Find out everything you need to know about Fire Alarm Systems
Fire Alarm Systems vary in what they do when they detect, heat, smoke or fire and at Elite Fire & Security we understand it can be a bit of mind field, so we have put together everything you need to know.
What is a fire alarm?
A fire alarm is a device which makes a loud noise giving warning of heat, smoke or fire.
What is a fire alarm system?
A fire alarm system has a number of devices working together to detect when there is smoke, fire or carbon monoxide and subsequently warn people through visual lights and audio alarms. Alarms can include motorized bells, mountable sounders, horns and light systems.
What is the principle of a fire alarm?
Most fire alarm systems have the same principle; warning people in and around a building if there is heat, smoke or fire detected or if the fire alarm emergency glass unit has been broken, warning them to evacuate. Fire alarm systems can do more than this and it depends how sophisticated the system is if it does anything else.
Why would you have a fire alarm system?
A combination of smoke and heat detectors alert building occupants of smoke, heat and fire through sirens, bells, and warning lights to give them time to evacuate safely.
Do you have to have a fire alarm system if you are a business?
The UK fire alarm regulations state that all business premises must have ‘an appropriate fire detection system’ to ensure that if there is a fire, it can be easily detected and all occupants are warned and able to evacuate quickly and safely.
Will a fire alarm reduce my business insurance?
It is not always a requirement of a business insurance policy, however, every policy varies. Often having a sprinkler system fitted as part of your business’s fire safety setup can help to reduce the cost of commercial property insurance, however, this is not always the case.
What are the benefits of a fire alarm system?
- Fire alarms save lives
- Fire alarms alert people in a building that there is a risk of smoke, heat or fire
- Reduce property damage and loss
- Reduce damage caused by heat, smoke and fire
- Some Fire Alarm systems will alert the emergency services that there is a fire so they are dispatched to the property as soon as the alarm is activated
- Fire Alarm systems will alert designated fire officers in a building so they can ensure a safe and orderly evacuation of everyone inside
Why should you have a fire alarm serviced?
Having a fire alarm serviced regularly ensures that it works when and as it needs to and you don’t have frequent false alarms. Frequent false alarms will result in staff and customers not reacting quickly when the alarm goes off and this can be dangerous if there is smoke, heat or fire detected. If you run a business then having your fire alarm serviced regularly is a necessity to protect both your staff and customers.
How often should my fire alarm system be serviced?
Who should have a fire alarm system?
If you are running a business then you should have a fire alarm system to warn staff and customers if there is smoke, heat or fire detected so they are able to evacuate quickly and safely.
Should I have a fire alarm system in my business?
All businesses must have a designated ‘Responsible Person’ who is responsible for making sure that anything set out in a fire risk assessment is carried out and all necessary action is taken to prevent fires, injury or death if a fire happens. All businesses must complete a fire risk assessment as part of their Health & Safety requirements and it must be documented when the business employs more than 4 people.
Not all businesses will need a full fire alarm system, however, a domestic fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector can easily be fitted by yourself if it is not a legal requirement to have a full system installed.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 details everything you need to know as a business in regards to fire safety, it is a lengthy document which a good fire assessment company will explain the main points and considerations for you and your business.
As a Business why would I not need a fire alarm system?
- If your property is small and single storey
- If your property is small, open plan and smoke, heat and fire is easily detectable
- If a warning of a fire is shouted, it can be heard by anyone in the property from any location
- If you don’t have vulnerable people within your business including; children under the age of 18. the elderly or disabled
- If you don’t undertake higher fire risk activities, such as cooking within your business
- If you don’t have or store any high-risk chemicals and substances that could be prone to catching fire
We would always advise that you get a reputable fire assessment company out to your property who will properly assess and give you recommendations as points shouldn’t be taken that you DO NOT need a fire alarm fitted in your business. If you have already done this and followed their fire safety recommendations then if a fire broke out and it was investigated by the fire services, and yours or other businesses insurance whose property has been damaged then this may be taken into consideration.
Should I have a fire alarm system in my home?
