Radio Fire Alarms

The Term Radio Fire Alarm.

When wire-free fire alarms first came onto the market, they were referred to as a Radio Fire Alarm system. But as the years have gone by and more wire-free devices became commonplace in our everyday use, the term Wi-Fi and Wireless were the terms used to describe devices that communicated by Radio. Therefore the term Radio was replaced with Wireless.

What is a Radio Fire Alarm

First, let us define a Radio Fire Alarm.
A typical Fire Alarm System will have a control panel, input devices such as manual call points and detectors, with output devices such as audible sounders visual beacons and relays. The control panel needs to communicate continuously with these devices and there are two ways commonly used to achieved this; we can use wires to send and receive the information back and forth, or you can do this wirelessly using radio signals.

As advancements in radio technology has improved, a lot of it due to the mobile phone industry, this same technology has improved the speed of data transfer and reliability of radio fire alarms. The fire alarm control panel will have an antenna that allows the devices to have continuous communication at all times with the radio devices and the radio frequency used is now 868Mhz.

Which System is totally Wire-Free?

In today’s market of Radio fire alarms, which systems can we truly call a totally wire-free system? Well out of the three dominant wireless manufacturers (Electro Detectors with the Zerio Plus, Sterling Safety Systems with the Hyfire and EMS with the FireCell) whose systems comply with the wireless fire alarm code EN54-25, I would have to say it would be the Zerio Plus from Electro Detectors.
The Zerio Plus has a total Radio Fire Alarm Control Panel with an Antenna, and all the radio peripheral devices communicate directly to the panel via radio waves.
Whereas the Hyfire and FireCell, do not have a Radio fire alarm control panel, but a standard wired control panel with a wired Radio interface that sits on the detection circuit.
However, this setup allows the Hyfire and the FireCell to be in a position to provide a hybrid alternative, whereas the Zerio Plus does not have this feature.
But this is not to say that the Hyfire and the FireCell cannot provide a complete radio system, they can. This can be achieved by placing the Radio interface module very close to the control panel or as the FireCell has done, built a bespoke panel and place the interface inside the housing of the wired panel.
In conclusion, the term Radio Fire Alarm is the old term used for a wire-free fire alarm. However, todays term for a wire-free system is a Wireless Fire Alarm system.