What Type Of Fire Alarm Do I Need?

Monday, July 16, 2018


Fire alarm systems come in many design formats. Indeed there are systems for every type of property – small or large, commercial or residential. But, in essence, they are split into three main categories.

Category M

A Manual call point only system without any form of detection device, e.g. smoke or heat detectors.

An M system would rely on the occupants of the building discovering the fire and then warning other occupants by operating the system. This type of system would be the very basic requirement for a workplace where there was no sleeping risk. 

Category L

A system designed to protect Life and will incorporate automatic fire detection such as smoke and heat detectors.

An L system could be applicable for both commercial and domestic premises where the protection of life is the key consideration. For example, a multi-screen cinema complex or theatre seating hundreds of people, or at the other end of the scale a house of multiple occupation (HMO) or apartment block. Commercial Offices will usually be of a L category design.  

Category P

A system designed to protect Property and will incorporate automatic fire detection such as smoke and heat detectors. 

An example of a P system would be a paper warehouse or premises with high value stock that could be vulnerable to fire. In these situations, the likelihood is that fire detection and alarm systems will be an insurance requirement.

What we Do

As fire security specialists, our initial work would be to undertake a FREE survey of your premises to evaluate and ascertain the category and extent of installation required. In the case of Category P systems these are, more often than not, a pre-requisite of any insurance cover, given that the insurance company will want to ensure that there is adequate protection in place to safeguard their risk. Meanwhile, Category L systems may be specified by a fire officer, but ultimately it will be down to the business owner to decide what the risks are going to be for the employees and stock.

Depending on the risk, a P system can be subdivided into two areas; P1 which is detection throughout the entire premises or P2 which is protection in vulnerable areas only.

An L system is slightly more complicated and ranges from lowest level Category L4 which only provides coverage for escape routes up to L1 which is for coverage throughout the property.

On many occasions our systems may be of a mixed design incorporating both L and M category or L and P. 

Given our extensive experience of integrating fire alarm systems into many types and sizes of commercial and residential property, we are ideally positioned to help you and to recommend the appropriate regulatory category that will be suitable for your premises.

We are also NSI Fire Gold accredited (the highest level of recognition by the National Security Inspectorate) and by BAFE, the independent registration body for third party certified fire protection companies across the UK.

If you are considering installing a fire alarm system, contact us on 0845 468 0927 and we will be happy to recommend the most appropriate and cost effective system for your premises.







Fire Detection
Fire fighters attending a fire alarm activation
Installation Service Engineer