British Standard (BS) 5839 Part 1 : 2002 (Fire detection and alarm systems for buildings)
Cracking the Fire Code
British Standard (BS) 5839 Part 1 : 2002 (Fire detection and alarm systems for buildings) has recently been re-written and updated to embrace many new practices and technology within the design, installation and servicing of fire systems.
The new code has made many positive changes, which are good for installers and users of such systems. Most notable is the increased flexibility of design, inclusion of new technologies and a strong emphasis on contractual processes and false alarm management. The general layout of the BS5839-1 code provides commentary, recommendations, normative and informative references designed to provide easier navigation around the document.
As time has passed and many new and significant developments have been made in areas of detection technology, BS5839-1 has embraced new methods to help reduce the number of false alarms, including carbon monoxide detection, which is now fully recognised as a legitimate form of detection.
Code of Practice
ADT’s award-winning Carbon Monoxide fire detector is immune or resilient to many sources of false or unwanted alarms which plague smoke detectors. This unique product is the first such device to be LPCB approved for the UK market and can be used alongside smoke, heat and flame detectors, providing early warning as part of the most effective fire solution in the correct application.
Coupled to CO detection technology are ADT’s Fastlogic algorithms, which is probably the most powerful and accurate fire detection software in the world today. It is a very intelligent system that filters out any unwanted electronic noise, enabling it to measure smoke density weighting, smoke density peak suppression and has real fire experience comparison.
Of course, there are changing requirements within risk areas at different times of the day. Using Day/Night mode within MX technology, ADT can control the mode of individual sensors depending on the level and type of activity within each sector of the building at certain periods of time.
The switching between day/night modes is programmed to repeat automatically and accurately matches devices to individual environment requirements as they change throughout the day. This helps to eliminate false alarms, and continues to provide optimum fire cover at all times, supported by MX Fastlogic algorithms.
Fire warning systems for deaf people
An interesting new clause within the BS5839-1 code deals with fire warning systems for deaf people. ADT has recently unveiled the SAB800, a new loop powered sounder beacon, for the MX range, for this purpose. The device has an extremely high light density output coupled to low current needs, which would be ideal used in hospital corridors, outside specific rooms, in noisy areas or areas where people with limited hearing work.
Not only do ADT’s Minerva and MX detectors differentiate between the smoke and temperature patterns of real fires and typical false alarm sources, they also have the capability of driving vibrating pads and pagers for deaf people.
One contentious change to the BS5839-1 code has been the inclusion of critical path cabling. The code now states that all critical signal paths should be fire resistant .
There are two grades of cable – enhanced and standard . Enhanced cable should be used in unsprinklered buildings which incorporate four or more phased evacuation procedures or are greater than 30m in height and must always be used in networking between fire panels. The requirement for enhanced cabling may be identified by a fire risk assessment or as part of a fire engineered solution which compensates for shortfalls in building construction. Because fire resistant cable is now recommended for all parts of a fire alarm system, including the mains supply cables, it is vital that it is resistant to all the elements.
ADT’s Minerva and MX systems can be networked using mineral cable, which is considered high integrity cable that offers good mechanical protection from heat, flame, shock and water. Both systems can be installed using all types of suitable fire resistant cable.
Having the best possible fire system installed is a step in the right direction, but if staff are not trained to use the fire systems to their full potential, an element of risk still remains. A building’s fire system is the hardest working employee yet it is often completely forgotten about, which could have devastating consequences. It is vital that fire systems are regularly serviced to ensure optimum performance and to eliminate false alarms.
ADT offers full, professional on-site training at the handover of the systems, routine servicing, and a 24-hour maintenance and repair service – anywhere in the country.
Disclaimer This information is given as a general guide only. It is not intended to contain definitive legal advice. Professional legal advice should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter.
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