What is the best type of fire detector?

No one type of detector is most suitable for all applications and the final choice of detector must depend on the individual circumstances. In certain situations it may be useful to combine different types of detectors (including multi-criteria detectors) to achieve the best results.

Smoke Detector

According to AS 1670.1, "a fire detection and alarm system should operate before the escape routes become smoke-logged to such an extent that occupants will have difficulty finding their way out of the building."

Buildings are made up of distinct use zones, and each zone such as a kitchen, bedroom or corridor requires special consideration in regard to the selection of the most suitable fire detector.

The likely fire behaviour of the contents of each part of the building, the use and the design of the building should be considered. The susceptibility of each compartment or area within the building to to heat, smoke, water damage and other airborne contaminants should also be considered.

The following is a list of typical areas within a building along with a list of the recommended type of fire detector as set out in Australian Standard AS 1670.1;

Location / Area Possible Risks Detector Type
Laundry / Bathroom Steam, high humidity, aerosols Carbon Monoxide or Heat
Kitchen Smoke and fumes from cooking, steam. Heat or Carbon Monoxide
Kitchen exhaust duct Grease, steam, airborne contamination. Special purpose fixed temperature heat.
Electrical Riser Dust, Accumulated Contamination S
Vertical Service Shaft Dust, Accumulated Contamination Smoke or Carbon Monoxide
Autoclave / Sterilizer Steam Carbon Monoxide or Heat Detector
Roof Space Dust, Accumulated Contamination, High Temperatures Aspirating Smoke Detector or Point Type Smoke Detector1
Concealed Space Dust, Accumulated Contamination, High Temperatures Aspirating Smoke Detector or Point Type Smoke Detector
Flammable Liquid Store Oxidation, Accumulated Contamination, High Temperatures Heat with normal temperature duty and rate-of-rise operation, smoke, flame.
Car Park Exhaust smoke, Dust, Accumulated Contamination Heat with normal temperature duty and rate of rise operation.
Air Ducts Dust, Accumulated Contamination Smoke
Fume Cupboard Fumes, Oxidation, Smoke, Accumulated Contamination Special purpose fixed temperature heat detector.
Spray Painting Booth Accumulated Contamination, Paint Heat and Flame Detector
Boiler Room / Furnace High Temperatures, Smoke, Dust,  Accumulated Contamination Heat with high temperature operation and fixed temperature operation.
Stages, Nightclubs or Rides Theatrical Smoke Carbon Monoxide or Heat Detectors
High Ceilings2   Smoke or Carbon Monoxide