How to install a fire alarm

How to install a fire alarm

Since March 8, 2015, all dwellings in South Africa must be equipped with a device that triggers an alarm at the slightest appearance of fire smoke. Here is where to install your smoke detector in your house or apartment.

Each year in South Africa, nearly 10,000 people are victims of domestic fires, and 800 die from them. It is for this reason that the law has made it compulsory to install at least one automatic smoke detector in every home.

These small boxes emit a loud 85 dB sound signal as soon as they detect smoke in the room where they have been installed.

The goal: to warn occupants as quickly as possible when a fire starts. As the Home Office recalls, 70% of fatal fires take place at night.


The main recording devices – sensors – are designed for fast and rapid detection of the first signs of fire and smoke.

The sensor can either independently activate the alarm or activate the warning system, activate the fire extinguisher, and transmit data to the emergency intervention part of the Ministry of Emergencies. The fire alarm system is a set of technical means of detection and primary information described above.

Proper configuration and timely verification of fire detection systems play an important role. During long-term operation, the sensors can get dirty, fail, which affects their performance and, consequently, the safety of people’s lives and property.

Quickly detecting the ignition source and decoding information about its location can solve various problems:

  • Activation of the fire extinguishing system and informing the fire department of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
  • Carrying out the evacuation of people.
  • Locating the fire source.
  • Reduction of financial expenses.
  • Minimizing injuries and deaths among people.

How to choose your smoke detector?

You must choose a smoke detector with CE marking in accordance with the harmonized South Africa standard.

Note that there are detectors specially adapted for deaf people working with light or vibrating signals. For those who want to combine safety and good taste, know that there are also designer smoke detectors.

Where to place the fire alarm according to the SA law?

The law requires the installation of a fire alarm per floor of the accommodation. Preferably, the box should be installed in the landing or hallway serving the bedrooms.

On the other hand, it is not recommended to equip the bathroom, the laundry room, and the kitchen where cooking fumes or condensation linked to water vapor can trigger the alarm in an untimely manner.

It should be fixed as high as possible, ideally on the ceiling in the center of the room, but in this case, it should be at least 50 cm from an electronic ballast, a low voltage transformer, or light bulbs. energy saving.

Please note, it is forbidden to install smoke detectors in the common areas of apartment buildings for safety reasons.


The main function of fire alarm sensors is to respond quickly to changes in environmental parameters. The sensors differ from each other in the principle of operation, the type of monitored parameter, the method of information transfer.

The principle of operation can be of two types – passive and active: the first involves only the actuation, the second – the actuation and monitoring of environmental parameters. Depending on the level of danger, the active detectors provide different signals to the automatic control station.

Suction detectors take air samples, deliver them and analyze them. The sensors differ from each other in controlled physical parameters, which are divided into several categories:

  • It’s warming up.
  • Smoke.
  • Flame.
  • Carbon monoxide leaks.
  • Water leaks.


The smoke detector included in the fire alarm scheme is designed to determine the ignition source by detecting smoke in the part of the building in which it is located.

Sensors of this type of optics – the generation of an electrical signal takes place by fixing the light on the LED by the photocell of the inner tube. When smoked, less light enters the photocell, which triggers the sensor. The working temperature range of the sensors is from -30 to +40 degrees.


The installation of the fire alarm system is carried out in accordance with the official documentation – fire safety regulations, which specify the rules for the design, installation, and operation of these systems.

The process of creating various fire extinguishing systems is governed by these rules. For example, the surface and height of the room ceilings determine the number of point smoke detectors and their relative position relative to each other.


Before inserting the fire alarm sensors, estimate the area in the room where the installation will be performed. For this, the range of detectors is determined. This is best done in collaboration with experts.

The activity of installed detectors must not interfere with third-party stimuli: for example, odors in the kitchen can cause a response of smoke sensors. Heat sensors should be located away from artificial heat sources.

Multi-touch sensors increase the efficiency of the fire alarm, especially if it is installed in a growing building. It is possible to provide a combined scheme of fire alarm sensors that communicate with each other via radio control.

The warning system is set so that the alarm is heard by everyone in the room or building.

The main recommendation is to maintain the alarm in a timely manner. For this, the systems are periodically checked and reconfigured. Some models are equipped with protection against insects, dust, moisture and other irritants.

The complete set of fire prevention systems includes installation and operating instructions. If the manufacturer’s recommendations are followed, the tools may take a long time.

Avoid installing a smoke alarm in a bathroom, a kitchen or near a ventilation system as this may trigger the alarm without reason, or on the contrary the alarm may not sound in the event of real start of fire.