What You Should Know About Using Smoke Detectors In Your Office

Posted on: 7 August 2015


If you're converting a house or other building into office space for your growing business, take steps to keep your employees safe from dangers like a fire. One way to do that is to install smoke detectors. Smoke detectors are effective at catching fires at an early stage before enough heat is generated to trip a fire alarm. That could mean the difference between saving lives or losing everything. Here are a few things you should know about using smoke detectors in your workplace.

Types Of Fires

When a fire breaks out in an office area, it may smolder for a while before it begins to shoot out flames. Smoke detectors are good at detecting these types of fires before much damage is done. Other fires burst into flames quickly and produce more fire and heat than they do smoke. It's critical to detect a fire like this quickly, or a lot of damage can be done. Since these two types of fires are very different, there are two types of smoke detectors available. The photoelectric alarm is best at detecting smoldering fires and the ionization alarm is best for detecting smoke with flames.

Photoelectric Smoke Detectors

Photoelectric smoke detectors are ideal for the average office environment where fires are likely to start in wastebaskets and break areas. These fires are often fueled by paper products and give off a lot of smoke. These devices work by shining a light into an internal chamber on the detector. When smoke wafts into the chamber, a sensor picks it up and triggers the alarm.

Ionization Smoke Detectors

Storage rooms that hold chemicals that fuel a fire are better protected with an ionization alarm. These fires burst into flames quicker and produce less warning smoke. This type of detector has electronic plates inside it. Air is constantly being drawn through the plates, and when smoke particles are detected, the alarm is triggered.

Combination Detectors

Since fires are often unpredictable, the best protection for your office is a combination of smoke detectors. You could place photoelectric detectors in the cubicle areas and ionization detectors in your storage rooms. The ideal solution is to install smoke detectors in all areas that utilize both technologies in a single unit. You can buy each type of detector for around $20, so you don't have to pay more to get the best type of protection.

Before you buy smoke detectors for your office, be sure to check your local fire codes. While they may not be required for your office, once you get the alarms, they'll have to comply with codes that relate to them as far as placement and power sourcing goes. You'll also need to ensure they are functional at all times by testing them regularly and replacing the batteries on a set schedule. Contact companies like GMW Fire Protection for more information.