header glow
What does a public fire alarm system look like these days? image

What does a public fire alarm system look like these days?

Jun 10, 2015

Electric fire alarm systems have progressed quite a bit since their early implementation in the 1800s. Did you know that alarm systems used to send telegraphs to alert the central station with the building’s address? Now, besides using phone lines and even wireless Internet connection, alarm systems can pinpoint not just the building in question but also where in the building the fire is.

“We have the ability to install addressable devices instead of conventional systems,” explained Barry Van Blairicom of Davenport Electric. “They’re better for troubleshooting and localizing the problem.”

A network fire system links all the devices in a building or campus, and fire panels are required to have at least two points of communication with the central station, making today’s fire systems extremely functional and safe.

“The technology is getting better and smarter,” said Van Blairicom. “Intelligent smoke detectors lead to fewer false alarms and quicker response times.”

 With individually addressed devices, fire departments know exactly where to send their firefighters.

“Especially in a multi-story school building, a system that tells the station which floor, which wing, which room the device was pulled or which detector went off makes a huge difference in response time,” explained Van Blairicom. “The faster the fire department can find and get to that location, the safer the building is.”

Van Blairicom and Davenport Electric have installed alarm systems in nearly every one of the Davenport schools. Like many areas of public assembly, some schools are moving from fire systems to mass communication systems.

“Central High School does have some voice evacuation,” said Van Blairicom. “Voice evacuation and mass communication systems are becoming more popular because they can be used in a variety of situations and emergencies—not just for fires.”

The move to mass communication systems is often seen in public or high-profile buildings. For example, the Federal Courthouse in Davenport is another building enabled with voice evacuation, and eventually all the Rock Island Arsenal buildings will have voice evacuations.

“And with the network system, the fire station can know what the problem is anywhere on the island,” added Van Blairicom.

The only electric contractor with two NICET Level 4 licensed electricians in the region, Davenport Electric was the first regionally to meet the State of Iowa’s criteria for fire alarm system safety.

“We see a lot of mistakes,” said Van Blairicom. “For example, per the National Fire Protection Association regulations, you’re not supposed to place a smoke detector within three feet of an air vent, but we’ve encountered those kind of mistakes.”

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets the minimum requirements for fire safety systems like how often devices should be checked, though municipalities may set even stricter standards based on building function. Installing fire safety systems correctly means understanding all the requirements, knowing what to look for and where to find it.

For a listing of certified electrical contractors in the Quad Cities area, visit our member directory.

Want to learn more about our Licensed Electrical Contractors In The Quad Cities?

Fill out the form below and one of our members will be in touch!






Customer Testimonials

"The American Red Cross has a longstanding relationship with the IBEW in the Quad Cities. During the construction of our new facility in Moline we were continually impressed with the quality of performance and attention to detail by the IBEW members working on... read more

Betsy Pratt

Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross

"The American Red Cross has a longstanding relationship with the IBEW in the Quad Cities. During the construction of our new facility in Moline we were continually impressed with the quality of performance and attention to detail by the IBEW members working on site. All work was completed ahead of schedule and there was great pride in workmanship demonstrated in all aspects of the project.."

Betsy Pratt

Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross

"The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center prides itself in the highest quality of service to the community. The IBEW has the same commitment to service along with quality craftsmanship. That is one of the reasons we used local members from IBEW Local 145 on... read more

Dave Green

Mississippi Valley Blood Center

"The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center prides itself in the highest quality of service to the community. The IBEW has the same commitment to service along with quality craftsmanship. That is one of the reasons we used local members from IBEW Local 145 on our new $13.5 million facility. Workers diligently labored, even in sub-zero temperatures, so the project could be completed on time and with the highest measures of quality."

Dave Green

Mississippi Valley Blood Center

"In my experience with service calls and smaller scale projects on the Augustana Campus, I have found the LightingTheQCA workers to be skilled and knowledgeable.  They bring to the project on-time completion and the ability to remain within budget.  That is a... read more

David Barker

Manager of Facilities, Augustana College

"In my experience with service calls and smaller scale projects on the Augustana Campus, I have found the LightingTheQCA workers to be skilled and knowledgeable.  They bring to the project on-time completion and the ability to remain within budget.  That is a great asset.  From their office staff to field personnel, they represent themselves in a professional manner and have been great to work with.  What was really important to me was that the project was done on time, and there were no further disruptions by having to call them back."

David Barker

Manager of Facilities, Augustana College

"We used qualified IBEW Electricians during the construction of both the new Rock Island County Animal Shelter and also for the new Rock Island County Forest Preserve Golf Clubhouse. Our Rock Island County Board insists on using IBEW Electricians because of their... read more

Jim Bohnsack

Chairman of the Board at Rock Island County

"We used qualified IBEW Electricians during the construction of both the new Rock Island County Animal Shelter and also for the new Rock Island County Forest Preserve Golf Clubhouse. Our Rock Island County Board insists on using IBEW Electricians because of their superior work quality that we can count on every time. It is extremely important that the work be completed on time and within our budget and we know we can count on both when we use IBEW Electricians. Their professionalism and training set them apart."

Jim Bohnsack

Chairman of the Board at Rock Island County

"Estes Construction works with several electrical contracting firms who are signatory to the IBEW Local # 145 and has done so for the almost 40 year history of Estes. Estes has a mission to be the preferred provider of construction services and it is imperative... read more

Kent Pilcher

President of Estes Construction

"Estes Construction works with several electrical contracting firms who are signatory to the IBEW Local # 145 and has done so for the almost 40 year history of Estes. Estes has a mission to be the preferred provider of construction services and it is imperative that our team members perform accordingly. Estes has come to count on our signatory contractors and their partnership with Local #145 to provide highly skilled and professional electrical workers. The leadership of Local #145 has always emphasized the need for the workforce to perform at the highest levels to insure safe projects, completed with a very high level of quality and within required schedules. Lastly, Local #145 continually works to contribute to a stronger community and industry as they are very active in a number of activities.”

Kent Pilcher

President of Estes Construction

Featured VideoSee All

Choosing the right qualified electrician or electrical contractor in the Quad Cities area is easier…starting now. Let NECA Joe explain the difference that a trained, experienced electrical professional can make in your project.