06 June 2019
In the UK, around 80% of all fire deaths and injuries occur in domestic premises, totalling over 300 deaths and around 9,000 related injuries each year. Fire detection and fire alarm systems are proven to substantially reduce the risk of death or serious injury from fire. The fire fatality rate is an estimated two to three times higher when no smoke detector is present and functioning than in those premises with adequate installations.
BSI, the business improvement company, has recently published the revised BS 5839-6:2019 Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings - a code of practice for the design, commissioning, installation and maintenance of fire detection and fire alarm systems in domestic premises1. It provides the latest recommendations for fire detection and fire alarm systems in both new and existing domestic premises in order to make them safer to live in.
The main revisions include:
- Re-grading, and revision of statistics and recommendations
- Updating guidance to take all other standards in the BS 5839 series into account
- New table on testing and servicing by grade of alarm system
- New recommendations for ensuring alarm signal transmission required within social care and sheltered housing settings function accordingly
- Increased protection in sheltered housing and supported housing
- New recommendation that communal fire alarm systems should not normally be installed in purpose built blocks of flats
Ant Burd, Head of Built Environment at BSI, said: “Fires in the home are one of the biggest threats occupants can face and therefore fire detection and alarm systems are a crucial fire safety component in helping make sure people can get out of their home safely. BS 5839-6 provides detailed guidance on the design and specification of fire detection and alarm systems in domestic and residential properties.”
The standard is aimed at architects, engineers and other building professionals, enforcing authorities, installers and others responsible for implementing fire precautions in domestic premises. It is not intended for occupiers, for who government advice is published. However, the standard does provide recommendations for simple systems that may be installed by non-specialist installers.
Further information on BS 5839-6:2019 is available at: https://shop.bsigroup.com/ProductDetail?pid=000000000030370704
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Notes to Editor:
1Domestic premises include:
a) Designed to accommodate a single family
b) Houses in multiple occupation comprising a number of self-contained units, each designed to accommodate a single person or family
c) Sheltered housing, including both the dwelling units and the common areas
d) Supported housing
The recommendations apply to both new and existing domestic premises and recommendations for routine attention are also given.
Temporary fire alarm systems
All British Standards are subject to review on a regular basis and if any matters of concern are brought to the committee’s attention at any other time. This revision of BS 5839-6 commenced prior to the fire at Grenfell Towers and therefore, at this time, it does not provide any guidance regarding temporary fire alarm systems or contain any revisions in specific response to the fire. Once the official findings and recommendations from the Public Inquiry and the other reviews and investigations underway are published, the committee will advise on any formal requests and/or to determine future actions from a standardization perspective.