So what exactly is a fire alarm category and who should choose it?

fire alarm categories keighley, harrogate, leeds, bradfordAll too often business owners realise the requirement to have a fire detection system but then go the wrong way about providing one. Having realised that a system is probably necessary then a popular route is to ask the local electrician to quote for the job. If said electrician is qualified in fire-alarm design that would be absolutely fine but all too often they are not.

Fire alarms should be designed to a specific category. There are two main classes: Category P – Property Protection and Category L – Life Protection. The specific categories are as follows:

Life Protection Categories

L5 – An engineered solution (only very complicated buildings such as shopping centres).

L4 – Manual call-points throughout, sounders throughout and automatic detection on escape routes and stairs.

L3 – As L4 plus automatic detection in rooms leading onto escape routes.

L2 – As L3 plus automatic detection in any other high-risk areas (e.g. a kitchen).

L1 – Manual call-points throughout, sounders throughout and automatic detection throughout.

 

Property Protection Categories

P2 -     Sounders throughout and automatic detection in specified areas.

P2M – Manual call-points throughout, sounders throughout and automatic detection in specified areas.

P1M  – Manual call-points throughout, sounders throughout and automatic detection throughout.

P1   – Sounders throughout and automatic detection throughout.

If you never had any design documentation the category should be ascertained and added to your six-monthly servicing documentation. It would also become clear when carrying out your mandatory fire-risk assessment.

So who chooses the category? Not the designer is the answer. Ultimately the decision on the appropriate category would be ascertained following the results of the fire-risk assessment. Once the category has been chosen then the designer must ensure the design wholly meets the specified category.