Installing a new fire alarm? What equipment do I need?
If you are in a situation whereby you are required to install or upgrade a fire alarm system, you may ask yourself, how many detectors, manual call points and sounders do I require, and what should their locations be?
Well, the first thing that has to be done is a fire risk assessment. The fire risk assessment is usually done by a qualified assessor who will carry out the fire risk assessment and compile a report. This report will identify the fire risk associated with your property and with this information, a recommendation as to the type of fire alarm system that is required.
When designing fire alarm to protect life, there are six categories:
M – Manual call points only.
L4 – An L4 category is design to protect all the escape routes from the building. This is considered as the lowest category when considering the installation of detectors. However, and L4 system is important as you are protecting your escape routes. This category is a good grade to start from if your budget is limited.
L3 – Is an L4 as stated above, but with additional detection added to the rooms coming off of the escape routes. Fire alarms designed to an L3 will give an earlier warning of fire before the escape routes become impassable with smoke or toxic gases.
L2 – Is the same as an L3, but with additional detectors in areas of high risk. Such as boiler rooms, kitchens, Plant rooms, Electrical intake rooms etc.
L1 – Is the highest level of protection, with automatic detection in all rooms.
Fire Alarm sounders and Bells.
The next question is how many fire alarm sounders or bells do I need? This is governed by the minimum sound levels as listed within the fire code BS5839-1. It states that all areas should have a minimum sound level of 65 decibels. Therefore, a designer will provide an even amount of sounders throughout the premises and make an approximation as to what sound levels will be achieved. However, it is only after completion of the fire alarm, and a decibel test will the designer know whether additional fire alarm sounders is required.
It is important to choose a fire alarm company competent and experience with fire alarm design. Choosing a BAFE accredited company such as Fire Systems Ltd, will give you peace of mind knowing the equipment, design and installation complies with the standards and the manufacture’s guidelines. For more information and advice why not contact our office on 020 8541 5646 or complete our contact form and we will get back to you.