If your home is on one floor then one home smoke and carbon monoxide detector is normally enough to provide you with an early warning of smoke or fire. If your home has more than one floor then one should be fitted on every floor. If you have a large home then you would need more than one smoke and carbon monoxide detector and we would advise that you get a reputable fire alarm company to assess your properties needs and fire risks.
Where should fire and carbon monoxide detectors be fitted in your home?
Fire and carbon monoxide alarms should be located outside of each separate sleeping area and in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms. They should be installed on the wall or ceiling according to the detectors instruction manual.
How often should I test my fire & carbon monoxide detector in my home?
Fire and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested once a month or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Some are connected to your mains electric and some are battery operated so testing regularly will tell you if there are any problems with either.
Do I need to fit a fire & carbon monoxide detector if I am a landlord?
Yes, by law from 1st October 2015 landlords were and are required to ensure that fire and carbon monoxide detectors are installed in their properties, The regulations state that as a minimum, smoke detectors/alarms should be installed on every floor of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance.
What is a commercial fire alarm system?
All commercial fire alarm systems are principally the same in that they detect smoke, heat, fire, or when someone manually breaks the glass on an emergency fire alarm point around a building an alarm will sound to alert the fire officers and people in the building that they need to evacuate quickly. Some commercial systems offer remote signalling which alerts the fire services that the alarms have gone off via a central service so that a fire engine or engines can be dispatched quickly.
What types of commercial fire alarm systems are there?
- Analogue Addressable
- Wireless systems
What is a Conventional fire alarm system?
A conventional fire alarm systems call points and detectors are built around zones in a building which quickly establishes which area of the building heat, fire or smoke has been detected. A control panel is wired to a minimum of two sounder circuits, often more depending on the number of zones the system has been built around, and these sounder circuits will either have electronic sounders or other audible devices to alert people in the building that they need to evacuate. Each circuit has an end of line device which is used for monitoring purposes.
What is an Analogue Addressable fire alarm system?
Analogue Addressable Fire Alarm Systems are also known as Intelligent Fire Alarm Systems. There are different types of Analogue Systems available and each ones capabilities will vary. Some of the standard Analogue Detectors will only give out alarm signals of what it thinks may be happening and it is up to the Control Unit to decide if there is a fire, fault or fire test.
A true Intelligent Analogue System detector has its own computer which continually evaluates the air and environment around its detectors to tell the Control Panel if there is a fire, fault or the detector needs cleaning. An Analogue System is more complex than a Conventional or Addressable System and has more features available, however, their main purpose is to prevent the occurrence of false alarms.
An Analogue Addressable System can have up to 127 input devices (Smoke Detectors, Call Points, Heat Detectors, Contact Monitors) as well as other interface devices which can be wired into each detection loop. There can be up to 32 Output Devices (Loop Sounders, Relay Modules and Sounder Modules) connected. Analogue Systems are available in 2, 4 and 8 loop versions and as a result, can monitor large premises from one Control Panel.
What is an Addressable fire alarm system?
An Addressable System fire alarm system is similar to a Conventional System, however, the Control Panel can determine exactly which detector or call point has made the alarm sound as the Conventional Detectors have an address/location built into them. Up to 99 devices can be connected to each loop, the detection circuit is wired as a loop and the Control Panel is programmed to display the precise alert information from each detector. Additional Field Devices are available which can be wired into the loop for detection so it is possible to detect a normally open contact closing, such as a sprinkler flow switch, or a normally closed contact opening. A minimum of two sounder circuits, sometimes more depending on the design of your alarm system are wired much like a Conventional System and Loop Isolation Modules can be fitted into the detectors to ensure that if there is a short circuit or a fault it will only cause the loss to one part of the system and not all, making it safer for the whole building.
What is a Wireless fire alarm system?
Wireless fire alarm systems are an alternative to wired fire alarm systems for all alarms. They use secure, licence-free radio communications to interconnect the sensors, smoke detectors and call-points with the Control Panel. A wireless alarm system offers many unique benefits and can be a full analogue addressable fire alarm system without the need for additional cabling and electric points.
