Do you really need an automatic fire alarm?

Have you been in a situation when a fire alarm company states that you need to have an automatic system with smoke detection or that you think you need one.

fire alarm 3d

Does this ring a bell? pardon the pun.
What the fire alarm installation companies do is that when a customer has a requirement for a fire alarm. They put in the highest level of cover they ‘think’ is appropriate e.g. L2, L3 or in some extreme cases L1.

*However in hotels, guest houses, b&bs and where there are sleeping occupants in the business premise then an L1 or L2 systems are needed as stated in BS5839 code of practise.

This is because they are making sure that they cover themselves first against any repercussions that could happen from the result of putting in a lower category system e.g.. M (manual system)  system or a L4 automatic system.

However if the company had a fire risk assessment done first correctly by a competent fire risk assessor who is qualified – sometimes a manual system is sufficient and only minor alterations (if required at all) to the the building are needed, like putting vision panels in rooms that are known as ‘inner rooms’.

An automatic fire alarm system could costs 3-4k (being very modest here) against a fire risk assessment which costs £300 plus around £500- £1000 (depending on how many rooms) for the installation of vision panels.

I wasn’t the best at maths in school but I know which one is less expensive without doing any calculations and you are still abiding by the Regulatory Reform (fire safety) Order 2005 and making your building safe.

Of course you will also be cutting down on your servicing costs too!

I hope you have taken something from this and in turn has helped your business save money.


Does your business have too many fire extinguishers?

Let’s help save your bottom line

A lot of fire extinguishers
Could this be your business?

Many businesses are looking to cut costs these days,  as are you probably and one way to help you save money is to reduce the amount of extinguishers in your premises.

You were probably told by your current or previous fire company that you need another extinguisher in some place or that you do not have enough on site.

Well I want to give you some advice on this, as I have worked for many fire companies and what seems to happen is that the engineer or salesman is on either commission or bonus to sell these to you. Initially you may think that what’s an extinguisher here or there, the thing is they soon add up and the additional cost of servicing these too can work out very profitable for the fire companies.

How do I know if I have too many?

The revised BS5306 positioning of portable fire extinguishers 2012 (no more jargon I promise) states that:

  • Extinguishers need to be placed on fire exits.
  • Where there is an area of high risk they need to be placed to avoid confusion on which type of extinguisher to use.
  • The walking distance between each extinguisher should not exceed 30 metres.
  • If more than one floor,  all the above applies except fire exits in which the following applies – where the corridor meets an enclosed staircase an extinguisher should be positioned.

Insider information!

There is a formula you could use too for say a large warehouse type building or any building for that matter. The formula is very simple to understand.

For e.g. your building measures 80m x 40m = 3200 square metres.

Say you have extinguishers that are 13A rated (this information is found on the extinguisher)  – 9 litre water extinguishers and 6 litre foams are both 13A rated.

Find the rating on the extinguisher

The formula is 3200 x 0.065 (‘0.065’ is the same for all calculations) = 208

208 is the fire rating for the whole building.

Just divide 208 by 13A and that will give you the amount of extinguishers required.

208/13 = 16 x13A rated extinguishers needed.

So for a 3200 square metre building 16 x13A extinguishers are required.


Additional info.

Under the change of BS5306 it is a must to have spare extinguishers on site – one of each type is ideal.

I hope this has helped and saved your business some money.