hurray your mega menu works

Fire Alarm Systems for Warehouses

Warehouses are one of the most integral parts of a company. It’s where all the valuable stock and inventory are stored, which is why any disruptions to the operations there can have severe consequences to you and your company’s reputation.

By nature, warehouses are built as large, open spaces with high ceilings and many rows of racking. The cause for concern here is that they are probably packed from floor to ceiling with flammable materials.

It doesn’t matter whether the goods themselves are flammable or not because the cardboard or plastic packaging that they are most likely in is. Additionally, if the goods are mounted on wooden shelves, that’s another flammable thing to worry about.

A fire breaking out in a warehouse is a real nightmare for businesses since it puts both human life and property at risk, resulting in huge financial losses and, of course, a tarnished image for the business.

The sheer size of a warehouse and the amount of stock stored in it may make it difficult to detect the early signs of a fire and stop it from spreading and causing damage.

Though it is impossible to make a warehouse, or any property for that matter, 100% fire-proof, you can take steps to minimise the risk and make it a safe space for your employees to work in.

To do that, you need to take the necessary safety precautions and measures to prevent fires as much as possible and be able to detect one as soon as it erupts so that it can be controlled.

Having an effective fire alarm system that will quickly detect the threat is a vital part of warehouse safety and must be implemented in all storage and distribution centres.

Read on to find out about what causes warehouse fires, how to prevent them from happening, and the best fire alarm systems for warehouses:


Before we talk about fire safety measures, you need to understand what causes these fires so that you are in a better position to work out the best plan. Some of the most common causes for warehouse fires include:

Intentional fires

Fires that are deliberately started, also known as arson, are unfortunately one of the most common causes of warehouse fires.

These make up for one-third of all fires and a good chunk of specific warehouse fires as well. The reason behind them could be anything from criminal acts to insurance fraud.

Electrical faults

Issues with electrical and lighting equipment come in at a very close second position of causes for warehouse fires. Faults with the wiring, cables, and outlets all contribute to the fire risk and must be installed and maintained properly.

As compared to fires caused by arson, these types of fires are usually less damaging to warehouses but are a major problem nonetheless.

Heating equipment

Heating the warehouse during the colder months is a regular part of the smooth operations around the property. However, you have to be very careful when doing so since heating equipment causes a serious fire risk.

This is the third most common cause of warehouse fires and is usually caused by portable heaters, central heating, congested chimneys, and other heating equipment such as confined fuel burners or boilers.


Warehouse exposure fires are caused by other fires outside the building that cause the flammable material stored inside to burn.

This includes other buildings, vehicles, and objects such as trash, dumpsters, trees, landscaping, and cigarette butts, and may result in fires that can be very dangerous since they can go undetected for a long time due to the location of the fire and the lack of appropriate fire detection systems.

Smoking materials

Not only is smoking a health hazard but is also a serious fire hazard. The materials involved in smoking such as cigarettes, cigars, and lighters are a major reason for a large number of warehouse fires.

Because of this, it is very important to completely extinguish cigarette butts when discarding them, put them in specially sealed bins designed for them, not throw them on the ground, and keep them away from electrical outlets, cords, lighting, and flammable materials around the warehouse.


There are many things that you, as a warehouse owner, safety manager, or employer, can do to minimise the risk of fires occurring.

Here are three key areas that you need to pay special attention to:

  • Fire risk assessments,
  • Fire alarm systems, and
  • Employee training.


According to UK fire safety regulations, it is a legal requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to carry out a thorough fire risk assessment of your property.

Considering the level of fire risk a warehouse carries, it is your responsibility as the owner, employer, or anyone in charge to perform a fire risk assessment to help you identify the risks and determine how to tackle them in the best possible way.

There may be more than one ‘responsible person’ and, if that is the case, you need to work together and take on equal responsibility in meeting the safety regulations.

A fire risk assessment forms the basis of fire security and must be performed on all commercial and industrial premises, regardless of their size. It is carried out in 5 steps that include:

Identifying the fire hazards

A source of ignition, fuel, and oxygen are three things that are needed to start a fire. If you take any one out of the equation, a fire cannot start. Therefore, you must take measures to avoid these three coming together if you wish to reduce the chances of a fire occurring.

You may identify possible ignition sources in your warehouse by looking for possible sources of heat that could get hot enough to ignite flammable material around the property.

Next, you need to identify sources of fuel, which are anything that will burn easily and cause a fire to spread.

You also need to identify the sources of oxygen around the warehouse such as the natural airflow through doors, windows, and other openings, and the mechanical air conditioning and handling systems.

Identifying the people at risk

The next step of a fire risk assessment is to identify those at risk in case there is a fire. To do this, you need to identify where people are working, the nature of their work, and who is visiting the warehouse and when.

People most at risk include workers working alone, people in isolated areas, unaccompanied children, people unfamiliar with the warehouse’s fire safety protocols such as seasonal workers and visitors, people with disabilities and language difficulties, and people within the immediate vicinity of the warehouse.

Reviewing your fire safety protocols

Fire safety protocols consist of three steps: evaluating the risk of fire, evaluating the outcomes of fire, and taking action to reduce the risks.

Fires are most commonly started due to three reasons: by accident, due to negligence, or on purpose. A combination of the correct fire safety protocols and proper employee training will help reduce the risk posed by these causes.

