The command center of any fire alarm system is the fire alarm control panel. Its importance should never be underestimated in your fire protection system. Actually, fire alarm panels are required by building codes in many countries, if any building wants to certify installment of a fire alarm system. If you examine the functions within the control panel, you will understand why it is so.
The chief function of the fire alarm panel is serving as the brains behind the entire system. All fire detection units throughout the building, such as the smoke alarms, are directly connected to it. These units are often compartmentalized into sections or zones within the building,so as to afford greater ease of control.
A useful function of the fire alarm control panel is to alert the fire department to a fire in the building, if it is set up like this. Do note that not all fire alarm control panels can be set up in this manner, but nowadays, many good systems can do that
The control panel is also in charge of the heat sensors and the sprinkler systems throughout the building. Therefore, the fire alarm panel is essential in any kind of fire alarm system. You then only need to access the control panel to reset the system in the event of an alarm trigger, or to set up fire drills on a periodic basis.
Although alarm panels are a requirement in new buildings, older buildings or houses will probably not have them. Many homeowners make the mistake of going for the cheaper, battery powered smoke alarms which have one big drawback - They tend to go off at the slightest hint of an overcooked meal in the oven.
Also, these small smoke alarms are usually not wired to the fire department, so if they go off when no one is at home, the fire department will not be alerted, and the building will get burned down. Although a fire alarm control panel is more expensive, but it proves its worth in terms of convenience, and effectiveness.