Many hotel visitors are unaware of the fire and life safety concerns they might face during their stay. The good news is advanced technology options for the end-user make hospitality properties safer for guests.

Hoteliers have the choice of conventional or addressable control panels, devices that monitor smoke detectors and other equipment for early warning and detection. Addressable panels offer more capability and pinpointed information. Addressable detectors relay the exact alarm location to the control panel. This type of intelligence works well in processing fire and life safety signals in the often chaotic venue.

However, traditional smoke detection can be easily beguiled in the hospitality environment, said Jeff Klein, business line leader, System Sensor Inc., St. Charles, Ill. Klein said addressable smoke detection systems provide early, constant real-time monitoring of many open areas or individual guest rooms.

“One of the advantages of addressable technology is significant improvement in real-time life-safety system monitoring. They pinpoint as accurately as possible the source of smoke before it progresses to more advanced, damaging stages. These addressable systems are also capable of directing emergency response team personnel to trouble areas quickly, minimizing smoke contamination.”

Features such as adjustable sensitivity, networking and other technologies have expanded smoke detector applications. In addition, addressable systems allow battery backup at a centralized location; a nonsystem monitored detector has battery backup at each individual detector, making servicing and testing more time-consuming. An addressable system receives warnings from monitored detectors when they are in need of service. It also displays the exact location of the malfunctioning detector and traces tampering or acts of vandalism.

“Intelligent sensing using addressable smoke detectors is one of the most important advances in recent years,” said Peter Ebersold, director of marketing of Notifier, a Honeywell Co., Northford, Conn. Ebersold said addressables use smoke detector algorithms and the fire alarm panel’s processing power to make decisions based on discernable environmental trends.

“For example, unlike conventional smoke detectors that will eventually go into alarm as the level of smoke rises, an analog addressable system may decide to ignore this trend if it involves only one detector. One of the other key features of an addressable smoke detector is the alarm panel’s ability to monitor its health. As a sensor gets contaminated over time, the panel will adjust the sensitivity of the device, so it continues to provide the same level of protection as when it was first installed,” he said. 

Addressibility targets location and offers further advantages, according to Brent Fatzinger, president of Abbott Fire & Security, Canton, Ohio. “Addressibility also allows us to close dampers when specific smoke detectors go into alarm and interface with access controlled exits so ready egress is possible when smoke is detected,” Fatzinger said. 

Intelligence in fire detection adds capabilities and labor-saving maintenance features, leading to a more comprehensive approach to life safety.           

O’MARA is the president of DLO Communications in Park Ridge, Ill., specializing in low-voltage. She can be reached at 847.384.1916 or domara@earthlink.net.