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How to choose a fire alarm system?


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Hi there, I'm thinking of opening a small restaurant in Bristol.  I was wondering what type of fire alarm system it would be best to place in the kitchen. I'm new to this, so sorry if it's a dumm question ?
Would be glad to hear some advices.

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From the British Standard for fire alarm systems:

Premises type:

Common places of work, such as offices, shops, factories, warehouses and restaurants

System category

M or P2/M A or P1/M


Category M system normally satisfies the requirements of legislation. It is, however, often combined with a Category P system to satisfy the requirements of insurers, as company policy for protection of assets, or to protect against business interruption


A Category M fire alarm system to BS5839-1 consists of 'break glass' manual call points and alarm sounders connected to a control & indicating panel. P2/M indicates selected areas are provided with smoke or heat detection, P1/M indicates all areas are so provided - in both cases the detection for property protection and not part of a legal requirement for life safety (although it does have benefit towards it). Systems with life safety detection are category L (1-5) and whilst not required in all cases depending on your layout may be needed rather than just category M. Your Fire Risk Assessment should determine this.

Conventional Fire Alarm Schematic 

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Guest Safe Approach

Hello Mr Grey, 

You'll need to get your business risk assessed and the requirement will come from that. As a kitchen is a high risk I doubt an 'M' (manual) system will be adequate. You'll need L categories (life-saving) probably L1 or at a push L2. 

Once you know what system you require the kitchen will definitely have a heat detector as smoke will cause too many false alarms.  

You'll also need to have fire extinguishers and blankets in place I would imagination.

Out source all this to a competent fire assessor for an easier 

Good luck with your new business, you'll smash it! 


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Not necessarily the above - remember I've quoted current standards. L1 & L2 are usually for where sleeping risk is present or the system is used as part of an engineered solution for departures from other aspects of fire safety guidance.

Your FRA, based on the actual layout and usage, should advise. Some detection would no doubt be of benefit, but you don't automatically have to blow your fit out budget on a top level system.

Most fires in occupied non sleeping buildings are detected by human senses before a smoke detector (& long before a heat detector) would activate, hence M being the minimum category.

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