Fire alarms are an essential component of any building's safety infrastructure. In the event of a fire, they alert occupants and initiate evacuation procedures. However, these alarms cannot function without a reliable power source, which is where battery sizing comes into play.
In Malaysia, the Malaysian Standard (MS) 1745:2014 specifies the requirements for the design, installation, and maintenance of fire alarm systems. It also outlines the guidelines for battery sizing in fire alarm systems.
The primary purpose of the battery in a fire alarm system is to provide backup power in the event of a power outage. The battery must have enough capacity to power the fire alarm system for a specific period of time, typically 24 hours, without recharging.
The size of the battery required depends on several factors, including the size and complexity of the fire alarm system and the expected duration of the power outage. MS 1745:2014 provides a formula for calculating the battery size required for a given system:
Battery capacity (Ah) = System standby current (A) x 24 hours
The standby current refers to the amount of current the fire alarm system draws when it is not actively detecting a fire. This includes the power required to keep the control panel and any connected devices, such as smoke detectors, operational.
It is important to note that the battery must be capable of delivering the required capacity at the specified voltage. MS 1745:2014 recommends using sealed lead-acid batteries, which are reliable, long-lasting, and easy to maintain.
In addition to calculating the battery size, MS 1745:2014 also specifies the requirements for battery location, installation, and maintenance. The battery must be located in a secure, well-ventilated area, away from any heat sources or flammable materials. It must also be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and secured to prevent any movement.
Regular maintenance of the battery is critical to ensure its reliability in the event of a power outage. MS 1745:2014 recommends conducting regular inspections of the battery and its connections, cleaning any corrosion or dirt, and testing the battery's capacity and voltage.
In conclusion, battery sizing is a critical aspect of fire alarm system design and installation. Adhering to the guidelines set out in MS 1745:2014 ensures that the battery is capable of providing reliable backup power in the event of a power outage, and that it is installed and maintained to the highest standards of safety and reliability. By following these guidelines, building owners and occupants can have peace of mind knowing that their fire alarm system is ready to respond in the event of an emergency.