Fire Alarm Systems For Factories

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Fire Alarm Systems For Factories

All workplaces must take special care when it comes to fire safety. Some may be at a higher risk than others, such as factories and manufacturing plants, and must adopt the necessary preventative measures.

According to the most recent fire statistics, there were around 1,749 fires in industrial premises in the UK in the years 2020/21.

Industrial fires can be especially devastating and can not only cause financial losses but also put the lives of factory workers and employees in danger.

Read on to find out what causes fires in factories, what can be done to mitigate the risk, why fire alarm systems are so important and much more:


Every residential, commercial, and industrial property contains a fire risk, but some environments are more susceptible to fires based on their operations.

Factories used for assembly and manufacturing have a wide range of operations going on and there is more scope for a fire to break out.

Here are some of the most common causes of factory fires:

Heavy machinery

Heavy machinery used in factories can be susceptible to faults which, if not fixed at the right time, can turn into a safety risk.

For instance, issues such as oil spillages and sparks, which are usually a by-product of such equipment, can quickly turn into a hazard if not cleaned up and fixed immediately.


This issue is more prominent in areas that store flammable items such as clothing, paper, furniture, chemicals, and other similar items.

The main culprit is the way that the stock is kept, mostly in large areas with no divided sections, where even a small spark can turn into a full-fledged fire within minutes.

Electrical faults

Factories and manufacturing plants are constantly in use and need huge amounts of power to run. While electricity makes it possible for factories to operate smoothly, putting strain on the electrical systems may cause them to overload and start electrical fires.

Electrical fires are a common issue faced by all kinds of properties, especially ones that are heavily dependent on electricity such as factories.

Kitchens/break rooms

Kitchens and break rooms are present in all workplaces, including factories, and contain appliances like stoves, toasters, microwaves, and ovens.

If the staff isn’t responsible in using them and leave the appliances on overnight, it increases the chances of a fire erupting.

Poor fire training

If the workers and employees are not trained to follow the required fire safety practices and do not know how to deal with a fire, it can turn into a serious issue followed by grave consequences.

This can be due to the staff not knowing what causes fires and improper training in the use of heavy machinery, equipment, and electrical installations in the factory.


Fire safety is an important part of making sure the working environment is safe for all those present on the premises. If not caught and stopped at the right time, even the smallest fire could wreak havoc on a property.

When it comes to factories and other manufacturing plants, there is not only a high risk to human lives but also the business’s main assets.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) provide a minimum standard for fire safety in factories and other industrial and commercial properties.

Following are a few fire safety tips that all factory owners must follow:

Fire risk assessments

Fire risk assessments must be carried out regularly, or after any major changes to the property, as they provide an overview of the risks, the people affected, and how best to reduce said risks.

Electrical testing and inspections

All electrical systems and installations, including all portable electrical equipment, must undergo regular testing and inspections to make sure they are in good condition and are suitable to use. They also help identify potential issues so that you can resolve them before they cause any serious damage.

Regular maintenance of equipment

As discussed earlier, heavy machinery and equipment are two of the most common causes of factory fires. You can minimise the risk by conducting regular maintenance of all equipment to identify any faults and issues.

Appointment of a “responsible person”

Every workplace must appoint a responsible person, also known as a Fire Safety Officer, who is either an individual or a group of people responsible for fire safety on the premises. A key part of their responsibility includes appointing and training fire wardens to help them successfully execute the factory’s fire safety strategy.

Training employees and workers

Employees are the backbone of a workplace and the same can be said for factories. It is very important to train the workers and employees of a factory on how to implement the best fire safety practices to minimise risk to themselves, the people around them, and the business.

Evacuation plan and fire drills

Along with training all those on the premises, a good fire safety plan must have a proper evacuation plan that details the steps to take in case of a fire, and regular fire drills so that everyone knows what to do.

Fire signage

These are photoluminescent signs that help highlight dangers and provide instructions and directions regarding fire safety. These can also be safety tips and reminders for the workers to follow when working in a factory.

Fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are an integral part of any fire safety plan as they help put out small fires before they get a chance to spread. It is always a good idea to train your staff so that they are comfortable using them when tackling small fires. You may also use fire sprinklers.

Fire alarm systems

Fire alarms are an effective way of alerting people to a fire so that they can safely evacuate in time and the fire can be put out. There are several different types of fire alarms used in factories, which we will discuss in detail.

Emergency lighting

Emergency lighting is basically lighting that kicks in during an emergency, such as a fire, when the building is compromised. It helps illuminate safe exit routes, making evacuation much smoother and safer.


There are several different types of fire alarms used in factories, all of which operate on the same basic principle. A detector detects smoke or heat, or someone operates a manual break point, which triggers the system to sound an alarm and warn others on the premises of the potential danger.

The system may also incorporate professional monitoring and remote signalling which would alert the Fire and Rescue services in the event of a fire.

Fire alarm systems can be categorised into three main types:

Conventional fire alarm systems

Conventional fire alarm systems have several call points and detectors that are hardwired into the control panel in zones.

