RAAC Schools - Wireless Fire Systems Hold the Key

Schools across the UK have been forced to close recently to avoid catastrophic failure of the structural integrity of the buildings due to RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete). While it’s true that this means UK schools will have to fork our fortunes to retrofit and rebuild their buildings, there are significant cost savings that can be found with installing wireless fire alarm systems over traditional hard-wired systems in preparation for the rebuild.

The safety and security of students and staff within educational institutions are of paramount importance. Among the various safety measures implemented, fire alarm systems play a critical role in ensuring the well-being of everyone on school premises. In recent years, there has been a significant shift towards wireless fire alarm systems in schools. This article delves into the benefits of adopting wireless fire alarm systems in educational settings and how they can improve overall safety whilst carrying out upgrades are building works.

What is a Wireless System?

It’s what it sounds like; smoke detectors, heat detectors, manual call points, fire alarm interfaces, sounders and other equipment communicate with the fire alarm panel over a wireless mesh network rather than being cabled. The systems are required to go through the same testing as their wired counterparts and fully comply with BS5839-1:2017.

Swift Installation and Cost Efficiency

One of the primary advantages of wireless fire alarm systems is their swift and hassle-free installation. Unlike traditional wired systems, which require extensive wiring and can disrupt daily operations, wireless systems can be installed, removed and adapted with minimal disruption. This streamlined installation process translates to cost savings in terms of labour and materials. Due to the fact that the installation of a wireless fire alarm system requires less disturbance to the fabric of the building, it can also be done without the need to disturb asbestos in older buildings. Additionally, the absence of extensive wiring means that wireless systems can be easily adapted to school building works and layout changes. This scalability is crucial for educational institutions looking to upgrade or expand their safety infrastructure.

Enhanced Reliability

Wireless fire alarm systems offer enhanced reliability compared to their wired counterparts. Traditional systems may be vulnerable to wiring faults or damage, which can compromise their effectiveness. Wireless systems eliminate these concerns by relying on robust radio frequency communication between devices. This technology ensures that signals are consistently transmitted and received, reducing the risk of false alarms or missed notifications.

Minimal Maintenance Requirements

Maintenance is an ongoing consideration for any fire alarm system. With wireless systems, maintenance requirements are typically reduced compared to wired systems. The absence of physical wiring eliminates the need for routine checks on wiring integrity and reduces the likelihood of wear and tear. This not only saves on maintenance costs but also minimizes disruptions to the school’s daily activities Furthermore, wireless fire alarm systems often come equipped with battery backup options, ensuring continued functionality even during power outages. This level of reliability is essential in maintaining a safe environment in schools.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Wireless fire alarm systems offer a high degree of flexibility and adaptability. Schools often undergo renovations or changes in building layouts. Wireless systems can be easily reconfigured and expanded to accommodate these changes, without the need for extensive rewiring. This adaptability ensures that the school’s fire safety system remains effective and up to date even during an extensive renovation. Because there are no wires to consider, temporary classrooms and outbuildings can easily be integrated into the main fire alarm system. Mesh technology makes it simple to add to the system in the future and means that devices can be added to the system in any part of a building without the need for reconfiguration of the existing system

Improved Monitoring and Notification

Modern wireless fire alarm systems are equipped with advanced monitoring and notification capabilities. These systems can integrate with centralized monitoring services, which can quickly alert authorities in the event of an alarm. Every fire alarm point is addressable and labelled, so a fire alarm activation or fault can easily be pinpointed. Additionally, notifications can be sent to designated personnel via smartphones or other mobile devices, ensuring that critical information reaches the right people promptly.

Compliance with Regulations

Schools must adhere to stringent safety regulations and codes, wireless fire alarm systems are designed to meet these standards and often include features such as self-testing and self-diagnostic capabilities to ensure compliance. By using wireless systems, educational institutions can rest assured that they are fulfilling their obligations in providing a safe learning environment.

Minimal Disruption During Upgrades

As technology evolves and fire safety standards change, schools may need to upgrade their fire alarm systems. Wireless systems simplify this process by allowing for easy component replacement or software updates without major disruptions. This means that schools can stay current with the latest safety technology without causing significant inconvenience to students and staff.

Crucially though, the fire alarms can be removed and put in storage, then re-installed quickly, easily preventing the need for a new fire alarm system as part of a building refurbishment. 

What the Plan for Schools?

Schools can benefit from this pick-up-and-go solution over the long term, and spread the cost of replacing their buildings over the long term rather than demolishing the entire school at once, and then rebuilding from scratch including all new fire alarm systems.

Replace the fire alarms now, with a wireless system. Then when buildings are renovated, replaced or retrofitted you can remove the fire alarm and reinstall when the new building goes up.

What Else can Schools do to Increase Safety and Security?

Lockdown Systems

We can provide a comprehensive lockdown solution as a bolt on to your existing Fire and Security Alarm System or as a bespoke standalone solution incorporating Video Analytics, Fixed and Mobile Panic Buttons and Sounders to provide a comprehensive lockdown solution.

Access Control

We also specialise in Access Control, systems that help schools control who can gain access to locations, where they can go and when they are allowed to go.

Visitor Management Solutions

We are able to offer visitor management solutions along with time and attendance solutions allowing you to easily keep a live log of who is in the building at any time.

CCTV Systems

CCTV is a key part of the safety of students and the security of the school building at all times. Our bespoke CCTV solutions offer a system that is tailored to your individual needs.

Have questions about your own CCTV setup?
Speak to an expert and get answers today.

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