Do I Need a Fire Alarm?

Do I Need A Fire Alarm?

Nobody ever expects to be caught in a fire but sadly it is not an uncommon experience. Government statistics show that between 2018 to March 2019, the fire and rescue services attended 576,040 incidents including 182,825 fires. There were 7106 fire related casualties and 253 deaths which took place in both a domestic and business setting. Aside from the risk to human life the cost of a fire can run into millions.

So yes, you certainly need to take precautions against fire because the odds of this happening to you or your business premises are higher than you probably imagine.

Protecting your business with adequate fire detection is not only sound common sense, it is a legal requirement. Failure to comply with safety standards could see you facing a fine or imprisonment.

What type of Fire Detection do I need for my business?

The type of alarm system you need, will depend upon your needs and your Fire Risk Assessor will be able to advise you. However all business premises need to have a designated Responsible Person who can ensure that all the security measures are in place and that everyone in the premises knows exactly what to do in the case of a fire.

Even if your business premises are small and you only employ a couple of people who could be alerted, just by someone shouting fire, you do need to know what to do in a case of an emergency. Fire can spread very quickly; exits can become cut off so it is important to have a plan in place even if you do not need to invest in fire prevention measures.

What type of Fire Alarm is best for my business?

There are several fire alarm options to choose from and they all suit different purposes.

  • Automatic Smoke Alarms and Heat Detectors.

There’s no smoke without fire, and a smoke alarm detects smoke or fire in its early stages and automatically sounds an audible alarm. They work by detecting smoke particles in the air, sensing heat or in a combination of ways.

 If you are responsible for a block of flats or hotel where people may be sleeping, a smoke alarm will alert them to the danger before they are overcome by smoke inhalation in their sleep. This type of alarm does not require anyone to act or sound an alarm and can be linked to an automatic 999 dialling system.

An automatic smoke alarm and heat detector is a legal requirement for any residential property such as a hotel or nursing home.

  • Conventional Fire Alarm

A conventional fire alarm can be suitable for low risk environments. These should be positioned in key areas and they divide your premises into zones. These types of alarms include the glassalarms that somebody smashes and they need to conform to British manufacturing standards and be positioned in crucial areas. Your Fire Risk Assessor can advise.

  • Addressable Fire Alarms.

Theseare often used for high risk environments such as hospitals, schools or care homes. Because they are electronically wired together, the location of the fire is immediately visible. These types of fire alarms can be integrated with other fire prevention systems such as sprinklers and the automatic shutting of fire doors.

  • Wireless Fire Alarm.

This type of fire alarm works exactly the same as the Addressable Fire Alarm and is suitable for premises where cabling cannot be installed. It works on a wireless network.

  • Site Alarms.

Most suitable for use in larger areas such as building sites, a site alarm can include, a hand turned siren, whistles or air horn. 

General Fire Precautions

As well as having a suitable method in place for raising the alarm in case of a fire, there are general fire precautions that need to be in place in any premises of work, apartment block, or anywhere where people gather.

There needs to be a suitable warning system in place to alert people to a fire. Whether this is a shouted command or a complex fire alarm system, it has to be effective and proven to work.

Fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are also mandatory. The ability to fight a small fire at source will help prevent the fire from spreading. The general rule is to have a fire extinguisher in place for every 200m of floor space. It is also important to have fire extinguishers in sensitive areas such as kitchens. These need to be within their shelf life and tested because if they don’t work when they are required, you could be in trouble. Making sure you have the correct class of fire extinguisher is key.

Fire Drills

It is important to carry out a fire drill especially if your business involves many people. The escape route should be designated and there should be a muster point away from the building so the responsible person can check that nobody has been left behind in a burning building.

If there is only one exit from the premises, this needs to be maintained and made as fire resistant as possible. You may need to fit an automatic fire detection system so that if the worst happens everyone can get out of the building safely. Doors on the exit route must be easily opened by people who are likely to be panicking and they should be marked fire exit if the area is used by the public.

Signage, Emergency Lighting and Escape Route Planning

You may need emergency signage and fire safety signs. You may need emergency lighting to sign the way if there is a power failure.

There are also some basic safety requirements that should be implemented. For example, high risk areas such as kitchens should not open directly onto the escape route. Flammable materials such as bundles of packaging should be stored in a safe location.

Although these measures may not concern you if you run a small business premises such as an office, the basic aim is always the same and that is to minimise risk to life and property in the case of a fire.

Whatever your scale of business, everyone should understand exactly what to do if the unthinkable happen.

What are the legal obligations for fire detection and prevention?

The 2005 Fire Safety Order is based on two key principles;

  • 1/ Owners of companies and buildings must appoint a ‘responsible person’ to ensure compliance with the law and heighten awareness of fire protection.
  • 2/ There must be ‘adequate’ means of detecting fire and raising the alarm.

If you are not trained professionally in fire prevention, it can be hard to translate these principles into hard facts and equipment.

Your fire risk assessment will highlight your potential areas of concern but the services of a professional fire risk assessor will provide solutions.

How much does a fire detection and prevention system cost?

The cost of a fire prevention system will depend upon your premises and the type of business you run. Costs could be as little as the price of some smoke alarms or fire extinguishers. You may only need some advice about fire safety measures and an effective escape plan.  Alternatively the cost could run into thousands.

 If you have any doubts about the level of fire cover you need, a professional fire risk assessor will help you. A professional will show you exactly what you need for fire safety so you are not tempted to cut corners, nor invest in expensive equipment you may not need. 

