When Kim and Terry of the Ramblers Guesthouse in Trusthorpe on the Lincolnshire East Coast contacted us, they had just received a request by a County Council Fire Protection Officer to upgrade their existing alarm system to standard BS5839 pt 1 2002. This would have meant that they would have had to install a central fire control panel and interlinked fire and heat detectors. The installation of this system would have made it necessary to lay cables throughout the two storey building with its 6 guest rooms during the main holiday season! The thought of all the upheaval and possible loss of revenue coupled with the cost of this system led the owners to seek our help.
Safelincs looked at the option of using a wireless system to BS5839 part 1 but the cost for this was still similar to a wired system with central alarm panel. The MD of Safelincs then rung the fire safety officer in question who, after initial hesitation and after some internal discussions, agreed that the guest house, having only two floors and a relatively small number of bedrooms could be downgraded to a domestic fire alarm system falling in category BS5839 part 6 grade D. It was agreed that the Ei radio-interlinked system with guaranteed 10 year lithium batteries was equivalent to a Grade D system. This system contains radio-interlinked manual break points as well as smoke and heat detectors. The installation was soon after carried out by Safelincs in the space of two hours without any electrical tools being required, as the alarms and break points were all installed with adhesive tape. Apart from the obvious substantial cost savings, the system has numerous other advantages. The maintenance of the system can be carried out by the guest house owners by simply pressing one of the test buttons (of course a different one each time the system is tested) and each smoke detector has an integrated sounder, which improves general sound levels significantly.
This case shows that fire risk assessments allow room for discussions and as long as the safety of the people within a building is not compromised, the fire services and the councils’ fire protection officers are happy to discuss the best and most appropriate solution.