11 Nov How to choose a fire alarm for your commercial property
If you own a commercial property, it is essential that you have an effective fire alarm system in place. This is a legal requirement, and it can also potentially save lives in an emergency. But with so many different types of commercial fire alarms available, which is the right choice for your business? Here is all the information you need to help you make the best decision.
Why you need a commercial fire alarm system
A commercial property is any building which is used as a workplace. As people are working in the building every day, the fire regulations are different from those which apply to residential dwellings, so you need a more complex fire alarm system which is capable of keeping everybody safe in all parts of the premises.
A fire alarm system for a commercial property has to be planned and chosen extremely carefully, as commercial properties vary greatly in size, layout and purpose. This means the right fire alarm for your business will depend on your individual circumstances.
Commercial fire alarms are specifically designed to cater for the needs of different business environments. They are usually made up of a number of parts:
- A central control panel which links the entire system together
- Smoke or heat detectors
- Fire call points which people can use to set off the fire alarm manually by breaking the glass
- Sounders and flashing lights
However, not all commercial fire alarm systems are the same. There are a number of important steps you can take to choose the right commercial fire alarm system for your property.
- Perform a fire risk assessment
In the UK, it is a legal requirement to have a full fire risk assessment performed at your business premises by a qualified and experienced professional. They will work with you to pinpoint the areas of your property which present the greatest risk of a fire breaking out, and identify any particular weaknesses.
This means that an effective fire alarm system can then be designed to suit the specific needs of your business. For example, the right number of detectors and manual call points can be set up throughout the property, with more of these in areas which are at a greater risk of fire.
- Think about the needs of your business
The right type of commercial fire alarm system will depend on what your business does and the layout of your premises. For example, smoke detectors will be more appropriate for some businesses, while heat detectors will be a better choice for others.
If you have more than one building on your premises, you will need a system which can be set up so that the alarm is only triggered in the building which is affected by the fire, so only the people in this building need to evacuate.
If your commercial property is empty some of the time, such as during evenings and weekends, you should choose what is known as a “monitored” system. These can be programmed to notify a designated staff member or the fire service if the alarm is triggered at any time, so you can minimise any damage by ensuring somebody gets to the property as quickly as possible.
- Learn the different types of commercial fire alarm
There are several common types of commercial fire alarms:
This is divided into zones, so you can identify on the control panel which zone the fire is located in. Conventional systems are fine for small businesses.
This enables you to identify the exact detector or call point which triggered the fire alarm, so it gives greater accuracy. These are highly recommended for larger commercial properties.
Wireless systems are similar to standard addressable systems, except that they do not need to be hardwired, as they use digital signals. These contain the latest technology, and are ideal for larger properties, as they can cover a range of up to 1.5km. However, it is essential to check that the batteries are in good working order at all times.
By following these steps and taking some advice from an experienced professional, you can identify the right type of fire alarm for your commercial property. If you would like more information, please contact us and we will be happy to help.