Fire Alarm Systems
In the UK every year on average the Fire Service responds to over 600,000 fire and false alarm call outs and tragically in the last 10 years on average there have been over 450 fire related deaths and over 12,000 injuries each year. The vast majority of deaths and injuries occur in fires in the home, many of which could have been prevented if occupants had received an early warning and therefore escaped in time. You are twice as likely to die in a fire at home if you have no working smoke alarms installed as opposed to a home that does have working smoke alarms installed.
The British Standard that incorporates smoke alarms in domestic premises is the BS 5839-6 and has very recently been updated in 2013.
BS 5839-6:2013 – Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings. Code of practice for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire detection and fire alarm systems in domestic premises.
In the Standard there are different Grades and Categories of systems, the grade of the system is the type of system to be installed e.g Interlinked mains powered with integral standby power, and the category depicts the number of alarms to be installed and where they are to be located. A brief outline of this is detailed below -
GRADE A Full system with control and indicating equipment installed to BS 5839: – 1
GRADE B Detectors and sounders using simpler specified equipment.
GRADE C Detectors and sounders or alarms with central control
GRADE D Interlinked mains powered smoke alarms with an integral standby power supply
GRADE E Interlinked mains powered smoke alarms with no standby supply
GRADE F Battery powered smoke alarms
LD1/PD1 Alarms in all circulation spaces that form part of escape routes and all areas
where a fire might start, but not bathrooms, shower rooms or toilets
LD2/PD2 Alarms in all circulation spaces that form part of escape routes and rooms or
areas that present a high fire risk
LD3/P Alarms in circulation spaces that form part of escape routes
This Code of practice puts emphasis on the fact that no one type of alarm is most suitable for every application. Consideration must be given to the most suitable type of detection – optical, ionisation or heat detection.
For example you may be asked by an authority having jurisdiction to install a Grade D- LD1 smoke alarm system in which case you would be required to install interlinked mains powered smoke alarms with integral standby power (Grade D) in all circulation spaces that form part of escape routes and all areas where a fire might start, but not bathrooms, shower rooms or toilets (LD1).
It is common in some HMO properties to be asked for a Grade C -LD1 system which would involve a fire control panel with separate smoke/heat detectors and a zone of sounders attached in all areas as described in LD1 above.