Popular Fire Alarm Brands in Your Area

Here’s an older topic that I want to revive. What companies are dominant in your area? What companies are virtually nonexistent? What sort of patterns have you noticed with where certain companies are more common?

My Area (St. Cloud, MN):

Simplex: Not too common anymore; super common on 1960s/70s-era systems and pretty common up until the late-2000s. There are very few new Simplex systems in my area, although one local university seems to use Simplex 4100U/ES voice-evac systems exclusively to this day.

Siemens: The exact opposite of Simplex. Virtually nonexistent until the mid-2000s; now super common. Very popular in newer, larger institutional buildings and fairly common to see in traditional retail stores as well.

Honeywell (Notifier, Gamewell-FCI, Fire-Lite, Silent Knight, System Sensor): Super common. Conventional Fire-Lite systems are super common in smaller new retail developments around here, while Notifier is the brand of choice for larger buildings. Notifier is super popular in a lot of schools in my area, as well as other government buildings. Gamewell-FCI is the least common of the four, but a different university uses them exclusively. Interestingly, a lot of the new smaller Fire-Lite systems in my area have System Sensor L-series notification appliances, but with Notifier systems (and Siemens systems for that matter) the Wheelock Exceder seems to be the N/A of choice. Notifier also seems to be the most popular brand for voice-evac systems in my area. I’ve never seen a Silent Knight system in my area.

Edwards/EST: Has never been all that common, but has seen fairly constant representation in new construction since at least the 1980s. Plenty of buildings had and still have older Edwards systems. In particular, modern EST systems seem to be super popular in new hotels and apartment complexes (probably because of the EST Genesis’s low-profile design). EST also sees some use in schools, and a third local university uses them exclusively. Another interesting thing that I’ve noted geographically is that for some reason the downtown area seems to have a huge concentration of EST systems while the rest of the city doesn’t.

Gentex: Gentex-branded notification appliances (specifically the SHGs) are found with some 90s-era Simplex and Notifier systems, but otherwise Gentex is virtually nonexistent in new construction. Once and a while modern Honeywell system might get spec’d with Gentex Commander-series N/A’s, but it’s pretty uncommon.

Wheelock: Like I’ve already mentioned, Wheelock N/A’s are pretty common on modern Notifier Systems, used pretty much always on modern Siemens systems, and for a while were pretty popular on Simplex systems. There are even some EST systems with Wheelock N/A’s in my area. Bottom line: Wheelock is the go-to brand for notification appliances in my area.

Federal Signal/Space Age/Potter/Johnson Controls/Cerberus Pyrotronics/Faraday/Amesco/RSG: All brands, among others, that are either nonexistent or nearly nonexistent in my area. There are a handful of modern-ish Notifier systems that have Amesco or Potter select-a-horn/strobes for N/A’s. A few older Faraday and Cerberus Pyrotronics systems exist from the 1970s and 80s, but not nearly as many as Honeywell, Edwards, or Simplex systems from that same time period. I’ve never seen a single Space Age device in my area. Federal Signal-branded stuff is used a lot for general signaling, but I don’t think there are any Federal Signal fire alarm systems in my area.

The top brands in my school district are EST and simplex. EST is becoming popular in the school district due to the district signing with a contractor that specializes in EST and silent knight systems. Simplex is quite proprietary, especially with programming and installs and replacements, they need to have a simplex tech in order to do anything to the system and that is quite a problem.

In Windsor County Vermont, at least in Springfield, it’s like most people were furious with Simplex from the get go. :lol:

The most popular in the late-1980s:


Pull stations: FCi

Signals: Wheelock 7002Ts


The only Simplex system I know of in Windsor County right now, is Springfield Hospital. Looks like Simplex is likely more popular in New Hampshire.

Even Edwards looks a bit more popular.

Wheelock 7002Ts and the predecessor, the 7002, are/were all over the place in Springfield.


