Fire is a huge risk to a business, especially one with physical stock stored on-site. It has been noted that the majority of businesses that have a major fire on their premises are not able to recover.
Fire prevention, early detection and notification can save lives and your business assets.
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.
Discover which fire alarm and detection system is best for your business.
Types of Fire Alarms
UK Fire Alarm regulations don’t specify the exact type of fire alarm you should have, it should just be ‘appropriate’ for your business.
Fire Alarm systems can be wired or wireless. Wired tend to be used the most as they aren’t as expensive to install and maintain as wireless, although, wireless fire alarm systems are quicker to install. Wireless fire alarm systems are mostly for buildings that don’t want a lot of cabling used such as in listed buildings.
There are two main types of fire alarm systems; Conventional and Addressable.
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 an inexpensive option. They are ideal for small businesses, shops, nurseries and restaurants.
Addressable Fire Alarms tell 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.
They are ideal for large businesses such as hotels, office blocks, distribution centres or a business with high-risk areas.
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.
Fire Alarm servicing
UK fire alarm regulations state that your fire alarm system must be ‘adequately maintained’ but fails to mention a specific time frame to service your fire alarm.
BS 5839 has been more specific and recommends that your fire alarms system should be inspected at least every 6 months.
The main reason for servicing your fire alarm is to ensure it operates efficiently and able to notify all of the occupants in the case of a fire to prevent any loss of life.
Another reason is to prevent false alarm; this is due to the expense of the fire service attending a false-alarm as well as it will stop them attending a real emergency.
In fact, the fire service now charges call-outs if there are a high number of false alarms so to stop this from happening and encourage businesses to keep the fire alarms well-maintained.
We can provide regular and scheduled planned services and any maintenance you may need for your fire alarm and detection system.
Fire Alarm Testing
Your fire alarm system needs testing, this is different from the aforementioned fire alarm servicing. You need to test the fire alarm, weekly to check that the fire alarm is in working order. Each week you should check at least one fire alarm contact point to check that the fire alarm panel receives the signal.
We also recommend that you keep a record of all of your weekly fire alarm tests so that you have the appropriate documentation to show to any fire officials.
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Whether your business is a small office or a large distribution centre, we can design, install and maintain your fire alarm and detection systems.
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