Exclusive: Choosing the right fire system with Advanced

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Advanced looks at the key things to consider when deciding on the best fire system for your site

Choosing the right fire system can be a challenge. With a variety of solutions and options available, knowing which products are best suited to your needs and meets the right fire safety legislation and regulations for your location can prove confusing.  

Whether you are looking for a panel or a full system, here are some of the key choices to make when deciding on the best solution for your site.

Protocol compatibility

At the centre of any active system is the fire panel – single or multi-loop, standalone or networked. The choice available is wide, and the priority should be finding a solution that offers versatility.

Open- or multi-protocol fire systems allow much greater freedom of device choice, allowing you to choose devices that best suit the site’s needs rather than restricting you to what’s available in a particular manufacturer’s range. Some brands of devices lend themselves much better to the demands of areas prone to false alarms, for example, while others are ideal for buildings that require flush-mounted devices for reduced visual impact.

Leading detector protocols include Apollo, Argus, Hochiki and Nittan, and it’s worth looking out for these names when choosing your fire system to ensure you can access a complete range of wired and wireless devices. For retrofit projects, backwards compatibility and the option to easily combine existing and new equipment are also important considerations, and choosing a fire panel that works with a variety of protocols can save time and money.


Fire industry legislation and regulations can be a minefield, and it can be frustrating trying to find a product that has the features you want, approved for use in your region.

Advanced offers solutions for both UL and EN markets – so you can be confident you’re getting the great Advanced features you need while complying with your country’s local fire safety standards.

Featuring a high-performance addressable panel approved to EN54 Parts 2, 4 and 13, Axis EN has been tested to the highest standards of quality, reliability and technical integrity. Offering the versatility of UK best-seller the MxPro 5 panel, combined with complete peripheral and wired and wireless device ranges, it’s a great fire system option for territories that have adopted European product standards.

Part 13 compliance ensures that a fire system will continue to perform to its maximum capability during a fire situation. Increased current in alarm conditions combined with a high-resistance connection (e.g. an incorrectly tightened screw in a sounder base), could prevent the sounders and beacons from operating on what would have incorrectly appeared to have been an acceptable ‘fault-free’ installation. Axis EN continuously monitors all transmission lines for compliance, checking and reporting faults every minute of every day to ensure maximum safety.

Meanwhile, Axis AX offers the same high-performance and flexibility of Axis EN to those who require UL compliance, combining feature-packed addressable panels with audio systems, command centres and a comprehensive range of detectors.

Built with versatility and choice in mind, Axis AX is designed to be scalable and flexible, allowing you to easily adapt your fire alarm system to suit your needs with minimal disruption. Its modular system makes customisation easy, offering a wide variety of configurations and applications.

Even better, Advanced’s easy-to-use fire panel software is available for both its EN and UL-approved products, so benefits like easy configuration, networking and BMS integration are available no matter where you are in the world.

Site size

While large business sites might need complex multi-loop networked fire panels with a high number of detectors, smaller and medium-sized businesses, such as coffee shops, GP surgeries, small offices, bars and restaurants often have far more straightforward requirements for a simpler alarm solution with fewer detectors.

These types of sites generally don’t have the capacity to invest in a solution that goes beyond their needs, instead looking for systems offering value for money, reliability, performance and quality. For example, in a small coffee shop if a fire occurs the shop will be instantly evacuated so there is no need for a sophisticated multi-loop fire panel which allows the phased evacuation that would be necessary in a hospital.

With small-site budgets in mind, cost-efficiencies have been central to the development of Advanced’s Go, the new generation, single-loop fire alarm control panel which gives access to popular MxPro 5 premium features but in a simpler, non-networkable format for complete fire protection peace of mind. Developed for smaller locations while still offering flexible and powerful protection, Go’s versatility provides complete freedom to quickly and easily design the perfect wired or wireless solution for any standalone site.

Advanced also offers a cost-effective, single-loop option for countries where EN standards apply, in the form of AxisGo. Featuring the same reliability and flexibility of the premium Axis EN range, AxisGo is a great choice for simpler sites where networking isn’t required.

Wired or wireless?

For many locations, standard wired devices are the go-to option. But what solutions are there for sites where cabling would impact the building’s aesthetic, or be difficult and costly to reach inaccessible areas?

Choosing a fire alarm system that supports wireless detection means you’ll have the flexibility to opt for wireless devices, whether you require a fully wireless or hybrid system.

Wireless solutions not only mean lower visual and physical impact, they are also faster and cheaper to install, making them an increasingly popular alternative for sites where downtime isn’t an option, or re-wiring would prove disruptive. Thanks to two-way communication with the panel, battery replacement and fault reporting can also be worked into the on-going maintenance schedule via the panel service tools.

Advanced open-protocol MxPro 5 and Go panels both support a versatile range of wireless devices, including Apollo REACH, Argus Taurus and Hochiki Ekho so there’s plenty of flexibility to customise your system to best suit your needs.

There are wireless options available for Axis EN users too. Axis wireless devices are powerful, reliable and fast to install and configure. They’re also rigorously tested to meet EN54-25 standards and can be used as part of completely wireless or hybrid systems, providing a trusted, flexible solution.

System integration

When choosing your fire system it is a good idea to consider any add-ons you might want to incorporate – either now or at a later stage – to ensure your system supports them. For example, do you want to integrate your fire alarm panel with other safety or security systems, or a wider Building Management System (BMS)? It is worth checking with your chosen supplier if they have their own solutions for your requirements, or if you will need integration with third-party equipment for full protection.

A popular requirement is the option to link the fire control panel to an intelligent emergency lighting system, such as Advanced’s Dynamic Safety Signage (DSS). Available in the UK, it can be used as a standalone system, or integrated with a fire alarm panel programmed to trigger emergency lighting if an incident occurs.

Proven to make building evacuations faster and safer, DSS uses green moving and pulsing LED arrows to clearly indicate safe exits and red LED crosses to boldly show no-go areas. It provides a safer alternative to traditional static signage, particularly when installed at high-footfall sites where people are likely to be unfamiliar with the layout, such as transport hubs, hospitals, and stadiums.

Fire system integration means it’s also possible to program cause and effect, allowing DSS to be used adaptively. This ensures that as evacuation situations evolve, only the safest escape routes are highlighted whilst unviable exits are clearly marked as no-go areas. For added safety, DSS is also compatible with Advanced’s LuxIntelligent emergency lighting test system, making it easy to prove compliance and identify any parts of the system requiring attention.

Depending on your site, you may also want to consider including additional fire protection measures in your system. For example, high-risk and sensitive areas such as IT server rooms, or museums housing historic or cultural collections, may benefit from including a gas extinguishing panel such as Advanced’s ExGo.

Like Dynamic Safety Signage, ExGo offers the versatility of standalone use, or it can be integrated with an Advanced MxPro 5 panel or Axis EN fire system, or with any third-party fire system.

Used all over the world to protect sensitive and strategic assets – from the Magna Carta at Lincoln Castle, to M Station, the United Arab Emirates’ largest power generation and desalination plant – ExGo provides a simple, dependable solution to complex fire protection problems.

The choice is yours

When it comes to making decisions about your fire system, the options really are endless. Ultimately, the key thing to look out for is versatility. Your supplier should be able to offer everything you need to achieve your required level of functionality, while providing peace of mind that your site and the people in it are being effectively protected. Choosing a fire equipment manufacturer that offers a versatile range of options is the best way to guarantee compatibility, compliance and above all, safety.

This exclusive article was originally published in the May 2023 issue of International Fire & Safety Journal. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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