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...
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:
But, that's not to say addressable systems aren't the smarter option for smaller businesses too...
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...
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.
How much better if you can:
Sounds like a dream, doesn't it?! If you're not feeling as enthusiastic as us yet, here's how this benefits your business:
So, in conclusion, the answer to whether your business requires an Addressable Fire Alarm System depends on:
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.