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Everything you need to know about fire alarms

25th March 2022

We all know that fire alarms are a very important piece of equipment when it comes to staying safe at home, but, are they mandatory in the workplace? If you’re unsure about this, then you are in the right place. In this blog, we want to go through everything you need to know about fire alarms so that you can rest assured that your workplace is safe.

Are Fire Alarms Mandatory?

Fire alarms in the workplace are subject to the Fire Safety (Regulatory Reform) Order 2005, which states that as a business, you must ensure that:

“The premises are, to the extent that it is appropriate, equipped with appropriate fire-fighting equipment and with fire detectors and alarms”

So what does this mean? Well, while the law doesn’t explicitly state that you must install fire alarms in all businesses, they are in fact mandatory to ensure that those using the building are safe. 

Are they Important?

So, we now know that they are mandatory but just how important are they to your business? 

As a business, it is your responsibility to meet fire safety regulations, but it is also your responsibility to safeguard lives and prevent loss of business. Let’s discuss both in more detail.

Safeguarding Lives

Fire alarms are usually the first warnings we have to detect a fire, which allows the people in your building to evacuate the premises with plenty of time.

Preventing Loss of Business

When fires happen, they can have a devastating effect on your business and your operations, but, if the fire is detected early enough (by a fire alarm) it can be dealt with earlier. This can help to limit the damage caused to the building. 

Grades and Categories of Fire Alarms

Now we’ve established just how important fire alarms are to your business, we want to discuss the different types of fire alarms so that you can distinguish which fire alarm is the most suitable for your workplace. This will depend on the risk level and your operating practices.

Category M

Manual fire alarm system - these have break glass call points and automatic detectors are not incorporated. 

Category L1 

These are systems that are installed throughout all areas of the building.

Category L2 

These are systems that are installed in specific parts of the building -  which may include all parts necessary to satisfy the recommendations of the code for a Category L3 system.

Category L3 

These systems are designed to warn about fires early enough to allow people inside the building to escape quickly and safely.

Category L4

These are systems that are installed in parts of the escape routes (e.g corridors and stairways).

Category L5

These are systems in which protected areas or the location of the detectors are designed to satisfy other specific objectives.

Category P1

These are automatic fire detection systems that are designed to protect your building - these will be installed throughout the building

Category P2 

These are automatic systems that are designed to protect your building - these will be installed in specific parts of the building.

For more information on fire alarms, visit the fire alarm section of our website or contact us today.