09 - Fire Detection

Fire Detection systems provide early warning of a fire, permitting evacuation of a building for life safety and early response by the fire service. There are different types of detection systems and devices (e.g. point smoke detectors; heat, flame, spark, video & aspirating (air sampling) smoke detection).  Some forms of detection are more suited to different occupancy spaces than others.

What do we look for?


  • The type, amount, and extent of fire load and hazardous materials present and available to cause or support a fire to be detected by the fire detection system
  • Fire load or hazardous materials introducing an unusual (higher or lower) degree of exposure to the occupancy compared to normal expectations.


  • Use of smoke detection to identify fires during the incipient stage.  A less desirable alternative is the use of flame or heat detection that identifies fires during later fire growth stages
  • The need for a fire detection and alarm system, and the nature and layout of the system, will be determined by an assessment carried out by a competent person
  • Designed and installed to standards providing full coverage to all parts of the property and remotely monitored to ensure swift fire service response
  • Maintain to standards by a competent and accredited service contractor.

Risk improvement ideas

  • Provide a smoke detection system throughout all building areas monitored at a constantly attended location where fire alarms will be promptly retransmitted to the public fire service.  Contract in writing for periodic testing in accordance with standards.  Document all tests with records submitted to management for their review
  • Establish a contract for periodic inspection and servicing with a fire protection company with specialist knowledge of fire detection and alarm systems, including knowledge of the causes of false alarm, with sufficient information regarding the system, and adequate access to spares.
  • Modification of a fire alarm system which involves an element of re-design, responsibility for modification of a system needs to rest with a person who has a sufficient degree of design competence.

Risk Topics


Global standards

  • BS 5839-1 Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings. Part 1: Code of practice for system design, installation, commissioning and maintenance.
  • BS 6266 Fire protection for electronic equipment installations Code of practice.
  • BS EN 54 Fire detection and fire alarm systems (multiple parts)
  • NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code
  • NFPA 730 Guide for Premises Security