Fire is an incident nobody ever expects to experience but its effects can be devastating.
For example in 2021, fire services attended over 500,000 incidents in England alone. While many of these were false alarms, there were still over 150,000 confirmed fires.
In the UK, employers need to adequately protect employees safety at all times and work to mitigate the risk of fire. This may mean providing the correct protective equipment, designing workspaces in a safe manner, or integrating sprinkler systems and other safety measures.
In this guide we will detail everything business owners need to know about fire detection systems, making it as easy as possible for you to keep your employees and customers safe.
Let’s start with the obvious:
The UK fire safety regulations are laid out here.
While it is quite in depth and some of the details can be confusing, the most important takeaway is that all business premises must have an “appropriate fire detection system”. In layman's terms, the bare minimum that can be considered “appropriate” is the ability to detect a fire outbreak and make people aware of it immediately.
There are multiple other important steps that must be taken including the effective management of potentially flammable substances, fire doors and more.
When setting up and installing a fire detection system, much attention should be given to the location of the system’s individual parts such as sensors and alarms.
If a fire isn’t detected immediately, it has a higher chance of spreading, of causing damage or injury, and of closing off the route to a safe exit.
Ensuring the areas of the premises that are most at risk also receive the most coverage will reduce the chance of this happening and increase safety for all inside the building.
Things to keep in mind include:
Some areas may be known to be a fire risk - for example kitchens in a restaurant, areas of a factory in which molten materials are used, or even a computer lab or server room.
These areas must of course be comprehensively covered by fire detection systems, but other strategies can be used to improve safety too - including fire extinguishers and fire mats in a kitchen environment, or cooling systems in a server room.
Such areas should also be designed with the fire risk in mind, including a lot of open space, multiple easily accessible exits, and other techniques for improving safety.
Multi-storey buildings are some of the premises most at risk from fire. This is because a fire on one floor or even in a staircase can make escape from higher floors difficult or impossible. It is important to carry out a full risk assessment in such a situation and ensure that each floor is individually protected and staircases and elevators also have fire detection and suppression systems in place.
Companies that store flammable materials such as building materials, chemicals and certain fabrics must have appropriate protection in place - including fire detection systems, fireproof storage, suppression systems and anything else that can decrease the probability of a catastrophic fire spreading to other parts of the organization.
Here are phs Compliance’s top tips to fire safety in your workplace:
phs Compliance has been delivering compliance and building engineering services for more than 30 years. With more than 500 staff, phs Compliance delivers over 14 million compliance inspections for 35,000 customer sites each year. As a fully-accredited fire safety assessment company assessed by all leading third party fire safety registration bodies, phs Compliance is ready to support you with your fire safety needs.
Keeping up to date with all of your legal requirements around fire safety and detection can be a difficult task in itself. There are a wide variety of differing circumstances that require different solutions. For example - cold storage rooms require a unique type of sprinkler as running water and below freezing temperatures don’t play well together for obvious reasons.
We offer a fully supported fire alarm testing services solution from design, through project management, installation, commissioning, service and fire alarm maintenance, ensuring that your business is as safe as it can possibly be, in compliance with all regulations, and that you can spend your time and attention on growing your business!
All of our fire alarm testing services, maintenance or installation works are delivered to the latest UK fire safety standards and in accordance with BS 5839-1. phs Compliance is inspected annually by third-party accreditation bodies who verify that we maintain the highest level of competency and can provide fully compliant fire alarm test certificates.
To learn more about our what Compliance offers, to get a quote, or simply to ask a query, please feel free to contact us now!