Choosing the Right Fire Alarm System

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There is a huge variety of fire alarm systems available on the market today. How do you know which is the right system for you? Each system belongs to a different category, caters for different types of building or uses different technologies to detect smoke and fire making that all important decision of “which fire alarm system do I need to protect my business?” a difficult one to make.

BS5839-1:2013 is the code of practice for fire alarm systems for non-domestic properties in the United Kingdom. It offers recommendations on the planning, design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire alarm systems. These can range from smaller systems, that include only one or two call points and sounders, to larger, more complicated systems that include large numbers of automatic devices and control panels. However, with the huge array of fire alarm systems available there are still a number of varying factors to consider.

To make things a bit clearer, we have put together this quick guide to help you make the right decision and select the most suitable fire detection system for your business.

Fire Alarm System Categories

First of all, it is important to understand the categories of fire alarm systems that are available. Put simply, there are 3 categories of fire alarm systems for commercial properties:

  • M - Manual systems
  • L - if they are designed to protect life
  • P - if they are designed to protect buildings

These categories are then split into 8 classifications M, P1, P2, L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5. Your fire alarm provider will help you chose the category that is required for your building.

Choosing the Right Components

It is important that you select the right products for your fire detection system. With all the developments in fire alarm technology it is easy to get caught up in wanting the latest and most advanced system. However, this might not be the best solution for your needs. There are multiple factors that need to be considered to ensure that you employ a fire alarm system that provides all the right elements:

  • Which approvals is the system accredited with?
  • Which type of protocol does the system have and is it flexible?
  • Which regulations does the system comply with?
  • Are the components high quality?
  • Are the products protected from the environment that they will be installed in?
  • What is the life expectancy of the system?

Maintenance and Repair Costs

A fire alarm system should be considered a long term investment in which total cost of ownership (TCO) should be highly deliberated. Regular maintenance and repairs will need to be carried out to ensure that the fire alarm system you install operates correctly and efficiently. Therefore, when choosing a fire alarm system it is important to calculate total cost of ownership to ensure that you are getting the best value for money - a cheaper system may prove to be more expensive long-term.

Get Help

Ensure you speak with a fire safety expert before making your final decision. Find out the different options that are available to suit your needs and speak to manufacturers, they will also be able to help by providing recommendations on how their products comply with local and European standards.

Eurofyre are proud, British manufacturers of specialist fire detection systems for commercial and industrial applications. Our range of products includes, but is not limited to, analogue addressable fire alarm systems, 2-wire Fire Detection Systems, conventional fire alarm systems, aspirating smoke detection and video smoke detection.

Our expertise and experience enables us to supply complete systems for any application. Please feel free to get in touch if you need help with choosing the right system for your application or if you would like to discuss any of our products.

Mark Redfearn

Posted by Mark Redfearn

Mark is the technical services manager at Eurofyre.

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