What is an FACP? (Fire Alarm Control Panel)

What is a Fire Alarm Control Panel?

What is an FACP? (Fire Alarm Control Panel) 1
What is an FACP? (Fire Alarm Control Panel) 2
  • A Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP) is the principal element of a fire alarm system.
  • A Fire Alarm Control Panel is an alarm panel or controlling component to monitor and control all functions of a fire alarm system.
  • An FACP is known as the “Heart and Brain” of the fire alarm system to monitor and control each and every function of all devices connected to the system.
  • Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP), is also known as Fire Alarm Control Unit (FACU) or Fire Indicator Panel (FIP).
  • When a smoke detector or manual pull station called initiating or input devices channels an alarm signal to the FACP.
  • FACP triggers the notification device to alert the residents through audible and visual alarm signals. 
  • An FACP panel also receives input signals from these initiating or input devices designed to detect and report fires such as Smoke detectors, or Manual pull stations to monitor their operational integrity to issue automatic control of equipment and to transmit necessary information to produce the facility for fire based on a predetermined sequence
  • Generally, the fire alarm system comprises smoke detectors, heat detectors, and manual pull stations.
  • An FACP panel also supplies electrical energy for properly functioning any associated initiating device, notification appliance, control, transmitter, or relay. 
  • The FACP regulates an output for notification devices like Horns and strobes to inform that the fire alarm system has detected a fire, or smoky condition in the staff and residents staying in the building.
  • The FACP imparts fire detection and response communications between devices such as Sensors, Annunciators, Suppression systems, and monitoring stations.
  • The FACP permits an authorized employee to install an alarm source immediately.
  • FACP also permits the staff to reset the fire alarm system and control other functions manually as required.
  • An FACP consists of a digital display unit to display the current status of the fire alarm system.
  • The FACP furnishes the status of the fire alarm system using visible and audible indicators.
  • Every device linked to FACP has a unique address for modern or advanced Addressable Fire Alarm Systems that permits the FACP to display the specific device.
  • For example, Address 57 specifies a smoke detector basement electrical room for FACP to indicate the specific device that initiated the signal. 
  • The residential building makes use of FACP’s functional switches to acknowledge signals.
  • A visible display can be a light, or text display.
  • An audible alarm device can be a bell or horn.
  • It produces a distinctive form of sound compared to other audible indicators in the location that are not part of the fire alarm system.
  • FACP allows the system to be divided into zones, pinpointing the location of a fire.
  • FACP can integrate with other building systems like HVAC to enhance overall safety.
  • It maintains a log of events, aiding in post-incident analysis and system maintenance.
  • FACP can facilitate scheduled testing and maintenance of connected devices for system reliability.

FACP Cabinet

  • An FACP Cabinet is made up of metal or another durable material usually coated with red color.
  • The FACP is commonly known as the main fire alarm panel located in a cabinet.
  • The cabinet permits us to see the current status of the fire alarm system without unlocking or opening the cabinet door.
  • Unlocking or opening the cabinet door is done based on cabinet type to access the FACP control functions.
  • This FACP cabinet consists of the batteries as an emergency backup in the event of power failure.
  • Cabinets may have tamper detection features, triggering alarms if unauthorized access is attempted.

Types of FACP panel

There are four basic types of panels: 

  1. Coded panels. 
  2. Conventional panels. 
  3. Addressable panels. 
  4. Multiplex panel systems.

What is a Fire Alarm Annunciator?

  • A fire alarm annunciator is a fire alarm system element that demonstrates the current state of the fire alarm system by visual and audio signals. 
  • A remote annunciator is a fire alarm annunciator that is situated in an independent area of the building from the FACP.
  • The remote annunciator alerts building staff members as well as other residents of the building that a fire, smoky condition, or malfunction in the system has been recognized by the fire alarm. 
  • The remote annunciator may additionally incorporate controls that enable facility personnel to manually reset the fire alarm system and regulate other operations as needed.
  • The remote annunciator can indicate the current condition of the fire alarm system for the building as a whole or only for the selected area of the building (units served).
  • As an example, the remote annunciator located on each floor will only indicate the status of the fire alarm on that floor but not for the entire building. 
  • The fire alarm system, comprising the remote annunciator, has to satisfy the NFPA 72, 1-5.7.3 annunciation standards.
  • Despite the fact that the remote annunciator accomplishes a number of the same responsibilities as the FACP, it is not the FACP. The responsibilities of fire alarm annunciation and FACP are separate.
  • Some advanced annunciators can integrate with other building systems, enhancing overall safety and control.
  • Certain annunciators maintain logs of events, aiding in post-incident analysis and system maintenance.
  • Annunciators may feature user-friendly interfaces for quick training and easy operation by building staff in case of emergencies.

