According to the latest statistics generated by the Government, over the last year, Great Britain’s fire and rescue services attended 212,500 fires. Thankfully, the statistics represent a progressive downward trend. The decrease in the number of property damage and fatalities has been helped mostly by a more vigilant plus thorough approach when it comes to fire safety.
If you are a landlord, an owner or occupier of any business or non-domestic premises, it’s clear that you need to have a fire alarm system because as the requirements of the government state you are legally liable for fire safety. These liable people are required to provide fire safety equipment that’s adequate within their premises, together with a fire detection system that is fully functioning in place. Some businesses need higher levels of fire protection than others because of their trading activities, the material they handle or the size of the business.
What Type of Fire Alarm System Is Ideal for My Needs?
Typically, the first step is carrying out a risk assessment. What is the furthest anyone has to travel to reach the exit? Can a fire in any way cut off the only means of escape? What about the layout of the building and the challenges of narrow corridors, basements and staircases.
You can get advice tailored specifically to your premises from specialists. Also, it is worth browsing the United Kingdom government’s general advice on workplace fire safety and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. On 7 June 2005, this Order was made into law and on 1 Oct 2006, it came into force. The following two key principles are what the document is anchored on:
- Owners of buildings and companies have to designate a ‘responsible person’ to make sure compliance with the law plus heighten fire protection awareness.
- There has to be an adequate way of detecting fire as well as raising the alarm.
A ‘responsible person’ can be you or any professional fire safety company. As for deciding what is adequate, it all depends. For instance, for a few employees who work in a small, open plan office in a single storey, shouting ‘fire’ is apparently fine so long as there is no loud equipment running. However, keep in mind that fire spreads quickly and exits can end up getting cut off. Thus, for the majority of companies sounding the alarm as well as the fire detection has to be more reliable plus effective than shouting.
Fire Alarm Systems Types
While all the fire alarm systems typically operate on a similar principle (an alarm that is triggered by a smoke, a manual breakpoint or heat detector) most systems are classified under the categories below:
Addressable Fire Alarm Systems – They’re more sophisticated kind of system that can be programmed and take additional actions to protect your premises. They’re especially helpful for establishments where factors like recalling lifts to a particular exit floor, closing doors, triggering sprinkler systems or shutting down industrial equipment may be important.
Conventional Fire Alarms – They are made up of a central control panel that is wired up to separate fire detection zones. The zones rely on the equipment used in detection like smoke or heat detectors. The central control panel is alerted and sounds the alarm when the fire is detected by the automated system or manually. This kind of system offers a formula that is tried and tested, and it’s the best choice for new buildings because any wires can be integrated easily into the electrical network.
Wireless or Radio Fire Alarm Systems – They can function the same way, but they use radio signals rather than wires in sending instructions to various endpoints around your premises. This kind of system is popular because there are no wires involved, which can get damaged even before the alarm sounds. Also, it’s easier to install plus the lack of wires reduces disruption to buildings.
What Are the Other Elements You Should Consider?
Alarm Sounders – They can include horns, sirens and bells. The one that is going to be suitable for your business depends on ambient noise levels plus whether they have to be heard by everyone over the industrial machinery or wake occupants who are sleeping (for example, in a hospital or care home)
Manual Call Points – For buildings that are large, you may require numerous Break Glass Call Points. Workers should also never be over 30 metres from their closest call point. In areas that are regarded as high risk, there should be a greater number than that.
Detector Heads – They can be used in detecting various issues, including carbon monoxide, smoke and heat. Also, there are multi-detector heads that are capable of detecting more than one issue in your premises. Detector heads identify issues through the smoke that is affecting a light source or through sensing a predetermined temperature.