Fire Alarm Categories – a quick overview

A range of Fire Alarms

You need a fire alarm system, should it be a P1 or an L3 or maybe a manual system? C&M Fire Alarms are the experts when it comes to designing, installing and maintaining Fire Alarm Systems. But did you know Fire Alarms range in categories? Here is a quick reference to the categories of fire alarm systems provided in BS 5839-1, the British standard. More can be found on the GOV website, the Fire Kills campaign and the industry lead FIA website.

Our great reputation means peace of mind when dealing with complex fire alarm systems. Systems suitable for small premises such as shops and offices to large scale buildings such as care homes and universities.

Fire Alarms come in eight categories

Example Floor Plan for Manual Alarm SystemCategory M = Manual Systems
These types of Fire Detection & Alarms have to have call points and alarms within the building. These are probably the ones you are most used to seeing and they rely on people to take action and activate them in order to warn others. You will see the red boxes with a section of glass to break in case of alerting a fire and are installed next to exits, allowing you to escape after raising the alarm.
Premises such as offices, shops, schools and cinemas would have this type of alarm.

Category L = Life Systems
These types of Fire Detection Systems are for protecting life. They come in five subcategories offering different levels of fire protection.
L1 is a comprehensive fire alarm system with detectors in areas where a fire could start. Detectors are linked to a central system which alerts the whole building. Premises such as care homes would have this type of alarm.
L2 has systems installed in defined parts of a building. For example, alarms would be fitted in kitchens and smoke detectors in corridors. Premises such as factories and hotels would have this type of alarm.
L3 is similar to L2 with more detectors placed in rooms that open onto an escape route. Premises such as commercial buildings with flights of stairs would have this type of alarm.
L4 is solely for escape routes, corridors and stairways, or circulation areas, so people can exit a building safety. Premises such as commercial properties with a lower risk level.
L5 is for a specific fire risk area because of the type of area it is or what is stored there and would satisfy specific fire safety objectives.

Category P = Property Systems
These types of systems have the primary aim of protecting buildings and property with two levels and manual call points are not essential.
P1 is a complete detection system which covers the whole building and offers the earliest possible fire warning. Therefore detectors and alarms are placed in all areas and the fire services can be alerted the moment fire breaks out to minimise damage.
P2 is for defined parts of the property in high-risk areas with specific coverage, for example, single rooms or to cover a certain floor.

Call the experts

Looking at these eight categories, it still important to gain professional advice from a specialist such as C&M Fire Alarms, with nearly 50 years in the industry we’ve been working hard to become experts in our field, with accreditation’s, fully trained engineers working with the latest technologies are aware of health & safety regulations and updates.

Part of our role is to look at your building plan or property and recommend which detector and system will work best for you. Extra detectors may be needed for high-risk areas such as boiler rooms, kitchens and plant rooms with machinery. We can install wireless systems great for listed buildings for example. Let us take help you find the right solution for you, contact us:

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Covering Sussex and the whole of the South East, C&M Fire Alarms are based in Horsham and have been providing continuous service for 50 years. So call us now for a free quotation.