Remote monitoring of systems is commonplace in the electronic security industry. It is not widely utilised in the fire industry.
In 2018/2019, the fire and rescue service attended on average 30 non-domestic fires per day in England.
It is estimated that only 5% of fire alarm systems are externally monitored however over 60% of fires occur when premises are unmanned.
NFU Mutual have urged business owners to address this issue as their research shows 80% of businesses fail within 18 months of a major fire.
We want to address some of the biggest misconceptions around fire alarm monitoring and why businesses don’t prioritise it – despite the shocking statistics.
1. Monitoring is too expensive
We hear this quite often. Particularly for small businesses where the annual monitoring charge can sometimes equal or exceed that of their annual maintenance. Why would they effectively double their annual fire maintenance expenditure?
Often it is these smaller businesses that need it the most. Not only are they at risk when their premises is unmanned, but smaller business make up the majority of those that fail to recover following a fire.
The reality is that monitoring costs on average less than £6 per week – less than most small businesses spend on tea and coffee.
2. I need a dedicate phone line for monitoring
It used to be the case that monitoring required a telephone line for signalling to the alarm receiving centre (ARC). This in itself used to be costly and often involving another party to the process would be time consuming.
We work with CSL DualCom who use secure 4G connectivity. The GradeShift Pro system uses two active 4G WorldSIMs, one as the primary means of communication and one as a secondary path. Each SIM operates on an independent network from the other and provides total resilience.
This makes installation simple, faster and much more cost-effective.
3. Monitoring won’t make a difference if I have a fire
It is true that fire can spread devastatingly quickly. Monitoring stations are pretty quick to respond too – within 8 seconds of fire alarm activations on average. Having such early intervention greatly improves the chances of the fire and rescue service controlling the fire and can reduce the potential impact on your business.
4. Having monitoring will increase my fire alarm servicing costs
Often businesses will assume that with additional equipment, there will be an increased cost associated with their fire alarm maintenance. This isn’t the case. The annual monitoring charge takes care of all associated on-going costs. The added check during your maintenance is negligible in terms of additional time required.
5. I just don’t think I need monitoring
The important consideration here is simple: can my business survive a fire? The statistics show that most business don’t have a recovery site to operate from and therefore don’t survive. Even in a world where technology is driving most businesses in to the cloud and to embrace working from home, think about what is in your office that would be costly to replace. Insurance claims can take time that most businesses can’t withstand.
Does your business close over the weekend? Do you shutdown over Christmas or bank holidays? Is there someone present 24-7 to alert fire and rescue services in the event of a fire?
We are huge advocates for monitoring of fire systems. The financial cost of a fire vs the cost of investment in monitoring is huge. Having your site monitored at all times will increase your businesses resilience and ultimately provide peace-of-mind.
Protect Your Business
Firesec Compliance Limited have a range of monitoring options for your fire systems. We are specialists in fire protection and compliance services and work as your compliance partner to ensure compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is automated and cost effective.
Contact our support team to learn more about how monitoring can protect your business.