Everything You Need to Know About: Interlinked Fire Alarms

If you are responsible for the fire safety of a commercial or residential building or a large construction site, you will need to implement and maintain a high level of fire safety practices in line with the BS 5839 requirements. Interlinked fire alarm systems that include connected fire alarms and interlinked smoke detectors offer an effective and reliable fire prevention solution. Let’s find out how it all works!

What is an interlinked smoke and fire alarm system?

When your individual fire alarm units are interconnected, when one smoke alarm detects a fire, it triggers all alarms in the building to sounds off at the same time. Both hardwired and wireless fire alarms can be interlinked into one connected fire alarm system.

Although this could be done using cables to physically connect the units, it’s a time consuming and costly process, so the most practical option is to use wireless radio signals to communicate between the individual units creating a complete wireless fire alarm system. 

Radio-interlinked smoke detectors and fire alarms can be either battery-operated or mains-powered. Some connected fire alarm systems use a mix of both to create a hybrid solution. This often happens in sites with existing hardwired alarms installed but are looking to upgrade their existing fire detection system with additional wireless units. 

Do smoke alarms need to be interlinked according to the law?

Under the building regulations in the UK, interlinked fire alarms are not a legal requirement for all buildings. Whether you are required by law to have a connected fire alarm system depends on the type of premises and the level of risk determined by your fire risk assessment. 

Radio-interlinked systems are typically required to be installed in new builds as well as buildings that have been significantly remodelled and some building extensions. 

That being said, British Standard BS 5839-6: 2019 recommends that high-grade connected alarm systems with backup power and a central control panel are installed in commercial buildings and higher-fire-risk areas, such as construction sites. Conforming with the BS 5839 guidelines ensures that you have fulfilled your duty as an employer and helps you achieve regulatory compliance. 

Are interconnected smoke and fire alarms better?

A connected wireless fire alarms system provides superior fire detection than any standalone fire alarm can. The detection range of any individual smoke detector and the audibility of any fire alarm is limited to a certain area. Having all units talk to each other via one central fire alarm panel allows for people in all areas of the building to be instantly notified of the fire. 

Once the fire alarm is sounded across the premises, the evacuation process can begin simultaneously in all areas of a large building, ensuring that everyone gets out of the building as quickly as possible. In addition to that, modern intelligent wireless alarm systems can be programmed to help the evacuation procedure further, for example by automatically activating turnstiles to allow free passage avoiding crowding and injuries at the exits. 

Another benefit of having a wireless interlinking system is that it has a relatively low installation. Science no wiring is required, you can save money and time on labour and costly projects that involve breaking walls.  The overall price of the installation will depend on the size of your premises and the number of devices required. However, radio-frequency interlinked systems usually tend to have lower running costs too, so it is all worth it in the long run. 

Want to know more about fire safety around smoke alarms? Head over to our latest article on how to change a battery for a smoke detector. 

Connected wireless fire alarms for construction sites  

Construction sites have their unique set of fire safety requirements and interlinked smoke and fire alarm systems offer the perfect solution for those. 

The powerful Synergy range of wireless interlinked fire alarm systems is one of the market-leading products on the market offering British quality and state-of-the-art functionality including: 

  • Connection with up to 40 interlinked fire alarms 
  • Smart alerts to up to 5 responsible people
  • Improved battery life
  • Tested to RED directive
  • Category 1 Radio Receiver
  • Easy off-site reset functionality 
  • Manufactured in the UK 

Easy to install and highly adaptable, temporary battery-powered fire alarms can be placed in difficult-to-access locations across the site. They can also be moved around as the project evolves, or even reused in different construction projects later on – one of the main reasons to implement temporary fire alarms at construction sites

To get advice on whether an interlinked fire alarm system is the right choice for your premises and to find out how to maximise its benefits, you should always consult with a wireless alarm specialist