Blake Fire and Security Systems

Does My Business Require An Addressable Fire Alarm System By Law?

Date: 18 June 2019
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There are countless online articles that teach you what an Addressable Fire Alarm System is - such as this handy post from Fire Magazine - but it's not as easy to work out whether you are required by law to have one of these hi-tech systems.

Unfortunately, the answer isn't black and white, it all depends on the size of your premises and the results of your Fire Risk Assessment. But that's not all...

addressable fire alarm system equipment

The legislation on Addressable Fire Alarm Systems

Technically, there isn't a law that requires you to have an addressable system. However, conventional Fire Alarm Systems have limitations, so larger businesses may have no choice but to get an addressable Fire Alarm if a conventional system cannot meet their needs.

For instance, conventional systems cannot (usually) support more than 30 devices, including smoke detectors and manual push points (The "break glass here" boxes on the wall).

So, that means addressable systems are the only option for large premises that require more than 30 connectable devices, such as:

Balancing budget and fire safety for business owners

But, that's not to say addressable systems aren't the smarter option for smaller businesses too...

Smarter technology means reduced risk for the Responsible Person

It's no secret that addressable Fire Alarms are more expensive, but the initial higher installation fee is cancelled out further down the line. Here's how:

False alarms cost money.

They disrupt the running of your business, which wastes valuable working time, and result in call out fees from your maintenance company.

Addressable Fire Alarm Systems monitor air flow through the detectors, so if the air becomes contaminated with dust or other alarm activating particles, you will hear a warning signal.

This allows time for the issue to be investigated and rectified before it results in a full-scale false activation.

Clever, huh? But that's not all...

addressable fire alarm system device

Precision matters when danger strikes

Generally, businesses using a conventional Fire Alarm System will have their devices wired in 'zones'. So, if there's a fire, the control panel will tell them which zone the fire is in.

Seems pretty smart, but what if Zone One consists of 12 rooms containing valuable business equipment or, worse, staff and visitors.

If a zone consists of more than one room, the source of the fire can't be quickly identified. When the fire brigade arrive, this will delay their fire-fighting process.

For you, as the business owner or Responsible Person, this could result in a devastating loss of life, equipment and assets.

Alternatively, Addressable Fire Alarms are smart enough to tell you the exact device that detected the fire - making the fire-fighting process more efficient.

Balancing budget and fire safety for business owners

Take back control!

How much better if you can:

  • easily identify potential faults before the entire system shuts down and ruins your business day; or
  • check the status of all the individual devices in your premises?

Sounds like a dream, doesn't it! If you're not feeling as enthusiastic as us yet, here's how this benefits your business:

  • maintenance can inspect and fix small, insignificant faults before they manifest into full scale problems;
  • you aren't left with a nasty surprise at the last minute if a device is malfunctioning;
  • it ensures the Responsible Person is fulfilling their duty of care to the highest level by actively avoiding potential issues.

Balancing budget and fire security

So, in conclusion, the answer to whether your business requires an Addressable Fire Alarm System depends on:

  • how big your premises is;
  • the results of your Fire Risk Assessment; and
  • how much you value the added benefits of an addressable system.

Whatever you decide, it's vital for the Responsible Peron to know and understand the regulations for your Fire Alarm System, as well as your other fire safety equipment like Fire Extinguishers and Emergency Lighting.

Find out how to get a system that complies with the law and fits nicely into your budget - click the button below to get your free copy of Blake's Fire Safety guide.

Balancing budget and fire safety for business owners

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