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Fire Alarm Monitoring – Costs, Installation & Why It’s Important for Business

Did you know? There are about 37,000 house fires a year in the UK.

It surely goes without saying that fires are dangerous and can take lives. According to statistics released by the UK Government, there were 252 fire-related deaths last year in the year ending September 2019.

These fatalities occurred mainly because of unsafe measures being taken and not having a fire alarm system to alert the people in question of the danger and helping them get out in time.

While some see it as a cost, the truth is, Fire alarms help save lives and should always be seen as an investment!

They are the most important and effective way to keep your property safe from fires. Sometimes, people don’t even know there’s a fire on the premises until it’s too late to get out and save themselves. Fire alarms help detect such threats right in time for you and can help you save your life or your property for that matter.

Fire alarms are a vital part of any business and there are laws stating that every business, small and large, must have a fire alarm system. The UK fire alarm regulations state that you’re responsible for fire safety in business if you’re the owner or employer. 

Sometimes, during a catastrophe such as a fire, people forget to even call the fire department amidst all the chaos and panic, giving the fire more time to spread making matters worse. 

That’s where fire alarm monitoring comes in action. A quick response to an activated fire alarm can make all the difference in minimizing risk to both life and property.

The difference between regular fire alarms and monitored fire alarms is that the regular ones only sound the alarm in the event of a fire, whereas fire alarm monitoring ensures that a monitoring centre receives alerts so that the relevant authorities can be notified.

Insurers have reported arson, electrical faults and issues with electrical equipment as the leading causes of commercial fires. Whether your business is at risk of one or all of these factors, a fire could be devastating and it could be very difficult to bounce back from the damage. 

Luckily, through fire alarm monitoring services, you can have peace of mind at all times – day or night.

WHAT IS FIRE ALARM MONITORING?

Fire alarm monitoring works by a professional monitoring centre notifying the emergency services or named key holders in the event of an alarm trigger. This not only minimizes the gravity of the situation but can also reduce insurance premiums.

Fire alarm monitoring is a great way to ensure your business is safe from threats such as fire, especially when it’s unattended. If a fire breaks out at night when the building is empty, no one would even find out till the damage has already been done. 

According to statistics, over 60% of fires occur when buildings are unoccupied. According to the London Fire Brigade, the majority of fire-related incidents happen out of hours, between 6 pm and 9 am. 

With fire alarm monitoring, the alarm won’t ever go unheard or unnoticed because dedicated experts will be monitoring your property 24/7.

HOW DOES FIRE ALARM MONITORING WORK?

When a fire breaks out, there is no time to delay since it can spread at an alarming rate causing substantial losses to you and your business. Fire alarm monitoring guarantees quick action by the monitoring centres in reaching out to the fire department in time.

This is how fire alarm monitoring works:

  • The alarm is triggered in the unfortunate event of a fire breaking out on your property.
  • The alarm sends a signal to the professional monitoring centre via landline or 3G/4G network.
  • The monitoring centre receives the signal and notifies the fire department and named key holders of the property.
  • The fire brigade arrives at the scene of the incident and extinguishes the fire.

FIRE ALARM MONITORING COSTS

The cost for fire alarm monitoring seems very well worth it when you compare it to the risk fire and unmonitored fire alarms pose to your business. Doesn’t it?

The benefits that you reap through the service greatly justify the cost. Monthly charges for a fire alarm monitoring system fall anywhere between £15-£45, which is nothing compared to the damages fire can cause to your possessions. 

There are other costs involved with fire alarm monitoring such as systems installation, maintenance, and repair. The average starting cost for a fire alarm security system for your business would be around £1500. This may vary depending on the type, number, and complexity of the security system.

The proper installation of a fire alarm system is just as crucial as the quality of the system itself.
As a rough estimate, you can expect to pay £1000+ for a fire alarm system for a small business. Once the fire alarm has been installed on your premises, you must consider other areas of fire protection for your small business such as fire suppressors, sprinklers, and training staff members on how to deal with fires at work.

British Standard BS 5839 stipulates that fire alarms should be maintained at regular intervals. What’s great is that we, at Calder Security, can service most fire alarm systems, regardless of whether we installed them or not. 

On average, a maintenance visit would cost you around £125-£200+. Again, the charges will differ if you have a maintenance contract. 

Due to the nature of a fire alarm system, you need to know when it becomes faulty so that you can get it repaired ASAP to prevent false fire alarms or, in a worst-case scenario, prevent it from triggering in the event of a fire. 

Our engineers are highly skilled and can usually restore your system to full working order in one visit. A fire alarm repairing service would cost you around £92. The total charges may vary depending on the nature of the fault.

FIRE ALARM INSTALLATION

As mentioned above, the proper installation of a fire alarm system is just as crucial as the quality of the system itself. Professional fire alarm installation ensures the task is carried out with utmost care and precision. 

Depending on the type of business, fire alarms must be installed either in every room or on every floor of the property. When assessing the number and type of fire alarms to be installed in a building, a few considerations must be taken such as:

  • The size of the business
    If the business is a small, single-office premises, the requirements would be different than a bigger, multi-storey building. A conventional fire alarm would suffice for a small business, whereas for the bigger business, the addressable fire alarm would be a more suitable choice.
  • The complexity of the system
    Businesses that operate in a larger area, or if they are at a higher risk of fires, such as restaurants, or businesses dealing with chemicals such as factories, beauty salons, or paint shops, require more complex systems than others.
  • The type of fire alarm
    The installation time and cost depend greatly on the type of fire alarm to be installed. Naturally, if it’s a complex one with fire alarm monitoring enabled, it would be a little pricier (but well worth the money) and take longer to install.

