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Fire Alarm Systems: mains powered smoke alarms and heat detectors
An overview of Automatic Fire Detection Systems

AFD systems are designed to provide a permanent, dependable means of detecting fire at the earliest possible opportunity whilst warning all occupiers of the property. The audible warning is triggered throughout the property by any of the heat or smoke detectors within the system.
All components are interconnected and mains powered, with a battery backup in case of power failure.

Once you complete a Fire Risk Assessment, the Fire Officer will tell you how many components are needed and where they should be located. The number required and their location will be based on the level of risk determined. Risk is identified based on property-specific criteria, including the number of tenants, the type of occupancy (family vs. sharers), the layout of the property & more.

The reason AFD systems have been introduced followed a number of case studies which indicated that older systems were inadequate. For example, smoke alarms and heat alarms which were not interlinked meant that by the time tenants were woken by alarms outside their rooms, the fire had already spread to the point where evacuation was very difficult. More obviously, without regular checks battery operated fire alarms can easy be disabled by tenants or simply run out of battery.

It is very important to ensure you have your fire alarm system installed by a person competent to install equipment to the appropriate BS standard. Usually competent trades people will be 3rd party accredited by BAFE, FIRAS or similar bodies, so do look out for these accreditations.

An accredited company will provide you with an installation certificate to the appropriate BS standard (BS5839-6 /2019 ), and a certificate for any tests they do on your system. If you already have an AFD system installed it is a good idea to ensure this has had its annual check before you apply for a property licence as otherwise it is likely that your local authority will ask for this before granting you a licence. st

This can vary hugely depending on how many components are required in your property, and where they need to be fitted. The most accurate way of determining the cost would be to complete a Fire Risk Assessment or ask an Accredited Fire Company to assess your property.

Typically it can cost between £200-£300 per component required, with decorating costs on top of this. In some situations it’s possible to power the detectors from a nearby lighting circuit which can cut decoration costs dramatically if thought through, so it’s worth asking if this would be possible in your property.


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