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Fire Alarm Grade System

Fire & Security, Information

Fire Alarms and smoke detectors are a vital system to help prevent, detect and control the spread of fires in domestic and commercial premises.

And just like intruder alarm systems which have a grading system, so to do Fire Alarm Systems.

In Fire Alarm Systems, the grading is based on both the level of protection that the occupants of a building need relative to the fire risk and the detection equipment itself.  While Intruder Alarms operate on a relatively simple Grade 1 – 4 system, Fire Alarms operate around a more complex grading that covers whether the property is permanently occupied, rented or used for short term accommodation (such as a self-catering premises).

The Alarm Grades have recently been changed as part of amendments to BS 5839-6:2019 A1:2020 which includes new grades that cover the different types of alarm system. First launched in 1995, British Standard BS 5839-6 (domestic) is the most commonly used guide for the likes of architects and fire safety contractors.  The British Standard BS 5839-6 outlines the specific systems that should be installed to help save lives and reduce the chances of property damage.

The new grading system is as followed:

Grade A

Grade A systems includes separate detectors, sounders and a central control system with indicating equipment and back up power supply that meets British Standards BS EN 54.

Note: There is no Grade B level

Grade C

Grade C includes separate detectors and sounders that are mains powered with back up power supply connected to a central control system.

Grade D1

Grade D1 is comprised of a system of one or more mains powered detectors fitted with a tamper proof standby supply fitted battery.

Grade D2

Grade D2 is comprised of a system of one or more mains powered detectors fitted with a tamper proof standby supply fitted user-replaceable battery.

Grade F1

Grade F1 Fire Alarms Systems are comprised of one or more battery powered detectors powered by a fitted battery.

Grade F2

Grade F2 Fire Alarms Systems are comprised of one or more battery powered detectors powered by a tamper proof user-replaceable battery.

The above grades outline the minimum grade of fire alarm equipment that should be fitted to provide protection to building occupants. But as mentioned, the grading is based on both the equipment installed and the level of protection that the occupants of a building need relative to the fire risk.

Alongside the grading system is the categories of fire detection and fire alarm systems that are required.  There are three categories of system:

LD3 – Minimum Protection

An LD3 category offers the very minimum of Fire Alarm and Detection Safety.  The system incorporates detectors in all circulation areas that form part of the escape routes from a property such as the hallway and landing. This category of fire detection only applies to owner occupied bungalows, flats and single storey property with no floor lever above 4.5metres from the ground.

LD2 – Additional Protection

An LD2 Category is a step up in protection.  It includes detectors in all circulation areas that form part of the escape route (hallway/landing) and are included in specific rooms that present the highest risk of fire such as the kitchen and living room. The Kitchen detector should be a heat alarm.

LD1 – Maximum Protection

The highest level of protection for occupants of a building.  LD1 category fire detection systems re installed throughout the premises and incorporate detectors in all circulation areas that form part of the escape route (hallway/landing) and all other areas of the home including Living Room, Kitchen (heat alarm), Bedrooms, Cupboard where gas boiler is housed, loft and garage spaces (minus low risk areas such as the bathroom).


How does this affect the Scottish Government Legislation related to interlinked smoke alarms.

From February 2022, new Government legislation relating to fire and smoke alarms will come into play across Scotland.

This new rule will cover all homes in Scotland and it is the responsibility of the homeowner themselves to meet these new standards.

The new legislation has come into effect because of the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London. Originally due to come into force in 2020, it was delayed because of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The new standards require the following:

  • Minimum of one smoke alarm installed in the most commonly used daytime room of the home.
  • Minimum of one smoke alarm installed in every circulation room ie. the hallway or landing.
  • Minimum of one heat alarm installed in the kitchen.

This new Scottish Legislation will help to push all homes in Scotland into LD2 Category for Fire Detection.

 

Find out more

In simple terms a fire alarm system is a number of automatic or manual devices linked and designed to alert the presence of fire. Our Fire & Security division of HF Group offers complete business and personal fire and security solutions. Our Fire and Security Services are NSI Gold and NSI Fire Gold accredited and we can design, install and offer maintenance contracts for Fire Systems, Access Control Systems, CCTV and Intruder Alarms nationwide.

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