FIRE ALARM SYSTEM TYPES

All fire alarm systems operate on the same principle of a detector sensing smoke or heat, and the alarm being activated to warn others in the building. They may also incorporate fire alarm monitoring equipment which would alert the monitoring centres and the fire department to take the necessary action.

There are two main types of fire alarms; conventional fire alarm systems and addressable fire alarm systems. Let’s look at each one in detail:

Conventional fire alarm systems
In a conventional fire alarm system, your property is divided into zones. These zones give a rough idea as to where the fire has occurred. The exactness of knowing where a fire has started is controlled by the number of zones and circuits that have been wired within the building. 

When these components get activated, the control panel displays a signal which normally contains bells or other audible devices. When the alarm is triggered, it only alerts you to the zone where the alarm was triggered. 

For this reason, the conventional fire alarm system is more suited for small businesses that operate in a small area. They are less precise, and therefore, cheaper than the addressable fire alarm system.

Addressable fire alarm system

The addressable fire alarm system is the most modern type of fire alarm system. It has an “address” for each device that can pinpoint the exact location of the threat. When one of the system’s components is initiated, it shows the component’s address on the fire alarm panel. 

It is more suited for businesses that operate in a larger area, or if they are at a higher risk of fires, such as restaurants, or businesses dealing with chemicals such as the beauty salon or paint shop. Due to the high level of precision, the addressable fire alarm system is pricier than the conventional one.

WHY IS FIRE ALARM MONITORING IMPORTANT FOR BUSINESS?

Irrespective of how big or small your business is, you must have fire alarm monitoring services to ensure the safety of your business. A fire can wreak havoc on a business and can, at times, force it to shut down because of irrecoverable losses.

It’s always best to have safety and security measures in place to avoid any such incidents from taking place. There are a lot of benefits of fire alarm monitoring for your business. 

Let’s discuss them in detail:

Overall safety 

The most basic advantage of having fire alarm monitoring is safety. This includes life and property, both. A good fire alarm system can help people get out in time and save lives, and fire monitoring services can help stop the spread and save lives and valuable property. 

Every business has important assets and elements that it needs to protect from fire and what better way to protect them than by fire alarm monitoring. This is especially true for when the area is unoccupied, such as during night time, and a fire erupts. 

Fire alarm monitoring will ensure that the relevant authorities are contacted ASAP to help keep you and your property safe.

Quick response time

>With fire alarm monitoring, the fire department can be contacted ASAP and firefighters dispatched to your business the moment a fire is detected by the system. A faster response time ensures the safety and security of your employees and business.

Most fires start off slow (depending on the cause) which makes having a quick response time especially helpful.

Cost minimization
You might feel that fire alarm monitoring is a little costly, but when you consider the benefits that it provides you and your business, you’ll realize that an effective fire alarm system can actually minimize your costs.

You must look at it as an investment and how important it is to keep your business up and running. In the event of a fire, fire alarm monitoring can speed up response time and protect your valuable assets from fire.

Additionally, a well-maintained fire alarm security system can lower your insurance premiums and protect you from fines during inspections for not having a proper system in place.

PRACTISING FIRE SAFETY AT THE WORKPLACE

In addition to having fire alarm monitoring at the workplace, there are other safety measures that must be taken to avoid fires and keep everyone safe. As a business owner, it is mandatory for you to focus on fire risk assessment, fire prevention, and educating your employees to help reduce the chances of fire and smoke damage. Here are a few workplace fire safety tips to follow:

Fire drills
Regular fire/emergency drills should be carried out by every business to ensure their employees know the plan of action in case of a fire. Everyone should be well versed with the safety protocol and adhere to the rules and guidelines laid out in a fire plan.

Safety officer
Designate an employee (or several) as the fire safety officer(s). Their responsibilities will include updating all the safety plans, equipment, and information, in addition to guiding others during an evacuation. You may also rotate this responsibility to all your employees so that everyone is well-versed with the standard operating procedures.

Fire exits
It is mandatory for every workplace to have fire exits to be used in emergencies. It is recommended that there should be more than one fire exit on the premises and that they must be independent of each other and have different escape routes so there’s always more than one way to evacuate the building in an emergency.

Fire suppressors
Fire suppressing systems such as sprinkles are a great, inexpensive way to combat threats such as a fire. A properly installed sprinkler system can be very effective in stopping the spread of fire. The damage can be minimized if these sprinklers are activated as soon as a fire alarm is triggered.

Prevent appliances from heating up
This is a very common reason for fires breaking out in the workplace. Equipment such as computers and coffee machines must be placed away from walls and other appliances as leaving space for ventilation prevents the equipment from heating up and causing fires.

A great practice is to unplug all electrical equipment at the end of the day before locking up since most fires break out after office hours when the premises are empty.

Check wiring regularly
Electrical faults are a major contributor to fires. All wiring in the property must be regularly maintained, checking for broken or frayed connections. Avoid putting more than one extension cord in a power outlet since not doing so might cause overloading/overheating and lead to a fire.

Educate your employees
This is the most important safety measure there is against fires. Your staff members must be educated on the best practices and told to implement them for everyone’s safety.

You must have at least one meeting a year where you discuss all the safety measures to be taken along with guidelines on the safety plans. These plans and tips must be printed out and put on boards where everyone can see and read them.

At Calder Security, we offer you complete fire alarm security system services for your business from installation to maintenance, fire alarm monitoring, and repair

Contact us right now for a quick quote. We’d be glad to help you make your workplace safer for everyone!

Image by Renee Gaudet from Pixabay