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Fire Alarms Sheffield - Our Guide

A Fire detection and alarm (FD&A) system is what most workplaces and public accessed buildings in Sheffield have in place. The Fire detection and alarm system has two primary functions and depending on how it is designed, protect the life within the building, giving the occupants sufficient warning of an outbreak of fire, so they can evacuate safely and protect the building and its contents by summoning the Fire Brigade at the earliest opportunity. Systems designed to protect life are know as Category L. Systems designed to protect the Building are known as Category P systems.

Some smaller buildings may not have or need a Fire Alarm system, for example a small open plan area where someone shouting “fire” can be heard all around.

The decision on what Category is required for any building is done on the basis of a Fire Risk assessment which identifies hazards, who might be in danger and what would happen as a result of the hazard. This involves consultation with the local Fire authorities, building control, insurers and consultants.

When choosing a fire alarm in Sheffield or it's surrounding areas, there are many factors in the decision of the Category required. A building may have sensitive equipment, documents or valuable contents which if damaged or lost by fire would be a severe disruption to that business/building. In this case a P system would be asked for.

Elderly PeopleThe building may have elderly occupants in which case a Category L system would be asked for, to protect the life of everyone in the building.

Another important factor now with the planning of a system is to consider the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). This requires for a system to give the same level of warning to a deaf person, as it would for a person with normal hearing. It is down the building’s owner to decide if deaf people will work or stay in his property.

Many Sheffield buildings such as hotels should have visual alarms throughout and tactile alarms (a small vibrating unit that goes under a pillow) in rooms of sleep. This can be very costly to install visual alarms in every area of as building, so a specialist pager system is another option.

Fire AlarmThe Fire Detection Systems are based on two technologies and will basically feature automatic fire detectors such as a smoke detector and manual call points commonly known as a break glass unit. Where a system has no automatic fire detectors but manual call points only, this is known as a Category M.

Fire Detection & Alarm systems should be installed and maintained in accordance with British Standard 5839 part 1.

Non Addressable systemNon–Addressable systems
The basic technology is Non–Addressable which is found more often in smaller buildings due to it being more cost effective. A non-addressable system is simply comprised of Fire zones. These are represented by red LEDs on the control panel. Faults use amber LEDs.

A zone is how a building is split up to speed the location of a fire. For example if a building was not zoned then in the case of a fire, the whole building would have to be searched instead of being directed to the exact zone area by the control panel. This would dramatically slow up the location process and would result in more damage and possibly loss of life.


Each zone is made up of a grouping of AFD and MCP’s and in the event of a fire being detected either automatically by AFD of manually by a person discovering a fire and operating the MCP, will cause the control panel to enter fire condition which will then operate the alarm sounders thus alerting the occupants.Smoke Detector

The Zone in fire condition would then have to be checked to establish the exact detector that caused the alarm. If an AFD was the cause a red LED would be illuminated on the detector itself.

Analogue AddressableAnalogue Addressable
The second technology is far more advanced and is normally found in the larger premises. This is called Analogue Addressable and will pin point the exact location of a fire through zoning and also the detector in fire having it’s own number (address) and text allocated to it.

When a detector senses a fire, information is passed back to the control panel which is then processed and a decision ismade by the panel not the detector whether it is a fire or not. Unlike the non addressable system each detector or MCP reports it analogue value back to the control panel, whether it’s in a pre-alarm, alarm or fault state.

ChurchSmoke DetectorIf require individual detectors can be adjusted, for example they can be less sensitive during the day and more at night if required. Another advantage is that individual detectors can be isolated instead or an entire zone. This reduces unwanted alarms and unlike non addressable will make the user aware if a detector has become faulty. The control panel offers text description of the location of a fire or fault, which makes finding the location of fire and faults much quicker.

There is also wire free radio based analogue addressable fire systems which have all the benefits of a hard wire system but with the obvious advantage of no cabling required to all the devices. This is an ideal option for listed buildings such as Churches, where cable runs would look unsightly. There is also no damage to the building or mess from drilling. Installation is far quicker and far less labour intensive but has the drawback of having to replace every battery in each device approximately every 4 years. The equipment is more expensive than hard wiredbut on the larger installations the reduction in labour costs can be balanced against the cost of hardwired.

All firesystems must be regularly tested and maintenance is essential as it will prolong the life of a system and discover any faults that may occur. A system that is not maintained cannot be guaranteed to protect life and property.

We hope you have found our Fire Alarm Sheffield guide of use - please contact us with any questions.

To view the Fire Safety Legislation : click here

To view the Fire Alarm Terms & Conditions : click here



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