Fire & Life Safety

Addressable systems: Voted 'most popular'

Addressable systems have expanded with increased available functions due to improved software and memory capabilities and not necessarily the addition of terminals. Software is, as you know, can be complicated but of course it continues to be a big part of product innovation. Electronic components are being designed for devices that don't exist yet. It has to be this way so that technology is not obsolete by the time it gets to market. This line of thinking isn't new. For example, during WWII a 1,200- mile pipeline was built from the Texas oil fields to docks in New York, in order to get the much-needed oil for the war effort more quickly to the tankers that would take it across the ocean. The flow of oil was turned on even before the pipeline was finished at the other end! The engineers in charge anticipated that by the time it took the oil (their product) to get there (three days), the pipeline would be finished, and their product would be available to meet the demand.

Speaking of demands, addressable systems are getting another boost from an unexpected source, the Association of State Fire Chiefs. This organization's members have proposed adding a requirement to the Codes which would require newly installed commercial fire alarm systems to identify and report alarm and supervisory signals "by point." Since this proposal is still in the Comment stages I will have to report on it another time.

Suffice to say, if your company has not yet standardized on a make and brand of addressable fire panel, now might be the time to do so. Many are available, any of which would help responding personnel, your customer and your service department save time identifying the source of signals and most importantly, fires.

Greg Kessinger is SD&I's long-time resident fire expert and regular contributor to the magazine. Reach him at