Conventional versus addressable fire alarm panels

You may have heard from some that the conventional fire alarm panel is dead. I don't agree. In fact, conventional panels certainly fill a need in the marketplace. Sure, addressable panels may offer more intelligence and the ability to pinpoint alarms and include additional supervisory circuitry, but not every application needs all the advantages that these types of fire systems offer, along with the higher price tag.

Again, as with everything in the security industry, it all goes back to selecting the right product for the application. Conventional panels are no slouches, they have been updated with new features and functions and are more robust then ever. They are easy to control and maintain and service and fit well with applications that are on a smaller scale -- think Mom and Pop stores or single-office development companies and such. There are tons of applications for conventional panels, so why should we 'throw the baby out with the bathwater?'  Conventional panels are cost effective and affordable and 'just what the doctor's office may have ordered,' pun intended. 

Manufacturers will agree. While much of their development dollars have gone into addressable and multiplexed panels, they still continue to support conventional fire systems and see their need in the marketplace.

Any good security or fire system installation starts with a thorough walk-through of the property and evaluation of existing technologies. But don't shortchange yourself by only looking at the latest products. The reason conventional fire alarm systems are still around is that they are reliable and the perfect life safety solution for some properties. Let me know your thoughts.---Deborah O'Mara, editor, SECURITY Dealer magazine