Not necessarily. The laser beamy thingies where I keep my horse are shut off when there is going to be a large amount of dust created (the time it takes to fill the loft with straw or hay) and are dusted and turned right back on immediately afterwards. Regular stable dust from sweeping and brushing horses does not set them off.
Also, to add to the suggestion of talking to your fire fighters, make sure they are local to the property where you are building. If you are living in town and building out of town, your local, town/city/suburban firefighters are not necessarily going to be able to tell you what you need, nor aid you with any building tips.
Please read for comprehension. The system was designed for barns. The system is meant to be turned off only when large volumes of dust are going to be created, such as putting up hay or straw in the loft. Even then, I believe only the loft part of the system gets turned off. Normal barn dust does not set the system off. That said, there is regular maintenance to keep the plates that the beams run between clean and functioning properly. There is also a risk a bird might set the system off. Hasn’t happened yet, but it might, and you know what? The expense of the call from the fire department for a bird would be preferable to the barn going up in flames in the middle of the night without anybody knowing in time.
My point is, in my experience, horses are capable of creating large quantities of unexpected dust at any time day or night. Type of bedding will play a role.
I would worry that a system that does not react to light dust would only be reacting to thick smoke. By the time the smoke is thick enough to trigger such an insensitive system the fire would be well under way.
A finer tuned system that does react to light dust/ light smoke (and gives a reasonable chance of rescue) would be set off often enough to make fines for false alarms very expensive and problematic.
Thus, I much prefer heat sensors.
Here, the first false alarm is $100 the next is double, the third is 5 times the initial fine.
Keep in mind most barns are in rural areas. Rural fires are fought by volunteer fire departments, and false alarms are very disruptive to their lives.
In our race horse training barn built in 1960, all wood and bedded with straw, every stall had a maybe 12" fat cone shaped bulb hanging high in the middle that supposedly contained a fire retardant solution.
The cone would melt and douse the stall if there was a fire, at least help slow down a fire that started there.
Barn supplies, vehicles, feed, any other were kept in other barns.
That barn had 22 stalls, tack and washroom only and every room and stall had one of those.
We never had a fire, so can’t say if those fire bulbs were effective.
Wonder if they have something like that today?
As an update to my original post — our facility has now been open for nearly 6 years. We were able to avoid any sprinkler system requirement due to the fact that our agricultural exemption was honored by county government (in Florida properties that are ag exempt are not subject to all of the construction permit and code requirements of other commercial establishments). That type of requirement would have been totally cost prohibitive in a rural area without municipal water service. And given the open design of our stable would not have passed any rational cost/benefit analysis. Our barn is concrete block construction, all stalls have both interior and exterior stall doors (so horses can be let out from the inside aisle or from outside), hay is stored in locked concrete block feed rooms, and we have fire extinguishers located throughout.