Is it compulsory to have interlinked fire alarms?

An interlinked fire alarm system enables comprehensive protection throughout a building. It provides an effective early warning of fires and smoke, allowing for a swift response. There is some confusion about when an interlinked fire alarm system is appropriate and when it may be legally required. What is are interlinked fire alarms and when are they a legal requirement in the UK?

What is an interlinked fire alarm system?

An interlinked fire alarm system is an interconnected network of fire alarms that work together to create a unified safety system. This means that when one alarm detects smoke or fire it will trigger all of the alarms in the network to sound simultaneously. With an interlinked fire alarm system an alert is sounded throughout a building alerting occupants to the danger and ensuring a speedy response. When fire breaks out in one part of the property, everyone in the building is quickly made aware of the problem, making a timely evacuation and emergency response more likely.

What are the benefits of an interlinked fire alarm system?

An interlinked fire alarm system provides an added layer of safety and reduces the risk of an alarm not being heard across the building. If a fire starts in a remote or less frequently visited part of the property, the alarm will be sounded throughout the building enabling occupants to react quickly.

This comprehensive coverage is particularly important in large or multi-storey buildings that will often have areas that may be out of earshot of a single alarm. Interlinked systems address this problem, ensuring that everyone in the building is aware of a developing safety issue as quickly as possible.

Is an interlinked fire alarm system compulsory in the UK?

The regulations surrounding interlinked fire alarm systems vary in different parts of the UK. In Scotland, the law was changed to make interlinked fire alarm systems compulsory in 2019, with the law coming into effect in 2022.

In England and Wales, there is no current legal requirement for an interlinked fire alarm system in buildings, but they are advised in larger properties. The regulations that govern fire safety in buildings in England and Wales are outlined in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which places a responsibility on the building owner, manager or employer, known as the “responsible person” to ensure the safety of occupants and visitors.

In practice, this means that ensuring safety in larger buildings, public premises and houses with multiple occupation (HMOs) may require an interlinked fire alarm system.  If a single alarm cannot be heard clearly right across a building, then an interlinked fire alarm system will need to be installed to ensure proper safety measures are being taken.

Do I need an interlinked fire alarm system on my property?

If you have any doubts about whether your building needs an interlinked fire alarm, then it’s important to seek professional advice.

At Protive, we can assess your property and its safety requirements. Our expert engineers will guide you from the initial plans and architectural drawings, through to the installation and setup of your system.

Contact our experienced team to receive an accurate quote or to find out more about the safety advantages of an interlinked fire alarms