Current Fire Alarm Regulations – Do I Need a Fire Alarm Installed?

Unless you are a fire safety professional yourself, following the current UK fire alarm regulations can feel like quite a daunting process. Lets take a more simple look at how you can comply with all current UK fire alarm legislation at your place of business if you are unsure about the need for a fire alarm.


The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005’ also known as the RRO, is the current legislation regarding fire safety that business owners must adhere to by law.


In addition to following this, the UK government recommends that all commercial business owners install and maintain fire alarm and detection systems in accordance with the relevant British Standard, BS 5839. There is often a lot of confusion surrounding what is expected of a business owner when it comes to meeting the requirements of current UK fire alarm legislation, especially if you run a very small or micro-business, so we hope this simple guide will help.


Do I actually need a fire alarm installed?


This will depend on the size and operational conditions of your business. Current UK fire alarm regulations state that all business premises must have ‘an appropriate fire detection system’. This is sensible because if a fire breaks out on your business premises, it will be quickly detected and your staff and visitors can be safely evacuated from the building.


However, this doesn't mean that absolutely every business premises will need to be fitted with a fire alarm. There will be some circumstances under which there may be no need for a fire alarm. Such circumstances could be one or more of the following examples:


  • A fire would be easily spotted if it broke out anywhere on the premises
  • Someone shouting out ‘fire!’ would be easily heard by all the building occupants
  • Your premises doesn't contain anyone classed as vulnerable occupants, such as the very young, elderly or disabled
  • Your business premises doesn't store any high-risk substances, such as flammable chemicals
  • Your business doesn't undertake what are considered to be high-risk activities, such as cooking or handling hot materials or oils
  • Your premises are too small, such as a simple one-room shop of a single-storey or open-plan layout


If one or more of these statements apply to your business, then you probably don't need to have a fire alarm. However if any of these statements does not apply to your business, then you probably will need a fire alarm system installed.


It may be the case that you run a small business, but you run it over two floors of a building. There may be a risk of a fire breaking out on one of the floors without it being easily discovered, especially if the fire breaks out on a lower floor and you may become trapped on the upper floor should the fire take a firm hold before discovery. In this case a simple fire alarm system to cover both floors would be recommended.


If you are in any doubt at all about whether you need to have a fire alarm installed, then you should ensure that you conduct a Fire Risk Assessment. This will then indicate whether you should or shouldn’t install automatic fire detection. A good Fire Risk Assessment is the foundation of you fire safety plan, so you should ensure that one is carried out for your business by a professional. For more details visit my website.

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