Smoke Alarm Vs. Smoke Detector: State of Ohio Board of Building Standards

State of Ohio EmblemAccording to the Ohio Board of Building Standards, it’s important to understand the terms “Smoke Detector,” “Single-Station Smoke Alarm,” and “Multiple-Station Smoke Alarm.”

There’s a huge difference between a “Smoke Detector” and a “Smoke Alarm.” This difference hinges on the word “Detector” as oppose to “Alarm.”

According to the Ohio Board of Building Standards, a Detector is defined as, “An initiation device suitable for connection to a circuit that has a sensor that responds to a physical stimulus such as heat or smoke.” They are commonly used when you have a fire alarm system that relies on a centralized control  panel.

image of smoke detector
Fire alarm smoke detector in office setting.

The other two terms that are exceedingly important to understand are “Multiple Station Alarm Device,” and “Single Station Alarm Device.” See the definitions below:

Multiple Station Alarm Device.Two or more single station alarm devices that can be interconnected so that actuation of one causes all integral or separate audible alarms to operate; or one single station alarm device having connections to other detectors or to a manual fire alarm box

Single Station Alarm Device. An assembly that incorporates the detector, the control equipment, and an alarm-sounding device in one unit operated from a power supply either located in the unit or obtained at the point of installation.

John Larkin, Sr. Partner (image)
John Larkin, Sr. Partner

If you should have any questions regarding to any of these terms or the use   thereof,  please contact myself or one of my expert staff! Call 614-754-1393, email us at, or use the convenient contact form below. –John Larkin, ESC Senior Partner