In Windham County, Vermont, (south of Windsor County) in Bellows Falls, Space Age signals seem common, but I bet Wheelock is more common there, too.

Of course now, it’s unsurprising to find Wheelock signals now. ASes and NSes are popular, IIRC. But it looks like Bellows Falls also is likely to get a lot of System Sensor signals.

Not surprising but when I was younger and in elementary school there used to be a lot more Simplex alarms then there are now but it seems that has stopped being so and there is very few places that I know of around me that still have Simplex and only my middle and high school still have Simplex systems at least for now.

Edwards was also pretty rare for me also and only showed up a handful of times in systems but it was nothing big and the area seems to prefer other brands over the system and I would need to travel quite out of my way to find a system that was primarily Edwards. I am still shocked that my high school modular building had 892-2B horn/strobes and SPO pulls while the main building mostly had 9838s on 4903 strobe plates.

Gentex is the second most rare brand for me which I understand because it wasn’t necessarily as big as Simplex and the company over here used more Wheelock horns for replacements rather than anything that is Gentex because I think their alarms were more preferred by the branch over here. After my first encounter with an SHG though, any alarm I saw that had the strobe in the middle I automatically assumed was an SHG. Tying it back to my school years, my elementary school had two of them.

Wheelock is the second most common behind Simplex and is still the second most common but Simplex isn’t as common anymore. Mostly there were electronic horns like the MT and AS and I only ever saw 7002Ts once and I’m not banking on seeing them ever honestly over here.

As for everything else, nothing really was used much in systems or as replacements for horns that ended up dying and I don’t think I have seen much if any of some of the brands. I can honestly say I have never saw a Federal Signal horn on any system. There is a Stop & Shop around the area I’m in and that has Space Age Electronics VA4s as well as an Applebee’s but that is pretty much it. Other than my high school which replaced their 2DCDs+AV32 with U-MMT horn/strobes I can’t think of anything else that has Space Age Electronics or Siemens.

As you probably have guessed, the most common brand where I live seems to be Notifier as more often than not, I see SpectrAlert Advances in systems and I’m just used to it by now though I would be lying if I said I am really hoping some older systems stay but that doesn’t seem to be happening though so at this point, I’m ready to see an Advance in either speaker or horn form appear every place that needs a system. My elementary school which had a Simplex system replaced everything with Advance speaker/strobes and the college I currently go to which originally had Simplex 4051 horns on 4050+80 flashes (no fire lettering) replaced everything with Advance speaker/strobes also.

Oh shucks, I forgot to add this:

In Rutland, Vermont, which is pretty much just SNW of Springfield, at least in old buildings, it looks like bells are popular!

The main brand in my area is Fire-Lite with System Sensor appliances. Exceeders are not hard to find either. Pretty much every school that isn’t my high school is Simplex or Gentex, with TrueAlerts, 4903 mechanical horns and Commanders. Occasionally Gamewell-FCI and Silent Knight with commanders will show up. There is relatively little voice evac besides in high schools and malls.

The main brands in my area include Autocall (specifically the CL, and TFX series), Notifier, and EST. Autocall is more common in 1990s era construction, particularly schools. There are a few Simplex systems in my area, including at Volusia Mall! As for N/As, Gentex and System Sensor seems pretty common in my area (the former of the two being more common on schools with Notifier systems), and there are an abundance of older Faraday and Federal Signal horns, light plates, and strobes, mostly in OLDER schools, but seems common in many stores. EST Genesis and Integrity signals are becoming more common in some parts of the county. Wheelock seems common in Grocery Stores.

I don’t know about Autocall, because it looked like they possibly fell from the face of this planet in the 1990s, if not some time before!

But, it looks like during the 1980s and possibly the 1990s, Federal Signal owned Autocall.

