Fire Safety Systems, What Are They?

Jul 6, 2022

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Fire safety systems are a selection of fire detection devices that detect, signal and suppress fires. They do this by providing early warning signs of a fire so that you are able to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your property. In addition, a fire alarm company such as OHEAP Fire and Security is able to provide you with a fire alarm system and all the information you need to protect your premises. For example, a P1 fire alarm or an L1 fire alarm. 

With a collection of integrated fire safety system components, we are able to detect and warn people when there’s a fire in a building. We offer a range of fire alarm systems for residential and commercial properties, as well as industrial sites. We also provide access control systems, which allow you to monitor who is entering or leaving your property, along with CCTV surveillance cameras that can be used to monitor activity outside your building. If you’re planning to install a new fire alarm or access control system, our team of experts is on hand to help.

Fire safety systems

Integrated Components of Fire Safety Systems

A fire safety system is a collection of components integrated together to form the complete fire detection unit. Generally, the main fire safety system component is the fire alarm control panel. This acts as the brain of your system. Additionally, the rest of the system will be compromised of manual call point stations, smoke detectors, heat detectors, strobes, speaker strobes and sprinklers. Lastly, it’s important to note that different buildings require different fire safety systems, especially if you are equipping older, more fragile building work. Older, more fragile building structures may opt for wireless systems to avoid drilling holes and inserting cables into an older framework. On the other hand, modern and new buildings will usually opt for wired systems. This is because of their ability to provide a more reliable connection from the control panel to all of the individual components in your fire alarm system.

These components can detect, warn and suppress fire in a building. Smoke detectors, heat detectors, and other devices can alert occupants of the building to the existence of smoke or heat. Once alerted, fire doors will slow the spread of the fire and fire exits will provide the quickest outside access. For these reasons, it is important for a building owner to have an understanding of their fire alarm system and how it can be used to protect them from fires. If you have any questions about the basics of fire alarms or would like a quote on installing new ones at your commercial property, please contact us today.

Two Main Types of Fire Safety Systems

When it comes to fire safety systems, there are two main types. Conventional and addressable. Both of these systems have their pros and cons. However, when you’re investing in a new system it’s important to know which one will be best for your business. While conventional fire safety systems are also known as “hardwired” systems, they differ from addressable solutions in several key ways.

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Addressable Fire Safety Systems

A fire alarm company or fire alarm specialist may recommend an addressable fire alarm system which utilises intelligent addressable devices. Addressable simply means the individual device is able to “talk” to the panel and report its status. As you might have guessed, this allows for more flexibility than a conventional system as conventional systems will report faults in the zone, rather than on the individual device. In addition to device status reporting, an addressable system can attach names/labels to devices electronically. Each device has its own address, A1, B2, C3 etc. This is so that when a fire is detected, the alarm panel will know which device has been activated. This is extremely useful when locating system faults or for the fire brigade to detect the areas affected by the fire. When you install devices on your network it’s easy to identify which one may be causing problems.

A fire alarm systems company, such as ours (OHEAP Fire and Security), will recommend addressable systems where possible. We are capable of using addressable systems to pinpoint the location of the fire making addressable fire alarm systems the safer option. Addressable systems are more expensive than conventional fire alarm panels and require you to install more devices. However, they offer many benefits that make them well worth the cost.

  • Flexible wiring.
  • Reduced installation cost.
  • Pinpoint the location of a fire.
  • Early detection of a fire.
  • Increased reliability.
  • Easier maintenance.

Remember, you can use addressable systems to assign address labels to specific devices such as smoke and heat detectors. Please ensure they can be easily distinguished from each other while still using one control panel.

Fire Alarm System - fire safety system

Conventional Fire Safety Systems

Conventional fire safety systems are also known as “hardwired” systems. In short, this means that a fire alarm company has hard-wired the fire alarm panel to each of the smoke detectors in your building. When one detector goes off, it sends an electrical signal to the panel. The panel will send notifications and alerts using flashing lights, loudspeakers and strobe lights. In effect, this is to notify the residents of the building that there is a fire in the building and to evacuate.

