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Fire Alarms

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 plan.

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.

Smoke Alarms
There are two main types of smoke alarm:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.


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