Who should I consider when I am thinking about a fire alarm system?
If you move into new business premises then you should always complete a full fire risk assessment to ensure your property is safe for its users, or ask for a reputable fire assessment company to come out and do it for you. They will advise you of any current systems and if they meet the requirements of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 or if any work needs to be undertaken with your fire alarm system.
Why should I consider a fire alarm specialist?
A fire alarm specialist will fully understand The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and will be able to establish if the current fire alarm meets all of the legal requirements of the Regulatory Reform, or if any action needs to be taken to ensure it does. There may be times when you move into a new or existing property that it needs a new fire alarm designed and installed and if this is the case a fire alarm specialist will be able to; advise you of the system you need to meet all of the legal requirements, design and install it, make adjustments to an existing fire alarm system, or service the alarm to ensure it is fully functional and safe.
What should I expect from a fire alarm specialist?
- A good fire alarm company will visit your premises to learn about your business and conduct a full fire risk assessment
- They will communicate with architects, facilities managers or building contractors before providing you with a written assessment, recommended actions and a free no obligation quote
- Their on-site visit will assess your building layout and access, exit points to enable them to design a fire system that protects your building and anyone in it in accordance with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
- They should offer you different fire alarm options, explain the benefits and disadvantages of each one, the cost of installation for each one, along with any ongoing maintenance costs
- They should offer you the option of fire alarm systems with automatic sprinklers as well as fire service alerts and can recommend if this is a requirement
- They will be able to provide you with information on the businesses they have worked with previously and the types of fire alarm systems they have installed
- The installation of your new fire alarm system should be carried out by fully trained fire alarm specialists who will install and test your new fire alarm system
- They should provide you and your team with full training, and an understanding of your new fire alarm system
- They will be able to offer you maintenance and servicing options which will keep your fire alarm system operating safely and effectively. A good fire alarm company will be able to offer you planned maintenance and service contracts to ensure your system is kept in good and safe working order, preventing issues and giving you peace of mind 365 days a year, 24 hours a day
About Elite Fire Security
At Elite Fire Security we understand how fire can devastate property, businesses and lives, and that ensuring you have sufficient fire protection in place at all times is critical to maintaining safety, meeting legal requirements and peace of mind for you as a home or business owner. Our Fire Alarm Systems give early warning of smoke, heat or fire, allowing the safe and speedy evacuation of your premises.
We have a highly experienced team of fire industry experts that are readily available to evaluate the fire protection requirements of your property and will provide the appropriate recommendations in line with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Our fire services include the design, installation, maintenance and servicing of all types of fire safety systems offering you, your family, your staff and customers protection against the devastation of fire, along with peace of mind, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Elite Fire & Security Fire Alarm Services
- We offer an on-site assessment of any existing fire alarm systems to evaluate if they meet current fire regulations and recommend any action that is needed
- We offer an on-site visit to evaluate your building layout for any new fire alarm system design. Every property is different and it is important that your fire alarm system works effectively and does what it is designed to do, so every system we design is based around your buildings layout, your business needs and The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
- Our fire alarm design and installation is completed by our fully qualified fire engineer experts who install and test your system
- As part of health and safety regulations, your building must have had a full fire risk assessment and fire escape plan documented. At Elite Fire & Security we offer everything you need to successfully pass fire regulations
- We offer fire alarm maintenance and service contracts to keep your fire alarm system running and operating effectively and safely
Elite Fire Protection is one of the South West UK’s leading fire safety specialists. We supply, install and maintain a wide range of Fire Alarm Systems and products at premises throughout Bristol and the South West and we offer a free, no-obligation site assessment and quotation service. We offer professional and cost-effective fire protection that you can trust. Contact us today on 0117 911 4798 and one of our experts will be able to answer any questions you may have or book your free fire site assessment survey.
Martyn works for Elite Fire Security as a marketing specialist. He takes great pride in creating quality content relating to intruder alarm, fire alarm, door entry and CCTV systems.