Commercial Fire 101

A fire can destroy your business in a matter of seconds. It is crucial to have a state-of-the-art fire system monitored 24/7 by experts. Commercial fire has four categories: Initiation, Notification, Monitoring, and Maintenance.


First, fire is detected. There are a few devices that can detect fire.

Smoke detectors detect fire using photoelectric sensors. Inside the detector are a light beam and mirror. When the beam is interrupted by smoke and therefore does not reflect off the mirror, the detector signals a fire.

Heat detectors operate off a fixed temperature, usually 135 degrees or 190 degrees. When the detector senses the fixed temperature, the detector pops and signals a fire. Some detectors have a rate of rise feature. When it gets hot quickly, like 15 degrees every minute, it will go off. Most heat detectors operate off both a fixed temperature and rate of rise setting. As commercial fire experts, our team will help you choose the most effective heat detectors for the different rooms in your business.

Water flow switches allow us to monitor water flow. These are inside the emergency sprinkler system. Once a fire is detected, and the pipes start flowing with water, our monitoring center is notified. We do not install sprinkler systems, but we monitor them so that we can dispatch emergency services as soon as possible.

Pull stations allow people within the building to pull the handle and automatically signal a fire alarm. These are activated by user input and are necessary when an employee or guest sees an uncontrollable fire before the smoke reaches the smoke detector.


Next, the people inside your building are notified through strobes and sirens.

Strobes will start flashing as soon as a fire is detected. Using sync modules, we program the lights to flash simultaneously so that if anyone in the building has a medical condition, the lights will not induce a seizure. Usually, the strobe is a white light, but we can install different colors to signal various threats. For example, the strobes could be amber if you have an evacuation system. This allows employees to know there is no fire, but there is another serious threat, and they must evacuate the premises immediately.

Sirens produce an audible sound when a fire is detected. Like with the strobes, all sirens in the system will sound no matter where the fire is located in the building.


As soon as initiation has occurred, or in other words, a fire has been detected, our National Monitoring Center receives a signal. Within seconds, we dispatch emergency services and contact designated personnel from the business.


As a proactive safety measure, we can conduct sensitivity testing every year. To test the system, we blow smoke from a can into each smoke detector to ensure the sensor functions correctly. We use a special machine that measures the sensitivity of each smoke detector to make sure it is working within the range designed by the manufacturer. If you have a fire system, please do not test it yourself. We use professional equipment and inform the monitoring center of the testing so they do not dispatch for a false alarm.

If you are interested in more information about a commercial fire system, contact a Comtronics expert today. Call or text 517-787-2900 or email

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