Any loss of fire protection through equipment failure can have financial, technical and reputational consequences. However, the problem is heightened in high-risk and complex sites, where any form of system downtime can severely compromise safety, contravene regulations and lead to major losses of money, time and confidence in the fire system. In these settings, a redundant fire system is the only real option to achieve an acceptable level of protection and business continuity. However, not all redundant systems are created equal, so it’s important to understand the levels of risk at stake and to choose and plan your redundant system accordingly.
What level of redundancy does the system offer?
Some systems provide redundancy via a redundant microprocessor on the motherboard. If a panel or processor stops working, this twin, identically programmed device is ready to take over. However, this approach can be relatively costly and does not offer 100% redundancy. Other manufacturers take a different approach by using a full dual redundant model. In these systems, a redundant fire alarm panel operates in ‘hot standby’ mode. Whenever a system fault is detected, all field wiring circuits automatically change over to the redundant panel.
A true redundant specification would also consist of a redundant/backup mains supply. An AC feeder selector card should be available to safely change from automatic changeover, to live mains – or back up live mains – in order to maintain the integrity of the system while work is undertaken. This highly reliable and adaptable method, such as the one used by Advanced, ensures no loss of coverage or performance. It is ideally suited to premises where any aspect of fire system downtime is simply not an option.
Does the system allow you to control where and how you apply redundant control?
It is worth ensuring that the system you choose can be programmed and adapted to meet the varying needs of the areas where redundant operation is specified. It should ideally offer a range of automatic and manual control options too, so that you can fine-tune your redundant system design. Advanced’s redundant control systems are programmed using DynamixTools software, making configuration easy. In this way, you can choose to protect only the most vulnerable areas of your system, saving installation and material costs.
How easy is retrofit installation?
Where a need for redundant control arises in established sites, it’s important to choose a system that is easy to retrofit. Advanced’s redundant controllers can be built into specially designed fire panels or supplied standalone as boxed units giving you the flexibility to design systems. A unique user-friendly key switch allows simple control of automatic, main and redundant operation, along with a secure main AC selector switch that provides 100% redundancy, fine-tuned to your suit your needs. Choosing the right redundant fire system for your site can be a complex business. Selecting a tried and tested supplier with a proven track record helps ensure you invest in a system that affords complete long-term protection and that all-important peace of mind.