Different Types of Fire Alarm Control Panels

Fire Alarm Control Panels are categorized into 

  1. Conventional Fire Alarm Control Panels
  2. Addressable Fire Alarm Control Panels

Conventional Fire Alarm Control Panels

What is an FACP? (Fire Alarm Control Panel) 3
  • Even though new Control Panels don’t make use of conventional panels.
  • Conventional panels work and announce with less precision.
  • Their monitoring system doesn’t involve constant governing. 
  • They can inform the area or zone of the triggered alarm 
  • However, they do not inform which specific device has initiated the triggering.

Addressable Fire Alarm Control Panels

What is an FACP? (Fire Alarm Control Panel) 4
  • Addressable Fire Alarm Control Panels communicate back and forth with each individual part of their system at a constant interval.
  • These panels can announce the current status of each module in every specific initiator.

Interaction with Control Panels

  • Control panels are the principal hub for the whole system. 
  • Control panels act as the point of origin for human interfacing and are known as Person Machine Interface (PMI).
  • Both conventional panels and addressable panels communicate with the people and devices in their environments.

What do the Control Panels tell to the People?

Both Addressable and Conventional Panels announce three conceivable states of the fire alarm system.

  1. Alarm Condition: An immediate threat to life and property has been recognized.
  2. Trouble Condition: The system has encountered a particular kind of malfunction that conflicts with its functions.
  3. Supervisory Condition:  Something unusual is happening within the system. 

What does the People tell to the Control Panels

Keys on the FACP interface issue a path for operators, technicians, and emergency responders to provide necessary information to addressable units and conventional units.

Acknowledge

  • This message informs the FACP that you are aware of what caused the alarm. 
  • It prevents the panel from informing you of the current circumstance. 
  • It does not deactivate the notification device. Pulls, detectors, speakers, and strobes remain operational.

Silencers

This kind of notification informs the FACP that everything is secure and prepared for human beings to return to space or halt the evacuation. After receiving the metaphorical “all clear,” the FACP disables all audible and visible warning systems.

What are the types of signals received by the FACP?

FACP receives three main types of signals 

  1. Alarm Signal 
  2. Supervisory Signal and 
  3. Trouble Signal. 

Alarm signal: 

  • An alarm signal advises a possible fire. 
  • The FACP automatically activates the audible and visual notification upon receiving an alarm signal to alert the residents to evacuate the premises.

Supervisory signal: 

  • Supervisory signal suggests “Please pay attention to this right now!”
  • A supervisory signal doesn’t trigger the notification devices or cause fire trucks.

Trouble signal: 

A trouble signal usually indicates a wiring, communication, or battery issue that is required to be addressed.

Pre-Alarm Signals:

 Some systems provide pre-alarm signals, offering an early warning before the full alarm activates, allowing for investigation or verification.

Applications of Fire Alarm Control Panels

  1. Emergency Notification
  2. Preventing Structural Damage and Fatalities
  3. Alarming and Evacuation
  4. Integration with Sprinkler System
  5. Fire and Smoke Control
  6. Hazard Alerting
  7. Property and Life Protection

Advantages of Fire Alarm Control Panels 

  1. Configuration and Installation is easy 
  2. These offer low or no maintenance
  3. These systems provide peace of mind

Disadvantages of Fire Alarm Control Panels

Installation cost is high.

People also ask 

What is FACP in a fire alarm system?

A Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP) is the principal element of a fire alarm system.

How many types of FACP are there?

There are four basic types of panels: 

  1. Coded panels, 
  2. Conventional panels, 
  3. Addressable panels, and 
  4. Multiplex systems

Where are FACP panels located?

  • FACP panels are located very close to the front entrance.
  • In larger buildings, these FACP panels are located in an enclosed emergency control room. 

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