Fire alarm system categories explained and where they can be used?
Category M – Manual fire alarm system
Category M fire alarm systems are manual systems and, therefore, incorporate no automatic fire detectors.
The most rudimentary system available, manual fire alarm systems rely upon human intervention. They only work if someone spots a fire and triggers the alarm. They will usually be placed in multiple positions around a building. And are typically only used in very small workspaces, or as additional protection in larger buildings.
Category L – life protection fire alarm systems
As the name suggests, all Category L fire alarm systems have been devised to provide the best possible protection to human life. There are five different L series alarms.
- Category L1 – Fire alarm systems installed throughout all areas of the building.
The objective of a category L1 system is to offer the earliest possible warning of fire, so as to achieve the longest available time for escape.
- Category L2 – Fire alarm systems installed only in defined parts of the building.
A category L2 system ought to include the coverage necessary to satisfy the recommendations of this standard for a category L3 system; the objective of a category L2 system is identical to that of a category L3 system, with the additional objective of affording early warning of fire in specified areas of high fire hazard level and/or high fire risk.
- Category L3 – Fire alarm systems installed only in defined parts of the building.
A category L3 system is designed to give a warning of fire at an early enough stage to enable all occupants, other than possibly those in the room of fire origin, to escape safely, before the escape routes are impassable owing to the presence of fire, smoke or toxic gases. To achieve this objective it is normally necessary to install detectors in rooms that open onto an escape route.
- Category L4 – Fire alarm systems installed within escape routes compromising circulation areas such as corridors and stairways.
The objective of an L4 system is to enhance the safety of occupants by providing warnings of smoke within escape routes. An L4 system would be ideal for low-risk buildings such as when a business is on the ground floor, where everyone can exit quickly in the event of a fire.
- Category L5 – Localised life protection automated fire alarm system. Designed to satisfy fire safety objectives other than that of Category L1 through to L4)
Created for high-risk areas within a larger building, L5 systems will often be used in conjunction with other system types. So for example you may want to install an L5 system in the server room of your building where there is a greater risk of fire, and then install a different grade system or manual system for the rest of the building.
Category P – Property protection fire alarms
Category P Fire alarm systems are automatic fire detection and fire alarm systems intended for the protection of property. There are two fire alarm systems designed specifically to protect property for Category P as follows:
- Category P1 – Fire alarm systems installed throughout all areas of the building.
The objectiove of a category P1 system is to offer the earliest possible warning of fire so as to minimise the time between ignition and the arrival of firefighters. This provides maximum property protection and is the best system for minimising property damage in the unfortunate event of a fire breaking out.
- Category P2 – Fire alarm systems installed only in defined parts of the building.
The objective of a Category P2 system is to provide early warning of fire in high fire hazard levels, or areas in which the risk to property or business continuity from fire is high. The defined parts of the building might be as few as one room, or as extensive as, for example, a complete floor of a building. A Category P2 system isn’t as comprehensive as a P1, and won’t cover your business if a fire broke out in a non-defined part of your property.