A working smoke and fire alarm system is a legal requirement of a business premises, and often a requirement of domestic insurance policies. Whether it’s enforceable in law or not, having a fire and smoke alarm is highly advisable in domestic and commercial properties alike. If you’re not sure what your obligations are, or how you can go about getting the best smoke alarm system on the market then read on.
Q. My business operates over several sites, how complicated will it be to manage fire safety at all of them?
A. It needn’t be any more complicated for you than if you had a single site. Our systems are designed with the user in mind, so we’re not trying to shoehorn your needs into the functions of a single product – rather, we design a system using products we know and trust. Using the latest technology we can design and install a system which covers multiple sites with a single point of control for you, the user.
Q. What is a fire risk assessment and why do I need one?
A. A fire risk assessment is an audit carried out by a trained engineer which identifies the various risks to your premises. The Fire Regulatory Reform Order requires all businesses to have a risk assessment that will then inform the type of fire and smoke alarm system you need, including sprinklers, fire extinguishers and sensors.
Q. What sort of system will I need?
A. The answer to this question can only be provided after a fire risk assessment has been carried out, as this process identifies the specific risks at your premises. Businesses which use flammable substances will have different risks to businesses selling non-flammable items. Part of your fire risk management may include the provision of fire-safe containers for flammable materials and protocols which are followed in the day-to-day running of your business to minimise the risks.
Q. Due to the nature of my business there is smoke and heat present in the premises, what does this mean for the type of sensor we use?
A. Some businesses do generate heat and/or smoke and this understandably makes off the shelf systems unsuitable as they will be triggered regularly. During the fire risk assessment these issues will be identified, and the system we design will allow for the presence of smoke and heat. We can set the trigger limits of the system to allow for the presence of smoke and heat that are present on a day-to-day basis.
Q. What is involved with the on-going use and maintenance of my fire alarm system?
A. Businesses are legally required to have their systems tested and serviced regularly. This is affected through a combination of on-site management by a trained staff member who will regularly test the system, ideally once a week, as well as scheduled maintenance and service visits conducted by us. To comply with the Fire Regulatory Reform Order you must have your system inspected and tested by a qualified engineer at least twice a year. For multi-site systems this means two engineer-conducted tests at each site every year.
Q. What if we want to use another company for servicing and management in the future?
A. That’s absolutely fine. We use open protocol equipment which means any other company or individual can take on the service and maintenance of the system. Many fire alarm providers use closed protocol kit, which effectively ties the client into a long term relationship with the installation company, but we believe it is much fairer to allow our customers the freedom to choose. That said, we have an excellent retention rate because we provide a top drawer service and keep our clients happy, so we’d be surprised if you did want to switch maintenance companies.
Q. My premise is a listed building and we are not allowed to install any systems which involve drilling holes for cables, what are my options?
A. This is a common problem, especially as older listed properties tend to have a different set of fire risks compared to modern buildings which have been constructed with fire safety in mind. We have wireless systems which can be installed in buildings where cabled systems are impractical.
Q. What happens if a fire breaks out overnight and there’s no-one at the premises?
A. Our systems can send you an alert via text message that the system has been triggered. Additionally, P&R Alarms are certified to provide a system which automatically alerts the fire brigade, so they can be dispatched and start fighting the fire before you even know about it. If your risk assessment identifies that a sprinkler system is needed, then this can provide an extra level of protection should a fire break out.
We hope this has answered your questions, but if you need to know more please get in touch on 01905 799949.