Your Guide to Fire Alarms for Business

Fire. The very word sends shivers down our spines. It’s a threat we often hope to never face, but preparation is crucial. Thankfully, one of our best lines of defense is a simple yet powerful device: the fire alarm.

But with so many options out there, choosing the right fire alarm can feel overwhelming. Worry not! We will be your trusty companion, guiding you through the essentials of fire alarms for business.

Why are Fire Alarms Crucial?

Fire spreads fast. Every second counts in escaping a blaze. Fire alarms detect smoke or heat early on, giving you precious time to react and get to safety. They can literally save lives.

Not to mention a serviced fire alarm is a legal requirement for businesses to operate in the UK, without it managers are liable for cost of damage and the human risk and any loss of life occurred in a fire. Not something any manager, or business wants.

(This is an exception to older buildings where BS5839 cannot be retrospectively applied to buildings built before the Fire Precautions Act of 1971. However, it may not be legally required, it’s still crucial to ensure the safety of buildings like this. Especially as older premises carry unique risks as building regulations have changed numerous times since then).

Smoke Alarms vs. Heat Alarms: Knowing the Difference

Smoke alarms are the most common found in the UK. They detect smoke particles, making them ideal for catching fires early on. Heat alarms respond to rising temperatures, better suited for areas like kitchens or garages where smoke might not be the first sign of fire.

Choosing the Right Fire Alarm for Your Needs:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level, including the basement.
  • Interconnect your alarms so they all sound when one detects smoke.
  • Consider combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for added protection.
  • Choose alarms with long-lasting batteries or hardwired options.
  • Test your alarms weekly and potentially replace them every 10 years.
  • Follow local fire codes and regulations.
  • Choose a system that suits your building size and layout.
  • Compare the diligence of fire alarm maintenance contracts to ensure your system is kept up-t0-date with regular inspections and repairs.
  • Train employees on how to use the system and evacuate the building safely.

Going Beyond the Basics

  • Commission a Fire Risk Assessment. A personalised comprehensive report on your facility that details recommendations.
  • Invest in fire extinguishers and learn how to use them. Consider maintenance-free fire extinguishers to ensure they are always ready at all times.
  • Create and practice a fire escape plan for your family or workplace.
  • Educate everyone about fire safety and prevention.

Remember: Fire alarms are just one piece of the puzzle. By combining them with other safety measures and proactive thinking, you can significantly reduce the risk of fire and ensure everyone’s safety. If in doubt, get advice from a specialist expert who has spend years ensuring businesses are protected from fire. Speak to our team today.

Fire Extinguishers: Your Second Line of Defense

While fire alarms alert you to danger, fire extinguishers allow you to take action against small fires before they escalate. But just like with alarms, choosing the right extinguisher and knowing how to use it are crucial.

Types of Fire Extinguishers:

You need different extinguishers on specific types of fires. Understanding the classifications is key:

  • Class A: Ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, and fabric. Suitable extinguishers: water, foam, ABC powder.
  • Class B: Flammable liquids like gasoline, oil, and grease. Suitable extinguishers: foam, ABC powder, CO2 (for electrical fires).
  • Class C: Burning of flammable gases including butane and propane, like those found in gas cannisters.
  • Class D: Combustible metals like magnesium or sodium. Special extinguishers needed; consult professionals.
  • Class F: Cooking oils and fats. Suitable extinguishers: wet chemicals.
  • Class E: Electrical fires caused by faulty electronical equipment. Extremely hazardous when introduced to water.

To make things easier, and to avoid the confusion as to which extinguisher your team should use, we recommend installing P50 Fire Extinguishers. These are capable of fighting fires of the category A, B, C & E. This reduces training time for all staff, and eliminates pickup lag.

Using a Fire Extinguisher

Remember the PASS method:

  • Pull the safety pin.
  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the trigger.
  • Sweep the nozzle side-to-side across the base of the fire.

Important Reminders

  • Fire extinguishers are for small fires only. Evacuate first, then fight the fire if safe to do so.
  • Get trained on how to use your extinguisher properly. Many fire departments offer free training.
  • Inspect and maintain your extinguishers regularly. Follow manufacturer instructions.

Remember: Fire extinguishers are a valuable tool, but they shouldn’t replace prevention. Practice fire safety habits, have an escape plan, and install and maintain both fire alarms and extinguishers for comprehensive protection.

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