Fire Alarms for Commercial & Residential

While we all know that fire alarm systems are essential for fire safety in the work place, people are often confused about the differences between alarms for commercial use and home use. Is there a difference? Cannot one type suit both purposes?

Fire alarm systems are not as straightforward as you may think. They are designed to save live and protect property from major damage by signalling people that a fire has broken out. They are there to give you an early warning system so you can make sure everyone escapes the building to avoid harm and to alert the fire services of a fire emergency.

There are quite a number of different fire alarm options to choose from and it can be quite a dizzying task to search through all the information to find the best one to suit your needs. What you should choose is a system that matches risks associated with the environment they are to be used in.

What is a residential property?

A residential property is classed as somewhere that people live day-in-day-out. This can include a private house, a flat above a commercial property, single story homes, maisonettes, apartment buildings and large blocks of flats.

What is a commercial property?

A commercial property is classed as a business premises where the building is used for work purposes to manufacture goods, run services and to generate a profit. These types of buildings include offices, retails shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, shopping centres, leisure centres, industrial manufacturing buildings, garages and warehouses.

What also comes under the commercial use banner are places like nursing homes, hospitals and other medical facilities, as well as self-storage centres and multi-story car parks.

Types of fire protection used for residential properties

There are usually two types of smoke detectors used within residential buildings, these are photoelectric (or optical) detectors and ionisation detectors. Optical smoke detectors use light beams, so will trigger when a reduction in light passing to a photocell is detected when smoke is present. These respond well to smouldering fires and smoke coming from burning fabrics. Ionisation smoke detectors will detect minute smoke particles within the alarm, so will sound quickly with flaming fires.

Commercial fire alarm systems

It is law that commercial property is covered by adequate fire safety protection. Due to the unique and varied needs of the commercial sector, their requirements will vary according to the nature of their business and the immediate fire risks present. Each business owner should ensure that they comply with fire safety legislation by having a fire risk assessment undertaken and a fire protection system installed that is designed to cater for their needs.

Commercial fire alarm systems are far more complex than residential systems. This is due to the number of sensors needed, as well as the positioning and linking up of devices to control panels. Commercial systems are usually much bigger and more complex than those used in a home environment. Careful planning is involved in the design and installation of an effective system that ensures every area is covered and those working within the building are protected.

It can be difficult to work out exactly what fire protection you need for your commercial property, so it is well worth calling in the experts at Dram Fire & Security to conduct a proper fire safety assessment.