Sounding the alarm

ABCA Systems
Fire alarm system/Personal Address (PA) system
Industry / Vertical:
Emergency Services

UK-company ABCA Systems provides security and fire alarm solutions for businesses and industry across the country. The firm works in many sectors including schools, hospitals, councils, housing association, electrical contracting and military, delivering a comprehensive service from design, supply and installation through to ongoing maintenance. ABCA Systems is a ISO9001 certified company.


Based in North Yorkshire, Catterrick Barracks is the biggest British army garrison in the world, with a population of 12,000. This single, self-contained site is actually larger than the village of Catterick itself and has a well known supermarket and fast food restaurant on base. Accommodation for the soldiers is modern, with rooms offering Wi-Fi and ensuite facilities.

With so many military personnel on base, communications across the different accommodation blocks to ensure the well-being of soldiers is essential, particularly when it comes to fire emergencies.

Each accommodation block has its own ABCA-fitted fire alarm system. ABCA wanted to co-ordinate these systems so that the guardhouse was immediately alerted if a fire alarm should go off. This would enable the guardhouse to call the local Fire Brigade.


The perpetual monitoring of fire alarms needs a robust and reliable wireless connection. ABCA approached Wood & Douglas to provide wireless connectivity to deliver the radio link between the alarms and the central hub for 20 accommodation buildings. The Orion Radio modem was chosen not only for its transmission speed and reliability but its networking capabilities: up to 255 units can use the same frequency, so each block can feed into the same central system.

In addition to delivering the fire alarm comms, Wood & Douglas also provided a wireless link for the PA system. This enabled the guardroom to communicate directly with each accommodation block. Initially designed for the broadcast industry, Wood & Douglas’ Symphony wireless intercom duplex base station provided the wireless audio using advanced synthesiser frequency control technique. This enables the delivery of audio with little or no low-distortion.

  • Constant monitoring of individual alarm units
  • Critical life-saving transmission of fire alarm signal to central system
  • Radio modem module delivers reliable wireless link with up to 255 units able to work on the same frequency

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