Fire alarms – there’s more to it than smoke detection

We’ve probably all stood under a smoke alarm flapping a tea towel around to make it stop when we’ve forgotten about something under the grill, and this is a common problem for people who have smoke alarms installed in or near a kitchen, where smoke may not be anything to worry about. In garages and other commercial mechanical workshops smoke alarms can be set off by fumes or smoke from exhausts. We call this a false positive – the alarm has gone off (positive) but not for the reason it’s supposed to (false).

For this reason, heat detecting, smoke alarms are often used in these environments and similar environments where fumes, smoke or even fine dust particles may trigger the smoke sensor. They say there’s no smoke without fire, but in this case it’s more like no heat without fire, because unless heat is detected (above normal levels) the alarm won’t go off in error.

Heat detection can also be very useful in premises where different buildings are joined together. A fire in one premise will generate heat through the walls into neighbouring buildings. Even if the original source of the fire doesn’t have smoke or heat detection fitted, once a fire is spreading heat to the adjoining building, the sensors will detect that heat and trigger the alarm. Heat can cause a lot of damage to a building without any flames ever getting inside it, as heat can damage electrical circuits or undermine the structural integrity of the walls and even damage plasterboard and other decoration or fittings. Sometimes, repairing heat damage can be almost as costly as repairing fire damage, so it’s definitely worth using heat detection sensors as well as smoke sensors in your fire protection package.

P&R Alarms design, install and maintain fire and heat detection systems, which comply fully with the Fire Regulatory Reform Order (RRO), a legal requirement of your fire risk assessment. Our maintenance packages include twice yearly inspections and tests by a qualified engineer and we also provide a checklist for more regular basic checks to be carried out by a nominated member of your staff – also a legal requirement. Failure to undertake these checks can invalidate your insurance policy in the event of a fire, so it’s vital that you keep on top of your inspections. We can train your nominated staff member in how they need to check the system is working, and we are available for call outs 24 hours a day should a fault be discovered. We aim to get your system back on track within a matter of hours, and our latest response time audit shows we are typically on site within 2 hours of the call being made, much quicker than our target response time of 4 hours.

We have provided fire alarm and heat detection systems to a wide range of premises, from large office blocks to domestic residences, from multi-sensor, multi-site systems with a central monitoring hub to a simple smoke and heat detection sensor in individual flats. We’re also used to working in listed buildings, where the installation of cables is difficult due to protection laws, and in those cases we opt for wireless systems which can be installed with no drilling and no trailing cables around door frames. These systems have been tested extensively, both by the manufacturer and by us on our own premises, so we can be totally confident that they’re the best on the market. With our Gold NSI accreditation you can be totally confident that you’re working with the best.