Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works
Go to the Writer Home Page of Douglas Krantz -- Describing How It Works
Go to the Fire Alarm Operation Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer
Go to the General Electrical Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer
Go to the Fire Alarm Description Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer
Go to the Fire Alarm Installing Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer
Go to the Fire Alarm Maintaining Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer
Go to the Fire Alarm Testing Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer
Go to the Fire Suppression Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer

Fire Alarm -- Description

The zones of a building are smaller sections of the building, usually separated by fire walls.
For a fire, the different compartments of a building are almost separate buildings, with common firewalls between the buildings. The zones shown on a fire alarm panel are linked to these fire zones.
Douglas Krantz -- Fire Alarm Engineering Technician, Electronic Designer, Electronic Technician, Writer

What is a Fire Alarm Zone?

By Douglas Krantz

Building zones aren't determined by where the wires are run for the fire alarm system; building zones are determined by the building's fire-control/fire-fighting divisions and by the building's smoke-control divisions.

Bite Size Zones

A fire zone is a specific area of a building. Each fire zone is separated from all the other zones by "fire walls" and "fire doors". The zones are kept small enough to be "bite sized;" small enough that in a fire the zone can be dealt with as a whole.

Single Zone Buildings

Sometimes an entire building is a single zone. For escape from a fire (evacuation), for smoke control, for firefighting, the building is small enough to be considered as a whole.

Multiple Zone Buildings

On the other hand, to be dealt with as a whole, many buildings just are too large. In order to be bite-sized, the building has to be divided up.

Original Fire Zones

Over time, as cities (villages) started to be assembled, the buildings (or huts) were sometimes close to each other. If one building caught on fire, the others next to them could also catch on fire. While each building had separate outside walls, to a fire, the walls may as well have been shared.

Shared Walls

Nowadays, larger buildings are like that. To a fire, they're a cluster of smaller buildings that are built so close together that they share walls. To a person walking down the hall, there're sections of the building separated by fire doors that go through fire walls.

Firefighting -- No Time for Guessing

As one of the issues in firefighting and life-saving, firefighters are trying to go to the area of the building with the fire. Rather than making the firefighters guess where to go, sending the crews to the right zone, while the fire is burning the building down, would be quite helpful.

Conventional or Zoned Fire Alarm System

If the fire alarm system is wired correctly, with the devices wired together by fire zone, the fire alarm panel or the annunciator (remote readout of the fire alarm panel) will show which zone needs attention. With proper zoning in the fire alarm system, the firefighters don't have to guess which zone to go to, they can quickly go to the correct zone and fight the fire.

See how Class A Wiring works

Popular Articles

What is a Stair Pressurization Fan (SPF)? -- In case of fire in a high rise building, an SPF uses clean outside air to pressurize the air in stairwells. The pressurized air helps people escape... Read More

How Does Class A Fire Alarm Wiring Work?-- Fire alarm systems save lives and protect property. Fire alarm systems also break down because... Read More

What's the Difference Between Class A and Class B? -- The Fire Alarm System is a Life Safety System - so the occupants of a building can escape quickly, the idea behind a Fire Alarm System is that it will provide a warning that there is a fire. The trouble is, if something is wrong with the system, like a wire is broken somewhere in the building, the Fire Alarm System... Read More

What is a Flyback Diode? -- Someone Thinks the Flyback Diode is Important. Manufacturers all over the world spend good money installing these diodes, they must think they're ... Read More

What is a Waterflow Switch? -- The fire alarm waterflow switch, a delayed action mechanical/electrical assembly, is a conventionally wired fire alarm device. The fire department reacts... Read More

What Should I Do When the Fire Alarm Sounds? -- When the alarm sounds, as caretaker for an apartment building, what should you be doing? "I would never suggest turning off the fire alarms, or in any way... Read More

What is a Fire Alarm System? -- Long ago, as earliest method of spreading the word of fire danger, people shouted "Fire!" Depending on the circumstances, people would run... Read More

What Does E=IR Really Mean? -- If it isn't just a word, and it isn't really something to be memorized in order to pass a test, what do the letters in Ohm's Law really mean?... Read More