Zones are basically there to give a rough idea as to where the fire has occurred and are important for the fire brigade and building management.

The accuracy of the location depends on the number of zones a control panel has and the number of circuits that have been wired within the system.

Addressable fire alarm systems

Addressable fire alarm systems are similar to conventional systems except that the control panel can tell the exact location of the detector or call point that initiated the alarm.

These are incredibly useful in multi-storey properties and those built over a large area such as factories as they help minimise response time and help locate the risk in the least possible time.

Wireless fire alarm systems

Wireless fire alarm systems are a wireless alternative to traditional wired fire alarm systems and can be used for a variety of applications, including factories.

They use secure radio communication to connect the sensors and devices with the control panel and provide all the great benefits without the need for unnecessary cables.


Other than the above-mentioned types, fire alarms can also be categorised based on the type of protection they provide; i.e., life or property.

The two categories of fire alarm systems include:

Life protection (Category L)

Category L systems are fire detection systems that aim to protect the lives of people on the premises and are divided into five levels, levels L1 to L5, with each offering a different level of protection.

Category L1 fire alarm systems provide the highest level of protection and the earliest possible warning since they recommend installing both manual call points as well as automatic fire detection systems throughout the premises.

Property protection

Category P systems are fire alarm systems focused on property protection and they provide the earliest warning of a fire in order to reduce the time it takes to extinguish the fire and minimise loss of property.

They can be divided into two categories: category P1 and P2. A category P1 system requires the detectors and alarms to be placed in all areas of the building and is designed to protect the entire premises.

A category P2 system, on the other hand, provides fire detection in certain parts of the building that are more high risk and where the contents are particularly valuable.


Detectors and sensors are a core component of automatic fire alarm systems as they pick up on changes in the environment and sound an alarm at the earliest possible sign of a fire.

A fire can be detected in various ways. Some of the most commonly installed fire alarm detectors in factories include:

Heat detectors

Heat detectors work either on a fixed temperature basis or on the rate of change of the temperature. They contain a heat-sensitive eutectic alloy that changes from solid to liquid at a certain temperature and triggers the alarm.

Smoke detectors

Smoke detectors can be either ionising, light-scattering, or light-obscuring. Ionisation smoke detectors contain two chambers, and when smoke enters the second chamber, the flow of current in the first chamber decreases signifying the presence of a fire.

Light-scattering smoke detectors are triggered by the smoke scattering the light inside, confirming the presence of fire.

In light-obscuring smoke detectors, the presence of smoke interferes with the light beam between the light source and photocell and the variation in the photocell output triggers the alarm.

Carbon monoxide detectors

CO detectors contain an electrochemical cell that detects carbon monoxide levels in the air, which is a poisonous gas produced as a result of combustion.

Multi-point detectors

Multi-point detectors are made up of various sensors, the input from which is combined and processed using an advanced algorithm.

These systems are designed to be sensitive to a wide range of triggers and are activated based on the combined responses from multiple sensors.


A well-designed fire alarm system will provide the earliest possible warning in case of a fire and help save both lives and property.

As a factory owner, it would also give you peace of mind knowing that your employees and workers are safe and all your assets are protected as well.

There are a few important factors you need to consider when choosing the best fire alarm system for your factory:

  • The nature and severity of the risk – The first step is to understand the level of risk your property and its occupants face as it will help you choose the best fire alarm system for your needs. The best way to do so is to conduct a comprehensive fire risk assessment that will help you come up with a tailored solution.
  • Property protection, life protection, or both – as discussed earlier, fire alarm systems are focused on protecting either life or property. Since a factory has both people and property to protect, you will need to take measures to protect both and install the right fire alarm systems.
  • The size of your factory – the size of the factory will determine the complexity of the system and whether a conventional or addressable fire alarm system would be best suited.
  • Professional monitoring – except for a few businesses, there will come a point during the day or night when your property will be uninhabited. For such times, it is best to invest in round-the-clock fire alarm monitoring services that ensure that the fire brigade is deployed as quickly as possible.


Our experts have been working in the industry for over 40 years and can provide you with a comprehensive solution for your factory’s fire safety needs which includes:

Fire alarm installation services

The proper installation of a fire alarm system is just as important as the quality of the system itself and is a complex task requiring expertise in the field.

We can survey your property and determine the best kind of system suitable for your needs and one that complies with the current standards and regulations.

We can then plan and install your system to high standards using only the best quality equipment from our trusted suppliers.

We also offer after-sales care and an ongoing maintenance package after the installation to ensure your fire alarm works in optimal condition providing you with a system you can depend and rely on.

Fire alarm servicing

Commercial fire alarms must follow strict regulations and guidelines to keep them in good working order and the best way to stay compliant is to have them serviced regularly.

We have a vast understanding of the regulations in force and can provide you with a high level of service to keep your system healthy and working all the time.

According to the law, a fire alarm system must be maintained properly and depending on certain factors, it can be up to three times per year.

Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 to speak with our representatives right away!

Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash