Fire alarm systems…

…are broken down into categories based on the level of protection offered, as per BS5839.

Broadly speaking, eight categories are applied to commercial premises. These are then sub-divided into manually-activated alarm systems (Category M), systems designed to protect life (Category L & M), and automatic systems for the protection of property (Category P).

To find out which category of system is needed at your premises, you will need a comprehensive fire risk assessment.

In this article, we discuss the various fire alarm categories and what you need to know about each.

Category L Systems

Category L systems are automatic systems and are made up of 5 levels, each offering a different level of protection

Category L1 Fire Alarm Systems

Category L1 systems offer the highest level of protection. Their objective is to offer the earliest possible warning should a fire break out, allowing for quick evacuation and minimising the possibility of fatalities.

They comprise both automatic and manual fire detection throughout the entire premises, with the exception of some smaller cupboards.

Category L2 Fire Alarm Systems

Category L2 systems feature automatic fire detection along all escape routes through to the fire exits, rooms and corridors adjoining escape routes, and areas deemed high-risk – such as kitchens or boiler rooms. Their goal is to provide plenty of warning time to allow occupants to evacuate before the escape routes become unusable.

Category L3 Fire Alarm Systems

Category L3 systems also focus on automatic fire detection along escape routes, as well as corridors and rooms that open onto escape routes.

Unlike L2 systems, L3 systems do not include detection in high-risk areas, such as kitchens.

Category L4 Fire Alarm Systems

Category L4 systems only place automatic detectors along escape routes, such as stairways and matching circulation areas, and not in individual or adjoining rooms within the building. These are generally used in low-risk areas where everybody can safely and quickly evacuate should a fire start, as opposed to larger buildings with multiple floors.

Category L5 Fire Alarm Systems

Category L5 systems are automated systems installed in a certain high-risk area where a specific risk has been identified.

L5 systems differ from other kinds of systems discussed above, in that they can be used in one particular high-risk area within a building, with the rest of the building being protected by another system category.

Category M Systems

Category M systems are the most basic and are mainly found in non-residential workplaces. They are always manually operated, featuring manual call points (MCPs) on all exits to open air and change of level, and corridors where occupants are not expected to walk more than 45m to reach one. These MCPs then activate a premises-wide alarm system to alert occupants in the rest of the building.

Category P Systems

Category P systems are solely for the protection of property, and fall into two sub-categories: P1 and P2. Their objective is to provide early warning of a fire and alert the fire services, in order to minimise the damage to the property. Some, not all, use MCPs.

Category P1 Fire Alarm Systems

Category P1 systems are designed to protect the entire building and feature detectors and alarms in all areas of the property.

Category P2 Fire Alarm Systems

Category P2 systems provide fire detection in certain parts of a building, usually higher-risk or hazardous areas.

By understanding fire alarm categories, property owners can select the appropriate system to meet their specific needs, ensuring optimal fire safety and compliance with the relevant regulations.

To discuss your fire safety requirements, and for a free no-obligation survey at your property, contact CIA Fire & Security today. We are registered to BAFE SP101 for the service and maintenance of portable fire extinguishers, and BAFE SP203-1 for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire detection and alarm systems – all third-party certified by the National Security Inspectorate (NSI).

๐Ÿ“ž 01285 651 025

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