fires in your business, you should consider a variety of factors, such as your budget and building size. 

If you would like more information about our systems and their costs, you can contact us. We also offer free price quotes.  







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