Don’t ignore fire safety!

There is never a good time to spend money, especially if you are running a business and every penny counts. However you can’t afford to ignore fire safety and the longer you leave this issue, the higher the risk becomes.

For the business owner it is not all bad news. Taking action and implementing adequate fire safety measures, gives you one less worry to think about and if there is a fire you can be confident that you have done everything possible to minimise danger and damage to property.

 You can check out the Government’s general advice for fire safety in the workplace for more information. In addition, Your Fire Risk Assessment will help you identify potential problems and a trained Fire Risk Assessor will help you put the findings into practical solutions.

If you would like a free site assessment and advice on how to protect your premises please contact Midland Fire Security Services today for a fast response.

Midland Fire has been supporting Burton Albion and the Community Trust Charity for several years. We recently took part in their corporate 5-a-side tournament helping raise money for local causes.

This month we made it official and became a Burton Albion Community Trust (BACT) ‘Friends of the Community’ supporter. As part of the agreement we will be providing all BACT facilities with adequate fire safety systems.

For more about the BACT please visit the Burton Albion Community Trust website. You can read more about our partnership here.

To find out more information about becoming of BACT’s ‘Friend of the Community’ visit https://www.burtonalbioncommunitytrust.co.uk/ or E-mail bactadmin@burtonalbionct.org.

Aston University, Birmingham

After successfully becoming one of three nominated framework providers for Aston University’s Electrical Framework, Midland Fire is pleased to announce that we are the Life Safety Framework provider for the next 3 to 5 years at Aston University.

We will be providing all-inclusive service and maintenance to the fire alarm system across campus. The system is made up of over 30 networked Gent control panels complete with full graphics package and a total of over 6000 devices.

The framework includes service and maintenance of all emergency lighting units so we will be conducting 3hr discharge and monthly flick tests including a mixture of self-contained battery back-up and central battery systems. Disabled refuge systems and pager systems are also covered ensuring the protection of all staff, students and guests in the event of a fire.

Midland Fire has over 10 years’ experience working within the education sector including schools and colleges. Please contact us if you would like a free consultation.

midland fire celebrates 20 years of trading

Over the past 20 years Midland Fire Security Services Ltd (Midland Fire) has become one of the most successful fire alarm and life safety system providers in the local area. With a team of 20 engineers the company has come a long way from its inception at the start of the century.

Midland Fire’s focus on commercial fire safety systems have seen them work on several complex projects over the years. Previous projects include fire alarm systems at Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport, Xscape Shopping Centre, Milton Keynes and Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK near Derby.

The company’s engineers are local to the Burton On Trent area, it also employs 5 apprentices to support the future growth of the business.

Humble beginnings

To this day Midland Fire remains a family run life safety company. The company was founded by Gary Sillito in September 1999. Gary worked as a specialist subcontractor to Gent / Honeywell Building Solutions, catering for their more complex commissioning and programming needs. He earned a reputation for quality workmanship and excellent customer service helping the company win projects of their own throughout the East and West Midlands.

Over the last decade the business has continued to grow with the help of Gary’s three sons, Daniel, Luke and Jack who started out their careers as electricians at WT Parker Ltd. Their input and varied experience enabled Midland Fire to be able to carry out more installations throughout the UK and offer more services including electrical services, emergency lighting, door access, gas suppression and fire extinguisher services.  The company has also gained several accreditations to meet suppliers’ requirements and maintain the highest standards of workmanship.

Recent successes

Throughout the busy summer period, Midland Fire have successfully completed a range of complex projects, including the full rewire of fire alarms at Fairfax Multi Academy Trust, several school fire alarm rewires for local electrical contractors, the electrical Infrastructure for the new medical school at Aston University and the upgrade of sub-station fire alarms system at Toyota Manufacturing. Along with this they have secured a 3-year electrical framework contract at Aston University, and multiple contracts with the NHS within the West Midlands, along with various upgrade works to fire alarm systems for local contractors.

For more information or to work with us please call 01283 741000 or email info@midlandfiresecurity.co.uk

job vacancy at midland fire

Job Vacancy at Midland Fire: Administration Assistant/trainee

Midland Fire Security Services are looking to recruit an office administration assistant/trainee to help with the day to day running of the business.

The role will involve assisting other office staff as required. Ideally suited to a school leaver or someone looking for or already completing an admin apprenticeship.

  • Small office environment, based just outside of Tutbury, Staffordshire.
  • Hours are negotiable.
  • Own transport preferred for occasional post office runs.

How to apply

Please send your CV to admin@midlandfire.com and if we think you are the right person for the job we’ll get in touch.

Midland Fire Security Charity Football Tournament

On 10th May Midland Fire took a break from installing fire alarms to compete in the Burton Albion Corporate five-a-side football tournament.

The tournament held at the Pirelli stadium in Burton On Trent saw MFSS compete against 19 other local businesses looking to take home the coveted trophy.

After a competitive afternoon, JCB emerged as the winners beating the Burton Chamber of Commerce 5-3 in the final. Midland Fire finished around mid-table. Of course…it is the taking part that counts!

The event raised £5000 for the Burton Albion Community Trust. The money raised will go towards sports inclusion projects in the local community.

More photos and videos from the day are available on the Burton Albion website:

https://www.burtonalbionfc.co.uk/news/2019/may/1405-cfas/

https://www.burtonalbionfc.co.uk/news/2019/may/1005-gallery/

midland fire security engineers

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