And I only remember seeing EST systems with EST Genesis horn/strobes indoors and EST Integrity horn/strobes outdoors in 2 buildings, if even that, and they have been around for a while now. (One in Springfield, Vermont and one in White River Junction, Vermont.) The building in White River Junction, is where the dentist I had is at. Inside, are red wall-mount Genesis horn/strobes, by the looks of them. Looks like there’s an Integrity horn/strobe on the right of the entrance outside.

I confirmed EST Genesis horn/strobes indoors and an EST Integrity horn/strobe outdoors at an apartment building on or near Summer Street in Springfield, Vermont, because the signals were sounding one day, possibly in 2009. :wink: I remember seeing the strobe flashes at the building.

Edwards/EST is very dominant where I live, or used to be. Every building had an Edwards system, schools, grocery stores, apartments, etc. Today, I would say Mircom is more dominant. I hardly see or work on Simplex/Notifier systems. Hell, I’ve worked on more Mirtone panels than I ever have on Simplex/Notifier.

My area is more or less a melting pot, but the dominating brands are the following:

Merlin Gerin (Defunct, got absorbed by Schneider Electric, that company (or conglomerate at this point) that coincidentally absorbed Square-D as well) : local library has a ultra-rare Merlin Gerin type IV system, they have also these weird double-tone sirens (I have one of these units in my collection), my former school had one whole batch of these sirens before the whole system got ripped out and replaced by a Legrand system.

Chubb, Sicli, ATS Électronique (UTC Group, Sicli is more or less like Grinnell, they’re very present in the extinguishing trade, ATSE brand has been dropped, Chubb is still a big name in the fire alarm trade) : they’re quite common in Oise, but not in my town.

Aviss, DEF [détection électronique française], FARE : Quite scarce, my former college (equivalent of junior high for those in America) has or had a Aviss Agora Bus B system, quite the workhorse (that thing was put up in the late 90’s), but you mostly see them from time to time…

Nugelec/Luminox/Eaton (active, NUGELEC and LUMINOX brands may have been dropped) : LUMINOX fire alarms are scarce they are (or were) a big name in the exit sign trade, NUGELEC is still quite present, but unfortunately most newly installed Nugelec systems I see are branded EATON, which makes me think that after absorbing Cooper, Eaton decided to drop some of the old brands that were under the wing of Cooper.

URA (formerly SAFT) : you still see some SAFT systems from time to time, they were very good panels, but alas, it’s fading away. Ura is one of Luminox’s biggest concurrents when it comes to exit signs.

Legrand (active) : ah Legrand, I could go on forever with them, a big player in the trade, their systems both ancient and new are quite common sight, they overtook URA, so yeah URA and Legrand both share the same technologies (e.g. SATI Self-test for exit signs…) and models. Legrand is also a quite prestigious brand in the fire alarm trade (mostly due to the fact they built up a very solid reputation, that still holds true to this day, their equipments are very very refined in terms of quality.)

Simplex: Most of the Simplex systems here are large 4100(U/ES) voice systems found in stadiums, convention centers, hotels, but not too common in smaller installs with horns.

EST: Is fairly common in both large and small installs, but only newer Genesis stuff generally

Siemens: Is common in places of worship (like my synagogue), high-rise residential buildings, among other places, and like EST, is generally newer stuff and in both larger and smaller installs (but more large than small)

Honeywell: Is by far the most common brand here, especially Notifier. Schools, almost all high-rise office buildings, apartments, you name it have a Honeywell (subsidiary) system. I would say that >60% of Honeywell installs have System Sensor, with Gentex in a lot of schools and older systems, and a select few with Wheelock.

System Sensor: By far the most prominent notification appliance brand. Advances and L-Series, which are already extremely common here, are in 50% of systems here. There are also a lot of System Sensor stuff with Bosch systems in a lot of grocery stores (every H-E-B system is Bosch with either Advances or now L-Series), and other stores.

