Fire Alarms

How do I know if I need a Fire Alarm?

This will be determined from your Fire Risk Assessment. This is a legal requirement, that we can help you with.

Who is responsible for carrying out the Fire Risk Assessment?

A Responsible Person designated by the firm.

Does the Fire Risk Assessment take into account changes to doors, stairs etc?
Yes- any changes to the building fabric or structure mean that you will need to revise your Fire Risk Assessment.

Are they the same as Building Regulations?

No the Fire Risk Assessment moves the responsibility from the Fire Officer to you.

What if I get it wrong?
The designated Responsible Person will be liable.

Are there Fire Standards that I need to comply with?
Yes! BS5839 2004 these are comprehensive standards that make a lot of sense.

Do they cover people, property or both?
Your Risk Assessment and Insurance Company will determine which category the system will need to adhere to. There are several different standards, which will determine the type and scope of the systems you need. Some cover people, some property and some both.

How do I know which one to have?

Carry out a proper Risk Assessment and talk to your Insurers.

What types of Fire Alarm are there?
Addressable, Conventional, Radio and Air Sampling.

Do they need to be monitored by an Alarm Receiving Centre?

Depending on your Risk Assessment, but we think all systems should be monitored. It just makes sense to get the Fire and Rescue Services on their way as soon as possible.

What are the rules on monitoring?
The line must be monitored 24/7, and you must have key holders. The Fire and Rescue Services will be bringing in some stricter rules to reduce false alarm shouts.

Is the Association of Chief Fire Officers as strict as the Association of Chief Police Officers?
No – but they could become stricter if the new rules don’t reduce false alarm rates.

Which one do I need?
Fire and Intruder would both be routed through to our monitoring centre, probably via the Redcare we have in the Intruder Alarm System.

What types of detection do I need?
Your Risk Assessment will determine this.

What are the installation options?
This depends on the site to be protected. Radio System are great for difficult sites, where wiring is impractical or too costly. Hard Wired are most typical and tend to be extremely robust and reliable.

Which is more reliable?

Both are reliable depending on the environment they are used. You need to specify exactly the right equipment for the local environmental conditions.

Are there sufficient sounders?
Final commissioning of the system will determine the Audibility level as set out in BS5839. There are minimum levels as laid down in BS5839 – 2004.

Do my sounders sound different from other sounders in the building?
They will need to be different from any sounders already used on site to avoid any confusion.

Do I need external sounders?

Risk Assessment would determine this, however it is common practise to install an external sounder on the building where the control panel is to direct the Fire Brigade.

Am I aware of regulation changes that came into force within the last few years?
Your Allcooper Surveyor should make you aware of any changes in the new Legislation. Allcooper regularly publish newsletters outlining legislation changes across their product range.

Do I have trained people to deal with testing and evacuation routines?

Allcooper have a trained team of engineers capable of carrying out routine maintenance and evacuation drills.

How often should I have the system tested and by whom?
Allcooper recommends that your Fire Alarm System is serviced on a quarterly basis, however, 6 monthly is ok. You should be testing your system on a weekly basis and completing all details in your Log Book

Does my system comply?
This would be confirmed on an initial visit from our Service team. See our takeover section in the main website.

Am I breaking the Law with my fire systems or procedures?
Should an incident occur, that has resulted from you not carrying out procedures then you could be held liable.

Who do I go to for advice?
Allcooper would be more than happy to send out one of our surveyors to advise you accordingly.

Do I need Fire Extinguishers?
This depends on your Risk Assessment.

Do I need other types of extinguishing systems?

Again, this depends on your Risk Assessment. Your insurers may want your Server Room protected by an inert gas suppression system. They effectively remove oxygen from the sealed room.

How do you stop people being trapped in the room?
Install a fail-safe procedure and systems. This is critical, and should only be carried out by highly trained professionals. This will also need to be monitored.

What emergency lighting do I need?
It is vital that the lighting comes on if the normal lighting fails. It needs to be sufficiently bright, illuminated for a sufficient length of time and the light sources so positioned, that the building occupants can be evacuated safely in an emergency. Again, this depends on your Risk Assessment.

What’s the difference between maintained and non-maintained lighting?
Non-Maintained lighting is where the emergency lamp is off when the mains are healthy and when the mains fail the lamp is illuminated from the battery and control equipment.
Maintained lighting works the same as the non-maintained but in addition the lamp can also be used when the mains is healthy.

How long does it have to last?
For a 3 hour duration.

Is this linked into the fire system?
Not normally - but they can be interfaced depending on how your existing system is wired.

How often do these systems need checking?

6 monthly checks should be carried out on the emergency lighting system by a trained technician and weekly/monthly tests carried out by the customer completing all details in the Log Book.

Do I need emergency lighting outside too?
Yes! BS5266-1 2005 recommends that all exits have an emergency lights external to the exits.


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