  • Low-cost systems
  • Simple to use
  • Ideal for small buildings

Conventional fire alarm company systems are very popular with smaller buildings looking to save on expenses. They use a variety of devices that can be interlinked to provide a networked, multi-zone solution. This enables them to provide protection for many different types of buildings and premises such as offices, schools and hotels.

Wireless Fire Safety Systems

Wireless fire safety systems are a very popular option for small to medium-sized buildings that are looking to save on installation costs. These systems work by using radio frequency signals to transmit the alarm signal from the fire alarm panel to the receiver. This means that there is no need to run wires from the panel through the building to each detector or appliance. This makes installation much quicker and easier. With wireless fire safety systems, you are not required to have a fire alarm company install your devices. If you wish to continue adding devices to your system you can simply follow the manufactures installation process which will often simply require mounting the device and pairing it to the system.

Cost Of A Wireless Fire Safety System

One downside of wireless fire safety systems is their higher cost compared to the traditional hardwired version. Wireless alarm systems tend to cost more upfront because they’re more technologically advanced and therefore require larger initial investments. However, hardwired systems are more expensive during installation since wiring requires a great deal of time and labour.

The cost of maintaining a hardwired alarm system is often less than the cost of maintaining a wireless one. On the other hand, if your wired fire alarm goes out of order and needs to be replaced or repaired, you will have to break walls in order to reach its cables. This is an expensive project.

Ease Of Fire Safety System Installation

Wireless detectors are easy to install. The detector itself needs no cables and only the control panel must be connected to your business’s main electrical system. This means that wireless fire alarms can be installed with minimal labour required, making installation cheaper and faster.

Aesthetics Of Wireless Fire Alarm Systems

Wireless home fire alarms are easier on the eyes than traditional models, with no unsightly cables hanging about. They fit more easily into any space you have to work with, whether it’s an office or a school building.

Additionally, drilling holes for wired systems will cause extra work. You’ll be required to replaster as well as repaint the walls that have had wiring installed. Wireless systems save all of the hassle of this.

Category L Fire Alarm Protection

Category L fire alarm safety systems are intended to keep occupants safe in residential and commercial buildings. In general, these systems are designed to protect those inside the building from the effects of a fire. They do this by providing an early warning to provoke evacuation. Also, these systems consist of five subcategories, which are:

L1 Fire Alarm (Maximum Life Protection)

L1 Fire Alarm, also known as Maximum Life Protection, is a specific category or designation used to describe a comprehensive fire alarm system that provides the highest level of protection for life safety in a building. Therefore, these systems are designed to be top-level fire safety systems. Basically, a complete and all-inclusive form of fire protection. An L1 fire alarm system must feature a smoke detector in every single room where a fire could potentially start. This includes kitchens, offices, canteens, stairways, reception areas and more. Also, L1 fire alarm systems are usually found in large office blocks, large hotels and care homes. These systems are the highest standard for the protection of life.

L1 fire alarm systems are designed to meet stringent requirements and regulations, often mandated for specific occupancy types or high-risk environments. It’s important to note that the specific requirements for L1 fire alarm systems can vary depending on the size and layout of the building.

Key Features Of An L1 Fire Alarm (Maximum Life Protection)

