Alarm Systems: How They Work And Function?

The concept of alarms or alarm systems is as old as the human civilization itself. There might be some acute objections with the said statement. However, on delving deep into the subject matter, it could be realized that protecting one’s precious belongings and loved ones as well against external hazards like a fire has been a natural instinct of humankind since times immemorial.

While the ancient forms of alarms ideally based on messengers bringing forth varied kinds of news, the modern-day counterpart has evolved to sky-high limits in terms of technological advancements that our ancestors could never even dream about. 

Major Alarm Types

The modern-day alarm systems or as the Dutch would say alarmsystemen has multiple types of variations and uses. The most common type of alarm systems include:

  • Burglar Alarms
  • Fire and Smoke Alarms
  • Car Alarms
  • Personal or Anti-assailant Alarm

The above alarms are usually found in residential spaces and for personal use. Some types of commercial or industrial level alarms are:

  • DCS aka distributed control systems used to attract immediate attention for any undefined activities in areas like nuclear power plants, chemical refineries, or any major industrial belts
  • O&M Alarms used to identify any part of monitoring systems that are malfunctioning.
  • Fire and Smoke alarm enabled with a toxic detector for industrial uses

Some of the best alarm systems could be found at  

How does a modern alarm system function?

Awed by the fascinations of the alarm system, the first question that comes to the mind is “How does Alarms Work?” The answer is simple. They work with the aid of sensors. Depending on the nature of the alarms, these sensors are made to measure the intensity of the substance or event in question. 

For example, in case of fire alarms or nuclear power plants DCS, the primary measuring factor would be heated.

While sensors form the most important part of alarm systems, there are some more crucial parts like:

  • Panel:  The panel can be termed as the ‘brain’ of the alarm system. It is responsible for reading the inputs provided by the sensors, de-coding the input and then defining the threat intensity of the situation to inform relevant authorities or not.
  • Alert Device: These devices can be either sound or light-emitting machines like bells, sirens, flashlights which upon receiving a signal from the panel starts their job either by making sounds or producing lights.
  • User Interface: Since Alarms are primarily designed to keep human lives and their properties safe, therefore having an interactive Interface is necessary in order to define threat limits and information provision authorities. Usually, a keypad or number pad does the job of this customization. 

Wiring and Power: Last but not the least, without proper power and wired connectivity, even the best of alarm systems would fail to work. Therefore, having the correct power source along with necessary wiring details is extremely important in order to have a smooth functioning alarm system.


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