You own a business, you have many employees, your business is expanding, business is booming. But your life's work could come crashing down just because of a little fire outbreak. Fire outbreaks can easily be prevented with the use of a good fire alarm system. And as a business owner, you have a moral obligation, and responsibility to not just keep yourself safe but also your employees and all assets at your workplace.
This is why it is essential that you know the fire alarm regulations necessary for fire safety. However, many business owners do not know the fire alarm regulations. Today, you will learn all you need to know about the fire alarm regulations for your business.
What type of fire alarm do you need?
There are basically two types of fire alarm systems and they both have advantages and disadvantages. The first is the conventional system. This is a basic way of providing fire alarm for protection. The other is the addressable system which is a more advanced way of providing fire alarm for protection.
This system involves the linking of wires as a circuit, which is called a zone, from the control panel to the last initiating device. When this device is linked, if triggered, it will identify the zone of the device which helps narrow down the location of the fire. For instance, a building with several floors could be divided into zones. This also depends on the building layout or size.
So, when the initiating device is triggered, the area affected shows up on the control panel and the fire department will know which floor the fire started from. However, they will not know the exact location on that floor. A system can be divided into 32 zones of detection but for a small business, you might only need one zone.
This is a more advanced digital system that is wired as a loop starting and ending at the control panel. Smoke detectors and heat detectors are placed on this loop. The loop ensures that even if one end is damaged, the system can still send communication to the control panel through the other end. In the case of the addressable system, when the alarm is triggered, it identifies the exact location of the fire outbreak.
Fire alarm regulations for commercial buildings
By law, all businesses should have a fire detection system. This is because the safest way to deal with fire is to prevent it and this is what the fire alarm system does. In Ireland, business owners are obligated to follow the fire alarm standards and provide a safe place of work. I.S. 3218 is the standard for fire alarm systems, and It covers both commercial and domestic systems. It also helps in assessing the kind of detection system to use.
Depending on the kind of workplace, you could choose an automatic alarm system or manual alarm system. Consideration should also be paid to where fires may likely start to know where to place smoke detectors or heat detectors. With a fire alarm system, fire outbreaks can be prevented and workers can be easily warned. The fire alarm system must be tested weekly and detectors like smoke detectors should be serviced at least every six months. All workers in the building should be able to hear the alarm from anywhere and a call point should be always nearby and at all exits.
What can your business do?
Under Section 19 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act of 2005, all employers are mandated to identify hazards, assess risks and have a proper risk assessment. For instance, the heat generated from things like cooking could cause fire outbreaks and so this heat must be controlled.
Therefore, it is necessary that employees report signs of danger and control sources of ignition. Essentially, fire prevention measures will vary depending on the type of business. Therefore, different businesses will require different fire safety protocols.
For every business, there should be an emergency action plan so everyone knows the exit route. This means that your workplace should have an emergency exit. This can be a door or a window and should be kept clear at all times. In planning for an emergency evacuation, make sure all employees are well trained and prepared. This plan should be kept where employees can see and review it if necessary.
Our lives and property are valuable to us, and in order for us to protect them, we have to take the necessary measures. What happens if we don't follow these regulations? It may result in the death of someone and you may have to take responsibility. This is not a risk worth taking. Now you are empowered with the right knowledge to help you prevent fire outbreak at your workplace. So, make sure you follow the fire alarm regulations.