British Standard have provided a classification code system which allows for fire detection and alarm systems to be designed according to purpose and extent of protection required.
Category M (Manual)
This is the simplest form of fire protection coverage using break glass call points and sounders only. There is no automatic fire detection device and in the event of a fire the alarm has to be manually operated at a call point.
Category L (Life Protection)
Protection of life i.e. safety of occupants is catered for in this classification; detection of fire; initiation of alarm and time for occupants to escape. There are 4 levels of coverage in this category:
Category L3/L4 – Smoke detectors or a mixture of smoke and combustion gas detectors, should be provided in the following: All escape stairways, all corridoors and any other areas that form part of the common escape routes.
Category L3 – Provides for smoke detector coverage in all escape routes so enough advance warning is given to allow people adequate time to evacuate before escape routes become blocked by fire or smoke.
Category L2 – As per L3 system, but in addition, automatic fire detectors should be installed in rooms in which the fire risk is high enough to warrent individual protection.
Category L1 – Total coverage to protect the lives of all the occupants in the building, including those in the room where a fire might start.
Category P (Property)
Protection of property and its content. This classification allows for automatic detection of fire, initiates alarm and indicates location of fire within the premises. There are 2 levels of coverage in this category.
Category P2 – Partial coverage to high risk areas only may be sufficient. This would be determined in consultation with occupants, fire officers and insurers.
Category P1 – Total coverage. All areas being protected by smoke and heat detectors.
With Category P (Property Protection) it naturally follows that in the event of a fire, the fire brigade will be notified. This is achieved by a form of remote signaling to our alarm receiving centre (ARC) who will notify the fire brigade in the event of a fire. The signaling is passed to our monitoring centre by means of the RedCare transmission system.
PLEASE NOTE: The above is a rough outline only. It is recommended that BS5839:Pt1:2002 is studied in detail before undertaking any system design.