Regardless of how well you have implemented fire safety protocols, there is always a chance of a fire occurring on your premises, and to fight off and prevent the hazard, you need to consider the impact a fire would have on your warehouse.

Once you’ve identified the risks and understand how they will impact you, you need to reduce them where possible by removing the sources of ignition, fuel, and oxygen, control the number of people and goods, make evacuation easier, implement early fire detection systems, and ensure proper maintenance of the stored goods and warehouse in general.

Recording the findings and preparing an action plan

After all that is done, you need to record and properly document the findings of your fire risk assessment, along with the action taken to reduce the risks.

This not just helps you become compliant as per the UK fire safety laws but also helps you learn from your mistakes and is great for future reference.

By identifying how a fire is likely to start and spread, and how you can eliminate certain risks, you can draft an informed emergency plan of action.

Reviewing and updating the fire risk assessment

Once the results from your fire risk assessment come in and the appropriate responses are formulated, you can’t just abandon them.

The assessment will serve as a template for future fire risk assessments which, by law, must be carried out periodically, especially if there are any substantial changes to the layout and operations in the warehouse.

You must aim to review and revise your fire safety policies, based on the fire risk assessment findings, and change and update them if need be.


Selecting the right type of fire alarm system for your warehouse is vital for protecting both the people and property. Here are some of the most common types of fire alarm systems that you can choose depending on the size and level of risk of your property:

Conventional fire alarms

Conventional fire alarms are one of the most basic types of fire alarm systems. Their main components include the alarm points, fire alarms, and a control panel to detect a fire and give a general idea about the location of the fire.

Each component is wired individually to the control panel which, even though is cheaper in itself, makes it more complicated to install.

These systems don’t give you the exact location of the fire. Instead, they tell you the general area where the fire is. For this reason, they are suited for smaller warehouses with a very basic floor plan since a minimal number of detectors and alarm points would be required.

Addressable fire alarms

Since addressable fire alarms tell you exactly which call point or detector has been set off, they are more suitable for larger warehouses with a lot of storage material.

The biggest advantage that they offer is that in the event of a fire, the fire and rescue services don’t have to waste time trying to figure out where the fire is. They can begin tackling it straight away since they would know precisely where the threat is located.

These systems also carry less risk of false alarms, which can be a nuisance for both the occupants of the warehouse and the fire and rescue services.

Since each connection is part of a single loop, if one part of the connection fails, the signals can still run the other way. It also becomes easier to add more devices to the system because of the minimal cabling required.

Aspirating fire alarms

Aspirating fire alarms and smoke detectors draw air through a network of pipes and test it for smoke particles. This continuous sampling of air allows for early detection, making these systems very useful in particularly challenging environments such as warehouses with high ceilings.

These systems come in different types and variants, with each one better suited for a particular environment. You can place them strategically around the warehouse to cover all the key risk areas.

Make sure to place a high-power fan near the detectors to ensure regular intake of air as opposed to waiting for the smoke to drift towards them.

Wireless fire alarms

Wireless fire alarms also called radio alarms, use radio frequencies to connect the components of the system. This means that there are no cables to install, making them ideal for buildings where it is either impractical for cables to run through or is aesthetically unappealing.

Since all detectors are in contact via radio connectivity, several frequencies are used to preserve the strength of the signal, resulting in a strong and disturbance-free connection.

Also, since there is no cabling involved, the installation of wireless fire alarm systems is much simpler. They do, however, come at a higher cost as compared to standard wired systems.

Monitored fire alarms

Monitored fire alarm systems are the most comprehensive fire safety equipment there is. They provide all the benefits of an effective fire alarm system with the added benefit of the system being monitored by trained professionals.

These systems ensure that no alarm ever goes unnoticed, even when the warehouse is empty and unoccupied. When the alarm is raised, an alert is sent to a professional monitoring centre where it is first checked and tackled on an urgent basis.

Monitored fire alarm systems use both landline and wireless networks to alert the alarm receiving centre, from where the emergency and rescue services are alerted right away without wasting a single minute.


At Calder Security, we offer you a comprehensive solution for your warehouse’s fire safety needs that include professional installation, maintenance, monitoring, and repair.

We understand that every warehouse is different and the specification of the system depends on several factors including the type and size of the warehouse, the nature of the stored goods and inventory, and the number of employees and staff.

We can help you cut through all that and advise you on the best fire detection system for your warehouse that complies with British Standards, HSE, Building Regulations, and Fire Officer Guidelines, in addition to meeting the requirements of business insurance.

We also understand fire regulations and provide professional maintenance checks and reminders for when the checks are due to help you stay compliant with the law. We work fast to restore your fire alarm system to excellent condition and always strive to meet your expectations.

We offer various levels of monitoring via a 24-hour monitoring centre using Dualcom and BT Redcare signalling, which is the most secure alarm monitoring system and the largest supplier of intelligent alarm signalling services in the UK.

If your system starts to malfunction, you can rely on our highly skilled engineers to restore your system to full working order in one visit. We offer a 24-hour call-out service for customers and can also repair fire alarms not installed by us thanks to our extensive knowledge and experience.

Contact us here or call us today free on 0800 612 9799 to talk to our experts right away!

Photo by Benjamin Huggett on Unsplash