In the year ending September 2022…

…the Fire & Rescue Services were called out to attend 185,437 fires – a 28% increase on the previous year. Protecting yourself and your property by installing a premium fire alarm system has never been more important.

In this article, we go over some of the frequently asked questions our customers have when considering a fire alarm system for their home or business.

What is the difference between a smoke or heat detector, and a fire alarm system?

Smoke and heat detectors are sensor-based devices placed within a property to detect smoke or heat. Once detected, a loud audible alarm is emitted from the device.

Fire alarm systems, on the other hand, are the complete package when it comes to fire safety. While they include both smoke and heat detectors, fire alarm systems have the added capability of alerting people across an entire premises via an alarm and/or flashing warning lights, triggering sprinkler systems and emergency lighting, and can be monitored by alarm receiving centres (ARCs).

What are the benefits of having a monitored alarm?

Alarm activations can happen at any time – day or night, rain or shine – meaning you might not always be at, or even able to attend, your property. A monitored alarm will send a signal to the ARC, who will then contact your nominated keyholders and, depending on your local fire brigade policy, call the fire and rescue services to attend. You can enjoy total peace of mind knowing a monitored alarm provides 24 hour protection for your property.

How do I know which fire alarm companies to trust?

The best way is to ensure your chosen company is registered to BAFE (British Approvals for Fire Excellence). All BAFE-registered companies have successfully achieved third-party certification in one or more areas of fire safety, meaning they are working competently to the appropriate quality standards and best practice for specific fire safety services.

However, even if a company is BAFE-registered, it is important to check they are certified for the specific services you require. For example, a company that is certified for installing fire alarms and extinguishers, might not be certified to perform fire risk assessments.

You can verify a company’s registration, and what services they are certified for, here:

Do I need to get my fire alarm system serviced? And if so, how often?

To comply with BS5839-1 (the British Standard on best practices for fire alarm systems in non-domestic premises), fire alarm systems at commercial properties should be serviced by a competent provider at least every six months. The service will include cleaning and testing of all equipment, discharging batteries, testing the loop integrity, and making sure the system still meets all current standards.

Domestic fire alarm systems are not subject to this standard, but it is still recommended to test all detectors and alarms on a weekly basis.

Why do I need to get my fire alarm serviced?

Regular servicing and maintenance ensures your alarm system is fully functional, providing protection to the occupants of your property. It can also prevent false alarms, which can be inconvenient, as well as costly if it is at your place of business.

How do I know what type of fire alarm system I need?

There are 3 types of fire alarm system:

  • Conventional – Suitable for smaller, low-risk properties, conventional alarms divide your property into ‘zones’. Once a fire is detected, the alarm will identify which zone it is in but not the exact location within that zone.
  • Addressable – These are more sophisticated systems that feature a number detection devices, each with an individual electronic address, that can pinpoint exactly where the fire is rather than just the general area. These are suited for larger premises such as hospitals, office blocks or schools.
  • Wireless – Wireless systems work in much the same way as addressable systems, but use a wireless link between the sensors and alarm panel. Older buildings where cabling may not be appropriate will benefit from wireless alarm systems.

CIA Fire & Security’s fully trained professionals will visit your property to complete a free-of-charge, no obligation site survey, ensuring your fire alarm system suits your individual needs and requirements.

Should you have any questions that we haven’t covered here, please feel free to get in touch today:

📞 01285 651 025

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