I think I saw a Mirtone FACP in northern Vermont, in Northfield, Vermont. And I saw what looked like Wheelock 7002s, possibly the "T"s, they had the late-style grille, but possibly with the old style black horns. If they’re the "T"s, (silver-plated horns) then I doubt they are later than 1986. (the first ones of such) Thus likely placing them in the Faraday 6020/Simplex 2901-9833 era. The Mirtone FACP, looked like the same era.

A lot of that sounds right for Vermont, at least in southern Vermont and central Vermont, but I usually only see the Bosch brand sometimes. For a new pull station in the Claremont, New Hampshire Walmart, there is a Bosch pull station, which has a T-bar lever. And I never heard of “H-E-B”.

I have noticed a lot of simplex 4100/U/ES systems in downtown Portland. I have managed to see some newer simplex systems with TrueAlert ES horn strobes in that area. there is a simplex 4100 classic inside OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science And Industry). My dermatologist’s office has a simplex 4100U system (circa early to mid 2000’s). At the Portland Art Museum, there is a Notifier voice evac system (circa early 2000’s) with Spectralert classic speaker strobes, part of the building has an FCI system (possibly from the 1990’s).

My area has a pretty good balance of brands, making it quite difficult to identify a specific order of popularity. Here are the five most common brands, according to my very unscientific observations.

EST: Common in pretty much every type of building. EST products are especially popular in residential (condos, apartments, hotels and other types of residences) and small/mid-size commercial applications (stores, restaurants and car dealerships). I mostly see EST3s, QuickStarts and FireShields, but many older Edwards panels remain in service (particularly 6616s and 2280s).

Simplex: Particularly common in large buildings (such as high-rise office buildings) and institutional applications (schools/colleges/universities, hospitals, museums, and government buildings). While 4100-series panels are more common, it’s not rare to see other Simplex systems (such as 4002s, 4008s and 4010s) in smaller buildings.

Mircom: Very common in residential and small/mid-size commercial applications, but less common in large buildings and institutional applications. FA-100s, FA-1000s and FX-2000s are the most popular Mircom panels.

Notifier: Common in pretty much every type of building. Notifier’s popularity in my area has seemingly been increasing during the last decade.

Siemens: MXLs and XLS FireFinders are very common in large buildings and institutional applications. However, I rarely see Siemens systems in smaller buildings.

The residual systems consist of a mix of certain less common brands (mainly Potter, Fire-Lite and Secutron) and dead brands (such as Mirtone).

H-E-B is a large, unique grocery store chain only found in Texas (and now parts of Mexico).

I am talking about Grinnell/Autocall and Thorn-Autocall here. These systems mostly have FOS 6120 horn/strobes or even Wheelock EHSs or MTs!

In and around my home state of Michigan, the most common systems I’ve seen come from Edwards, Fire-Lite, Honeywell, National Time, Notifier, Simplex, and System Sensor. National Time is especially popular, as their headquarters is in Metro Detroit. For lesser-common systems, I’ve run across older Gamewell and Standard Electric systems in some places.

I’m now thinking maybe I should move to Michigan since they sound like they have unique systems. XD

My area has a decent mixture, but it’s not hard to discern the prevalence once you start looking. Listed below from most to least prevalent:

Siemens//Cerberus Pyrotronics//Pyrotronics//Pyr-A-Larm

Fairly common already and growing in popularity as of late. Pyrotronics and Simplex both developed a great customer base here from the 1960s onward, but the former has seriously surpassed Simplex in the past few years. Three of our school districts now use Siemens exclusively in new installs and retrofits; my district even did a mass replacement last year that saw every Honeywell and EST system ripped out and replaced by a new Siemens system of either the Cerberus PRO or FireFinder XLS varieties. New, smaller Siemens systems seem to be cropping up in commercial establishments around here more and more frequently, especially the Cerberus PRO FC901 and FC922 panels. Some of these have replaced Honeywell, EST, and even a couple of old Autocall systems. Of course, the Z-Series line has become even more ubiquitous than the SpectrAlert Advance around here, though some of the new systems use Siemens NS-MC-CR’s (Wheelock NS-24MCC-FR) for ceiling notification. Initiation devices are H-Series detectors and the HMS-D pull station in particular seems to be the favorite pull. The older Siemens ans Cerberus Pyrotronics stuff uses basically everything they’ve offered over the years for both notification and initiation.


