Fire alarms comprise an important part of every
fire protection system. Fire alarms let us know
that we need to evacuate a building immediately.
Once a fire alarm sounds you should walk calmly
and briskly towards a fire exit and make your
way to the designated fire assembly point as stipulated
in your fire safety
Fire Alarm Systems
Fire alarm systems have evolved considerably
over the last 20 years and technology has encouraged
greater, more efficient fire warning systems.
From the old fashioned red fire bells and smash
glass alarms you might remember from your school
days, right up to the modern day smoke detector
and even alarms now dedicated solely to detecting
cigarette smoke, no one has an excuse not to
provide themselves with adequate fire warning.
Home Fire Alarms
The British Standards Institute grades home fire alarms within the following categories:
- Grade A: a system of detectors and sounders with control and indicating equipment
- Grade B: a similar system to Grade A with some minor amendments.
- Grade C: detectors and sounders, or smoke alarms with some control features.
- Grade D: mains smoke and heat alarms with battery back-up supply.
- Grade E: mains only smoke and heat alarms
- Grade F: battery only smoke and heat alarms
The minimum grade for domestic fire alarm systems is D. All new build homes require smoke and heat alarms with a battery back up facility.
There are two main types of smoke alarm:
- Ionisation alarms – These are good for detecting fast flaming fires and are better suited in confined spaces such as rooms rather than hallways and landings.
- Optical alarms – These are good for detecting smouldering fires and are better suited to hallways and landings. Optical alarms are also less prone to false alarms.
Fire Alarm Systems Complemented by Fire Sprinklers
Fire alarm systems are very effective in warning
people of fire, but obviously they aren’t
at all effective when it comes to extinguishing
fire. A fire alarm prompts you to evacuate
immediately and to call the fire service who
may take at least 10 minutes to arrive, by which
time your home or office may be completely gutted.
Therefore, the perfect accompaniment to a fire
alarm system is a fire sprinkler system. Fire
sprinklers detect heat and automatically attack
fire with water. Sprinklers often contain had
wired alarms to alert occupants and the local
fire service of the imminent danger.
However, by the time the fire service arrives
the likelihood is that a sprinkler
system will have eliminated the fire completely.
Fire alarms and fire sprinklers work side-by-side
to save lives and property from the perils of
fire. The two together provide a comprehensive
and complimentary fire protection system.