Commercial Fire Alarms
What are Commercial Fire Alarms?
Commercial buildings are required by law to have equipment and procedures in place to detect, alert and notify building occupants to take action in the event of a fire.
Whilst you should certainly have a fire alarm fitted at home, a fire can be just as damaging to a business; it still has the ability to end lives and livelihoods. Should you have all of your assets in one building, and nothing is backed up, your business could literally be wiped from existence which means an end to people’s ability to earn a living.
A fire alarm can help prevent that.
Fire alarm regulations state that all business premises must have ‘an appropriate fire detection system’. Essentially, you need a detection system in place that allows everyone to be warned so they can quickly and safely exit the building.
What type of Fire alarm does my business need?
UK Fire Alarm regulations don’t specify the exact type of fire alarm you should have, it should just be ‘appropriate’ for your business.
With that in mind, there are three main types of commercial fire alarms that are used in businesses:
Conventional Fire Alarms
Conventional Fire Alarms works on zones, so it divides your business area into different areas. When a fire happens, the fire alarm panel will show you the zone but not the exact location.
Conventional Fire Alarms are entry-level fire alarms and tend to be the cheapest system available.
Ideal for: Small businesses, nurseries, restaurants, shops.
Addressable Fire Alarm
The Addressable Fire Alarm tells you exactly where the fire is, whether there is smoke, heat or even if there is a fault. Each device has its own unique electronic address which then displays on the fire alarm panel.
These Fire Alarms can be integrated to activate a selection of fire safety features such as shutting down equipment or deactivating elevators.
They are more complex fire alarm systems so are therefore, on the more expensive side of fire alarm systems.
Ideal for: Large businesses such as hotels, office blocks, factories or a business with high-risk areas.
Wireless Fire Alarms
Wireless Fire Alarms operates like the addressable fire alarm system, just without the wires. It uses a wireless link between the fire alarm control panel and its sensors.
Wireless Fire Alarms are the more expensive option however they are quicker to install and provide just as much protection as wired fire alarm systems.
Ideal for: Businesses that don’t want a lot of cabling used because of the historic nature of the building. E.g. Churches and multi-site businesses such as science park, schools, universities and colleges.
Factors to consider when choosing a Fire Alarm System
Size of your business – larger businesses require at least one fire detector per floor.
Layout of your business - you may have to have a fire detector per room.
Multi-site business – consider connecting fire alarms so that people are notified in other buildings when there is a fire on site.
High-risk areas – do you have products which will produce a lot of smoke when they burn? Ensure there is appropriate detection in those areas.
Noise – it is important to ensure that the fire alarm is heard in every area of the business.
Notifications - if you have a large business, you may want a public address system, built-in to notify all areas of the business to gives specific instructions.
Monitoring – do you need your fire alarm to be monitored out-of-hours? You can have a fire alarm set to notify a list of people if it is triggered.
The deciding factor should be how effectively the alarm alerts people on your premises to danger and protects their safety.