Fairly common, but slowly losing ground in the smaller segment. Most of the systems installed around here in the past decade have been of the large 4100U/4100ES variety. Most of the middle and high schools in a neighboring school district (all with 1000+ students) have these systems with either Simplex TrueAlert (4906 variants) or Wheelock NS/RSS signals. One middle school has a red 4100U with white ZNS horn/strobes (wall and ceiling) and white ZRS (wall and ceiling) strobes. Older systems are mostly 4020s, 4002s and 4005s, some replacing 2001s and 4207/8 panels. There are a few 4010s, but most of the older 4100 systems have been upgraded in the past five years to 4100ES equipment. Initiation devices are pretty much your standard 4098/4099 fare. Most of the older systems use 4903-Series, 2901-9833+2903-9X01, or 2901-9838+4903-9101 signals and pretty much your run-of-the-mill Simplex initiating device fare. Anything older than this has pretty much been totally upgraded by now.

Honeywell: Fire-Lite//Notifier//Silent Knight//Gamewell-FCi

Common, but losing ground to Siemens. Fire-Lite and Silent Knight are by far the most common of the four, especially the MS-9200 series and the older IntelliKnight series panels. Notifier and Gamewell-FCi aren’t too hard to find, the former mostly using NFS2-640 or -3030 panels in large installations and the latter using the 7100 or GF510 panels for smaller systems. As of the past two or three years, an increasing number of these systems have been replaced by Siemens systems as the integrity of the installation quality has been questionable at best, especially on the Silent Knight end of things. Signals post-2008 are usually the oh-so-common and oh-so-adored SpectrAlert Advance line, occassionally the Gentex Commander line, and initiation devices are the usual BG-12/System Sensor fare. Pre-2008 is a mixture of Wheelock AS/MT/NS/RSS/ZNS/7002T, System Sensor SpectrAlert Classics, System Sensor MASSes, and the occasional Gentex SHG/GMS/GXS signals. Initiation devices are either BG-10s, BG-8s, Century’s, MS-2’s/MS-6’s/PS-SATK’s and older System Sensor sensors.


EST and Edwards are somewhat common in 1980s-1990s-early 2000s buildings around here, but the oldest systems and all the QuickStarts are starting to go, usually replaced by Siemens or occasionally Fire-Lite. Especially common panels in this category are the EST3 and the Edwards 2400/EST1. A few small, late-80s locations around here have or had AIP systems, but at least three of those have been replaced (one by a Fire-Lite MS-5UD, one by a Siemens SXL-EX and the last by a Siemens Cerberus PRO FC901). Newer systems are the usual SIGA- and Genesis fare, but the older systems are a mixture of Integrity, 892, 792 and Adaptahorn signals and 270-SPO and Edwards/System Sensor detectors.


Exactly three establishments in this area have/had older Autocall systems. I can’t say what the panels are/were, but the alarms in all three systems are/were Federal Signal 450D+VALS signals and 4050-001 pull stations. One system had a 450D+V1971 ADA-compliant horn/strobe. One of these three systems, in a local grocery store, is currently in the process of being replaced by a new Siemens Cerberus PRO FC901 system as I type. The Autocall system is still in place, but new Siemens NS-MC-CR/ZH-MC-R/ZR-MC-CR signals, OP921 smokes and HMS-D pulls are being installed as I type. There’s also a new Siemens FSD901-R3 annunciator at the front of the store.

Any brand not mentioned above doesn’t have enough of a presence in my area to be included. I know of at least one Mircom and Hochiki as well as one National Time system, but they’re strictly outliers.