Smoke alarms are the detection components in fire protection systems that cause these systems to activate.

Yet not every smoke warning system installed by a fire alarm system company is the same, so it is important to know how they work.

Based on the role these components play in the whole system and how the different types work, your fire alarm system service will recommend the right one for your application. 

What Is The Role Of Smoke Alarms In A Safety Detection System?

The smoke alarms in any fire protection system are the main and most critical component of the whole system.

It is these alerting devices that detect the presence of smoke, then relay that information to the control panel of the fire safety system which then activates the bells or sirens.

Fire protection system companies typically install multiple detectors throughout a building, with extra detectors positioned in areas where blazes are most likely to occur, so the system can alert quickly so that a response can be started. 

What Types of Smoke Detection Devices Are Used In These Systems?

There are a number of types of smoke alerting devices installed by fire alarm system services, each of which provides an alert in different ways: 


Ionization smoke alerting devices detect changes in ionized air as it is affected by smoke when it passes through a sensor, triggering the alarm once the change in the air ionization reaches a specific range.

They can detect quickly spreading blazes faster than other alarm types, but are slow to detect smoldering combustions.

As such, they are usually installed by a fire protection system company in conjunction with other types of detectors.


Photoelectric smoke alarms detect changes in light within a sensor as it is affected by smoke.

They are more widely installed by fire alarm system services because they are highly sensitive for detecting smoldering fires that create a lot of smoke even if it burns slowly. 


Combination smoke detecting devices used in fire protection systems use ionization, photoelectric, or both types of smoke detection combined with other sensors to help confirm an actual fire.

Those additional sensors include heat, infrared, and carbon monoxide sensors.

The added sensors make it possible to more accurately detect the difference between true flames and things like burning food, steam from a shower, and other things that could inadvertently trigger one of the sensors.

Which Smoke Alarms Are Better To Use In A Safety Alerting System?

Generally speaking, the NFPA recognizes that photoelectric smoke-detecting devices overall perform better and faster than ionization ones, so they are highly recommended in most applications.

Yet it should be noted that the NFPA also recommends that fire alarm system services install both types of alerting devices in many buildings since there are definitely instances where the rapid detection of a quickly flashing, fast-burning fire is critical.

The use of combination devices that add additional flame detection sensors improves detection capabilities even more. 

Discuss Safety Alert Systems With A Professional 

Whether you are in need of a fire alarm system for your home or a commercial building, setting up the right system requires planning.

Contact a professional fire alarm system company that will inspect your location and design a highly effective and protective system to include using the right smoke detection devices! 

Looking for Fire Alarm Systems in College Station Texas? 

The Company to Call is Better Fire Protection!

Call (979) 304-1813 Today!