Evolution of Site Fire Alarms Over A Decade

The timeline above shows the advancement of fire alarms over a span of 10 years, which reveals the importance of an effective temporary fire alarm system on construction sites to ensure the safety of workers and property.

Today there are still some construction sites that have just the rotary bell as their means of raising an alarm. As a fire safety specialist, Bull Products would strongly advise these are changed for a Radio-Link alarm system. In 2008 the air horn was introduced as a budget option for short term sites such as refurbs as it meant the operator could be sounding the horn whilst escaping whereas the rotary bell has a fixed position hence the nickname ‘turn and burn’.

Battery operated alarms were introduced in 2009 starting with the stand-alone alarm, followed by the multilink in 2010 which was wired up to multiple alarms around site. In 2011 came the first of the Radio-Link alarms, a simple but effective product that did what it was supposed to do (wirelessly link to all alarms around site, when one alarm is triggered the whole system triggers also), however this was not so successful on large and complex building sites.

In 2012 Bull Products designed and created the Zone Leader and Follower alarm system which included a panel and alarms that were configured into separate zones. This was a better solution to many issues that construction companies faced but then, voila… Cygnus!

The Cygnus system came to the market in 2014 and was designed and developed in conjunction with major construction companies to incorporate all features required for larger construction projects needing temporary fire alarm systems. The initial range included a Fire Alarm Call Point, Fire and First Aid Combined Alarm, Smoke Detector, Heat Detector, Detector Interface, Call Point Alarm with 85dB Sounder and a Control Panel.

In 2015 a new ‘Fire-Bull’ alarm was designed and created as budget option for smaller construction sites, available as a standalone or a radio-link alarm which can link up to maximum of 12 units.

Since its launch in 2014 The Cygnus Wireless Alarm System has evolved considerably, with various updates including PIRs, interface units and even bespoke solutions for specific requirements. 2016 saw the launch of the CygnusHF Range that enables the Cygnus System to connect and communicate to the wireless alarm systems that are installed in TAUs on construction sites; read more on the development of the Cygnus System here.

To keep fully up to date please find latest fire alarm requirements for construction sites below:-

JCOP Edition 9 : 2015 requires that;

13.8 Temporary buildings or temporary accommodation located:
(a) inside the building under construction / refurbishment
(b) inside another permanent building; or
(c) within 10m of such building(s).
must be fitted with fire detection systems complying with a recognised Category of installation as set out in BS 5839-1: Fire Detection and alarm systems for buildings: Code of Practice for system design, installation, commissioning and maintenance (ref 23). In the case of high fire risk sites, the fore detection system must be linked to the fire alarm system in the building on which work is being undertaken and to an alarm receiving centre, unless there is a 24-hour site security presence on site. Components of automatic fire protection systems should be marked as complying with EN 54 (ref 37).

22.8 Electrically operated fire alarm systems must be provided throughout the height of the building, comprising break-glass (or similar) call-points and sounders on all levels, plus a link to a permanently occupied security office (or similar) from where the fire and rescue service can be summoned, firefighting system activated and other appropriate actions instigated. Hard-wired systems or radio-operated wireless systems of proven reliability, performance, and coverage are also acceptable. All components or all parts of the system must have battery back-up to ensure continuity of operation in the event of a loss of power supplies.