  • Enhanced Detection Capabilities: L1 fire alarm systems utilise a combination of advanced detection technologies. These include smoke detectors, heat detectors, flame detectors, and gas detectors. These systems are highly sensitive and designed to detect fires at the earliest possible stage, minimising response times.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: L1 fire alarm systems aim to provide coverage for all areas within a building, leaving no space unprotected. They are designed to detect fires in all zones, including individual rooms, corridors, stairwells, and other critical areas.
  • Redundancy and Fault Tolerance: L1 fire alarm systems often incorporate redundant components. We include backup power supplies, redundant wiring, and redundant control panels. This ensures system reliability and continued operation in the event of a component failure or power outage.
  • Voice Evacuation and Emergency Communication: L1 fire alarm systems may include voice evacuation capabilities to provide clear and specific instructions to building occupants during an emergency. These systems enable the broadcast of pre-recorded messages or live announcements to facilitate safe evacuation.
  • Centralised Monitoring and Control: L1 fire alarm systems often have a central monitoring station where alarms, faults, and system status are continuously monitored. This central control allows for prompt response and coordination with emergency services.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements and standards for L1 Fire Alarm systems can vary across regions and jurisdictions. Compliance with local fire codes and regulations is essential to ensure the proper installation and operation of these systems.

L1 Fire Alarm System

L2 Fire Alarm (Additional life protection)

An L2 fire alarm system is a type of fire detection and alarm system that is designed for use in larger and more complex buildings, such as multi-story office buildings, boiler rooms, heavy machinery plants, hospitals, and hotels.

The L2 system is designed to provide early warning of a fire by detecting smoke, heat, or flames and alerting occupants of the building through audible and visual alarms. The system may also be connected to a monitoring centre that can alert emergency services if necessary.

L2 systems typically feature multiple detectors and sensors, which are strategically placed throughout the building to ensure comprehensive coverage. The system may also include manual call points, which allow occupants to trigger the alarm manually if they detect a fire.

L2 Fire Alarm System

L3 Fire Alarm (Standard life protection)

An L3 fire alarm is the standard for life protection. These systems feature fire alarm detectors on escape routes and the rooms that lead to escape routes. Generally, this is to provide occupants with details of whether their escape route is blocked and give enough warning to escape. We would typically install these systems in smaller office blocks and commercial buildings.

L3 Fire Alarm System

L4 Fire Alarm (Modest life protection)

Suitable for a smaller, low-risk commercial building. The L4 fire alarm system will feature detectors in corridors, stairwells and escape routes. This won’t typically include main office areas, canteens, storage cupboards etc.

L4 Fire Alarm System

L5 Fire Alarm (Localised life protection)

The L5 fire alarm localised system is designed to be used in conjunction with another system such as an L4. These systems are used in very high-risk areas which need additional attention such as a kitchen.

L5 Fire Alarm System

Category P Fire Protection

Category P fire alarm systems are designed to protect the property. They are used in any commercial building that is at risk from fire and there is a high probability of stock catching fire. This includes warehouses and other large buildings where occupants cannot easily exit in the event of a fire.

P1 Fire Alarm Category

A P1 fire alarm system is designed to protect all critical areas of the building by installing numerous detectors. If a fire breaks out, this system is designed to neutralise the threat as quickly as possible. We offer this to reduce the financial impact that a fire can inflict and reduce the risk of damage to your premises. In this system, smoke detectors will be installed in every single room possible.

P2 Fire Alarm Category

Category P2 fire alarm systems are designed for installation in high-risk areas of a building. These systems may not cover as much area as a P1 fire alarm system, however, they cover the crucial areas where early detection of a fire is necessary. We would typically install these systems in server rooms, storage rooms and electrical rooms.

Conclusion

The system that you choose will be dependent on the size of your building and the level of risk. It is important to note that all systems are only as good as their maintenance and testing. It is also essential to ensure that any existing fire detection systems are compatible with any new ones installed in case there needs to be a changeover in the future. If you need to install a new fire detection system then we recommend addressable fire alarm systems. Addressable fire alarm systems are the most advanced and cost-effective way to protect your building from fires.

The most important thing is to ensure that you have a system that provides the best possible protection for those who work in your building. With the right system installed and maintained, you can be sure that any fire will be detected quickly and dealt with before it has a chance to spread.

If you are looking for a fire detection system to protect your building then please get in touch with us. We have years of experience installing and maintaining all kinds of fire detection systems and can help you choose the right one for your needs.

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