There are different types of fire alarm, as well as different grades and categories. Here’s a break down for business owners and site managers looking to ensure you’re providing your premises with the right type of fire alarm for your business.

Does my business need a fire alarm?

Many people are unsure whether their premises needs a fire alarm at all. UK fire alarm regulations say that all business premises must have an “appropriate fire detection system”. This means you need a system which can easily detect a fire and warn anyone on the premise at the time.

There are some scenarios in which you are unlikely to require a fire alarm system – for example if you’re in small simple one room premises where you could easily spot a fire and shout “FIRE!” to alert everyone in the building. You’d also need to have no high risk substances, no vulnerable occupants, and not carry out any ‘high risk’ activities on the premises. There are only a very small number of businesses who would fall into this category. And as the old adage goes; better safe than sorry.

If you are unsure about whether your premises requires a fire alarm, you should start with a fire risk assessment. This will form the basis of your business fire safety plan.

What type of fire alarm does my business need?

The type of fire alarm your business needs depends on what is appropriate for your business. Again this can be identified by your fire risk assessment. Choosing a reputable company with appropriate industry approvals to design your fire alarm system will help to ensure you have the right type of fire alarm.

There are three main types of fire alarm system; conventional, addressable and wireless. Conventional fire alarms are suitable for smaller and lower risk premises. In the event of a fire the panel can identify the broad zone of the activation but not s specific area. Addressable fire alarms are so called because each device on the system has an address. This means you can identify the exact location of the activation. These are suitable for larger or higher risk premises. Finally wireless fire alarms, as the name indicates, don’t require cables so are suited to premises where this would be an issue. Other than this they work in the same way as addressable systems.

What else do I need to consider?

Whichever type of system is best for your premises, it’s essential to ensure that it meets the relevant British Standard BS5839 specifications.

It’s important to specify a BAFE approved installer. The BAFE website allows you to verify that the installer you have chosen is approved for the task you’re enlisting them to complete. This due diligence is crucial on your part.

Beyond types, there are also fire alarm grades and categories to consider. You can read more about those on our dedicated fire alarm page. You’ll also find information about Keybury Fire and Security’s design, installation, commissioning and maintenance and monitoring packages here.

You can book a free site survey to discuss your requirements online or by contacting our knowledgeable team on 01535 661197 or email