Electrical wire and cable are often qualified according to special traits that make them suitable for their intended applications. For example, marine battery cable is extra flexible and resistant to corrosion. Photovoltaic, or PV cable, must be resistant to the elements and specifically resistant to UV light. Otherwise, they would not be well-designed for their intended purposes. AWG fire alarm cables are no different.
Designed to carry low voltage loads and to ensure uninterrupted communication around an alarm circuit, high-quality AWG fire alarm cables, like so many other types of electrical cables, are designed with a number of features that make them suitable for their use in fire alarms systems. Notably, the following three traits guarantee quality.
1. Resistance to high heat; Flame-retardance
First, and perhaps most obvious, it is important that fire alarm cables are finished with insulation that is highly resistant to high temperatures. Specifically, it is helpful if the insulation itself is flame retardant. Understandably, both plenum and riser-rated cables might be subjected to high temperatures if there were ever a fire, and if they were suddenly to fail, the effects would be disastrous.
For this reason, the highest quality fire alarm cables contain copper conductors that are thoroughly insulated with PVC jackets (or other materials) that are highly resistant to heat and flame. Some fire alarm cables may even have insulation that is not only resistant to open flames, but actually self extinguishes.
2. Insulation that does not produce toxic fumes when burned or overheated
As vital as it is for fire alarm cables to be finished with insulation that protects them against heat in order to ensure their communication with smoke detectors and their overall serviceability, it is not the only feature that matters. Electrical engineers have also had to consider the safety of the occupants of the buildings.
Many synthetic materials, including polymers and thermoplastics that are used to insulate other electrical control circuits and signal circuits, produce toxic, noxious fumes when they burn. Some of them release may even release dangerous vapors beneath their flashpoints.
Smoke is one of the most dangerous components of a fire, and the best quality AWG fire alarm cables will be finished with insulation that not only produces non-toxic fumes when burned but a minimum of smoke at all.
3. Full, foil-faced shielding against electromagnetic interference (EMI)
Electromagnetic interference, also known as EMI, is one of the most serious concerns for notification circuits and security alarms systems, like or burglar alarms. EMI can arise from a variety of natural or artificial sources, but regardless of its origin, it can scramble the signals carried by alarm systems and in extreme cases even incapacitate them. High-quality fire alarm cables contain full foil-faced insulation to protect against electromagnetic interference, safeguarding the integrity and operability of the systems they serve.
Interested in learning more about AWG fire alarm cables, or do you simply need to pick up some high-quality, color-coded cables to complete a system’s circuit? Check EWCS Wire at EWCSWire.com. Aptly named, the Electrical Wire and Cable Specialists sell a wide range of security and alarm cables, including both riser and plenum rated cables. Visit their website or contact them at 1-800-262-1598 to learn more.