Fire hazards can pose a serious risk to everyone at a construction site, from the people who work there to visitors, third-party contractors and members of the public. So, if you are the responsible person looking to improve fire safety in construction, choosing the best fire alarm system for your project will be at the top of your list.
However, with so many options available on the market, selecting the right one might be a challenge. This is why we’ve put together this list of 7 handy tips on how to choose the best fire alarm system for your construction site. Read along to find out more.
What makes the fire alarm choice in construction difficult?
The first step to preventing fire damage, both physical and financial, is to install a fire detection system that ensures everyone is evacuated from a building as quickly as possible, according to the fire emergency evacuation plan (FEEP). This applies to both permanent buildings and construction sites, so the selection of a suitable fire alarm system is a key priority for both. However, construction sites present a different set of challenges due to their ever-changing nature.
With new floors being built and new walls being added as time goes by, the layout of the building site, as well as the fire hazards associated with it constantly evolve. Hence, implementing flexible health and safety measures in construction is particularly important.
7 Tips for Construction Site Fire Safety Managers
To give yourself a more adaptable fire detection solution, it’s recommended that you go wireless and take a look at temporary fire alarms as the best option for your future building projects.
That being said, there are many other considerations for you to take into account when planning the foundation of your fire safety management strategy. Use the tips below to get started.
1. Size matters
The first thing to take into account when looking for a fire alarm system for your building site is the size of the construction. If you are dealing with a smaller space, such as the renovation of a particular room or a limited area, a standalone fire alarm might be enough.
However, a standalone fire alarm is designed to only notify the people in a specific location as far as its sounding capabilities allow it to. Therefore, if you are responsible for a full-sized building project that spans multiple areas and floors, you should look into getting an interlinked fire alarm system.
Interlinked fire alarms are made up of individual units that talk to each other using radio frequencies so in the event of a fire incident, the information of the impending danger is shared over the network and people across the entire site are notified that there is an emergency, so the evacuation process can begin immediately.
2. Consider your power supply options
At a construction site, access to the main electricity network might be a challenge when it comes to remote areas and locations that are difficult to access. Ensuring the wiring required to power hard-wired fire alarms is in place could be particularly complex, especially when the construction site’s layout changes over time.
This is why your best bet when choosing a fire alarm system for a construction site is to look at self-contained fire detection devices. Those are wireless, battery-operated fire alarms that are not reliant on the main power grid to function. With battery life spanning over several years, you should be covered for the entire duration of your project.
Another danger you’d be avoiding is the susceptibility to power cuts. Battery-operated fire alarms will stay functional even if there is an issue with the whole electrical system offering maximum protection to your workers in emergency situations.
3. Think about variety
When you are planning to install a fire safety system on your construction site, leaving yourself with as many options as possible is always a good idea. For example, certain wireless fire alarms can be set up to only activate in specific areas, as needed based on the origin of the fire, so the evacuation is triggered in a staggered/orderly manner, as needed to avoid mass panic.
You could also install a separate first aid alarm system. It works differently from your usual fire alarm as a first-aid call doesn’t necessarily merit a full-site evacuation at all. Our advice would be to consider having a variable fire alarm system that features multiple alarm types to organise the most efficient evacuation procedure possible.
4. Be in control of your fire safety
Staying on top of your fire safety management strategy implementation is crucial to its success. By choosing a fire alarm that offers remote notification capabilities, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you will be automatically made aware if a fire incident occurs, giving you the opportunity to take immediate action.
Fire alarms can be set up not only to notify the fire emergency services automatically but to also send you alerts directly on your mobile device. This can be done using push notifications via an application or by SMS (text message), as well as email.
It’s the most secure way of ensuring that you have full visibility of the safety at your building site and that you can step in if needed as soon as an emergency occurs.
5. Future proof your ROI
Fire alarm systems can be a costly investment, so it’s important to consider the prices, both the units and the installation, as well as the future maintenance cost. However, when weighing your options, you should also think of how to make the most of your budget in the long run.
One of the main reasons why temporary wireless fire alarms are such a big hit in the construction industry is that they can be reused on multiple occasions. That’s right, once a building project is complete, these alarms can be dismantled and reassembled in a different configuration at the next construction site you manage.
This allows you to enjoy a continuous return on your investment and ensures that you have your optimal choice of a fire alarm system sorted before you have even begun your following construction venture.
6. Invest in functionality
The truth is that not all wireless alarm systems are created equal – the market is growing fast with innovation and new technologies constantly renovating the product offering. Therefore, to stay on top of fire safety, it’s always worth thinking about improved functionality and bigger capabilities.
A fire alarm system can include manual call points, base stations, smoke detectors and heat detectors but those are just the basics and there’s a lot out there that you can look for in a fire alarm. For example, modern wireless fire alarm systems also include things such as LED and strobe lights, for additional visual notification of danger that can help anyone who’s hearing impaired evacuate safely.
Cutting-edge systems, such as Synergy + by Evacuator Site Alarms, even feature an intelligent mesh system set-up that provides the additional security of a fail-safe protocol where the malfunction of a single unit will not prevent the rest of the units within the wireless system from communicating and operating as normal.
7. Find a wireless alarm with a wide enough reach
Wireless alarm networks have different ranges and specifications. To be certain that the option you choose is adequate for the requirements of your specific construction site, you should look at a number of factors, including:
- The power of the radio frequencies
- The sound level output for the alarm
- The number of units that can be integrated into the fire detection system
- The estimated battery life
- The detection range
If you are not certain what specs you need for your construction site, it’s always a good idea to get in touch with a fire alarms expert with knowledge of the industry to get advice while you are still in the planning stages.
Need an expert in fire alarms for construction?
Evaluator Site Alarms specialise in developing, manufacturing, installing and maintaining fire alarm products especially built with the needs of the construction industry in mind. We always look to find the most effective and cost-efficient solution for our clients, combining the simplicity of use with innovative features added all the time.
If you need advice on a fire alarm installation for an upcoming building project, contact our team today on 0330 135 5337 or email firstname.lastname@example.org