Which type of alarm do I need ?

Design and Selection of Fire Alarms

Both the need and type of Alarms should be selected as part of a competent risk assessment, evaluating the complete building and its use.

A competent risk assessor should stipulate the specific grade and type of the alarm. This allows the alarm designer to provide a solution to a pre researched best practice design quoted in the British Standards. Fire Authorities and insurance companies will expect to have a stipulated grade of alarm as part of a competent assessment and installation.

British Standards
All commercial alarms should comply to a British Standard, that standard is in two main parts BS 5839 Part 1 (Pt 1) or BS 5839 Part 6 (Pt6)

There are a huge variety of Fire Alarms, each individually designed to suit the legal requirements of the specific building and use of the building.

Most commercial properties need a British Standard 5839 Part 1, type system; this means an alarm with a control panel and 24 volt wiring or a control panel and professional radio alarm detectors. Alarm systems can be “conventional” or “analogue addressable”.

There are many variations in the way alarms work.
We have outlined the basics for you below, we are happy to personalise the choices with a on site assessment.

Conventional Alarms

Usually the simplest alarm system, with detectors grouped into ZONES, the fire control panel has a label to guide the responsible person or fire brigade to the area with the fire or fault.

Addressable Alarms
A more sophisticated alarm, which will report the precise detector in fire or fault, allowing a faster response by the responsible person or fire brigade to the exact location of the fire or fault. Addressable fire alarms are made by many manufacturers, each with their own computer programming method, it is VERY important to ensure you have an OPEN PROTOCOL alarm which can be worked on by ANY competent alarm company. CLOSED PROTOCOL systems are usually supplied by larger national companies or manufacturers regional agents who manufacturer branded “systems”. Your choice of alarm maintenance companies is VERY restricted, and thus often excruciatingly expensive for parts, call outs and upgrades.

BS 5839 Part 1
Graded into M, P or L types

M Type alarms
M, stands for Manual alarms, requires a Human to activate the alarm. Automatic detection can be added as a supplementary extra if required by the responsible person / owner.

P type alarms
P, stands for property protection, the design of the alarm would have the manual call points and automatic detection. Graded according to the risk assessment requirements P1 to P5.

L type alarms
L, stands for life protection, the design of the alarm would include a mixture of manual and automatic detection. L grade alarms are the most common, and are often fitted to sleeping accommodation. Graded according to the risk assessment requirements L1 to L5

You should only need to have an alarm fitted every ten to thirty years, make it a good one.

Call for a chat or to arrange a no obligation FREE site survey and quotation.

Call 01726 67372 ask for Marc or Robert



CaptureWorking with Cornwall Fire and Rescue 

to help keep you safe and ‘false alarm free’


pdf-download-icon    Download the ‘Reducing False Alarms Toolkit’ here.



Share →