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Smoke Alarms & Smoke Detectors

Need help? Need help? Which smoke alarms are best for your workplace? Smoke alarms and detectors are crucial fire safety devices you need in your workplace. Here at Seton we have an extensive range including ionisation smoke alarms, optical smoke alarms as well as wireless fire devices which can connect to the whole fire alarm system. We also offer mains and battery powered smoke alarms to suit your needs.

If you need help with your choice take a look at our expert advice.

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Why Do You Need Smoke Alarms In Your Workplace?

Smoke detectors are a fire safety essential. Your business needs to be aware of the fire risks and take appropriate steps to alert employees in the event of a fire. Smoke is one of the first indicators of a fire, highlighting the importance of smoke detectors, as these warn people to evacuate the building. Don’t be caught without a working fire alarm system as it can be the difference between life and death.

What is the smoke alarm and detector legislation for workplaces?

Fire safety in England and Wales is covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. In Scotland, requirements on general fire safety are covered in Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, supported by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.

The legislation applies to:

  • Offices & Shops

  • Care Homes

  • Community Halls

  • Pubs, Clubs and Restaurants

  • Schools

  • Tents and Marquees

  • Hotels and Hostels

  • Factories, Warehouses and Construction Site

Ensure you are up to date with the latest fire legislation and regulations.

For a complete overview of fire alarm systems in the workplace we have created The Ultimate Fire Alarm Buyers Cheat Sheet. This guide details the creation and maintenance of fire alarm systems and how to carry out effective fire alarm inspections.

What Are The Different Types Of Smoke Alarms?

1) Ionisation Smoke Alarms

How do ionisation smoke detectors work?

An ionisation smoke alarm contains sensors that use a small harmless radioactive source to detect smoke particles from a fast burning fire. When the smoke enters the chambers within the device, it changes and disrupts the air flow which activates the alarm.

  • Reacts faster to flaming fires

  • Suits dustier areas

  • Better suited for rooms with combustible products like cleaning solutions and flammable liquids

  • Less effective for smouldering fires - they can be 10 minutes slower.

  • Can be prone to false alarms as they are extremely sensitive to smoke meaning they are more likely to be triggered from steam.

Our top ionisation smoke alarm is the Series 65 Ionisation Smoke Detectors

Where to use an ionisation smoke alarms?

Ionisation smoke alarms are best suited in environments such as:
  • Offices

  • Warehouses

  • B&Bs

  • Cafes and Restaurants

  • Retail areas

2) Optical Smoke Alarms

How do optical smoke detectors work?

Optical/photoelectric smoke detectors work by emitting a pulsing light through a lens which is outputted as a beam of light. This beam of light constantly passes in front a photoelectric sensor at an angle. If there are smoke particles present in large quantities in the air, the beam of light becomes scattered with some rays fall on the photoelectric sensor, which triggers the alarm in the smoke detector.

  • Responds significantly quicker to smouldering fires

  • Less false alarms

  • Best suited for commercial buildings

  • Not as sensitive to smoke

  • Sensitive to dust

Our top optical smoke detector is the Series 65 Optical Smoke Detector

Where to use an optical smoke alarms?

Optical smoke alarms are best suited in environments such as:

  • B&Bs and bedrooms in leased accommodation

  • Bars and hotels

  • Retail areas

  • Offices

3) Wireless Smoke Alarms

How do wireless smoke alarms work?

Wireless smoke detectors use radio signals which are transmitted to the rest of the fire alarm system if they activate and sense a fire. There are no wires involved making your system look a lot sleeker. These are ideal for complex sites with multiple buildings such as high schools or a block of offices.

  • Quick to install and can be fitted with minimum disruption to a business

  • Easily installed into buildings with limited access for example due to high ceilings

  • If the power goes out the whole system will still work

  • Can use on temporary sites

  • Can use to extend existing wired fire alarm systems

  • Initial cost is high

  • Batteries need to be checked regularly

Where to use a wireless system?

Wireless smoke alarm systems are best suited for:

  • Companies where aesthetics are important like high end retail shops

  • Historic or listed buildings

  • Buildings that are likely to be renovated often

  • Buildings that have difficult access including narrow stairways

Our top wireless smoke detectors is the Cavius Wireless Smoke Alarm. Also, check out our Cavius Wireless Heat Alarm and our Howler Wireless Fire Alarm.

Top 3 Smoke Detectors

1) Cavius Mains Powered Smoke Alarm

The Cavius Mains Powered Smoke Alarm provides an aesthetically pleasing look as it is only a compact 95mm in diameter. This alarm has wireless technology which enables it to connect to the main fire alarm system and other wireless fire devices. The device will take a reading of the environment every 8 seconds ensuring that your employees are warned quickly of a fire.

2) Battery Operated Smoke Alarm

The Battery Operated Smoke Alarm is one of our best selling fire devices. It uses a thermoptek optical smoke sensor meaning it can detect slow-smouldering fires. It includes a 10 year battery powered alarm and a smart silence function which means the device can be silenced if a false alarm has occurred. It is also certified to BS EN 14604:2005.

3) Cavius Smoke Alarm

The world's smallest photoelectric smoke alarm is perfect for workplaces where aesthetics are highly important. This Cavius Smoke Alarm has been 100% tested for sound and sensitivity quality to ensure that if a fire does break out the alarm will warn employees of the potential danger.

How To Maintain Smoke Alarms And Smoke Detectors?

Let’s talk about how to maintain smoke detectors. This is an essential part of your fire safety routine as a defective fire alarm system can reduce the likelihood of survival if a fire breaks out. The government recommends that you must carry out regular fire safety checks to make sure that the whole fire alarm system is working.

Our Smoke Alarm Maintenance Guide:

Every month...
The appointed fire safety officer for the premises should test the smoke alarm batteries by pressing and holding the test button until the device beeps. If, during your checks you discover that a battery has fully discharged, it should be replaced as soon as possible.

Every six months...
If your workplace does not have covers on smoke alarms, every six months you should ensure that no dust has accumulated on the device. Vacuum the dust off to keep the smoke alarms in optimal working condition for detecting a fire. Dust can cause false alarms and you need to ensure that internal sensors are not obstructed.

Every year the lead and alkaline batteries in your smoke alarms need to be replaced.

Every ten years...
Ensure that all smoke alarms are replaced every ten years as the efficiency can become compromised after this period of time. However, always check the lifespan of each device from the manufacturer's guidelines.