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Third Party Certification - BAFE SP203 - Why should you use a third party certified company?

Your duties as the ‘responsible person’ for fire safety are explained in this short video,4KNKC,J7K5OP,GZ1T6,1

  09 Nov, 2016

FIDA Systems - Employment Opportunity (Posted 9th November 2016)

Job Description:

To service, install & commission fire, CCTV, access control and associated systems in line with the current regulations. Liaising with relevant departments to ensure best practice. To complete and return all company documentation and certification to comply with the companys procedures. To work as a team with colleagues to enhance the companys reputation in quality and customer service.

Application Process:

Please forward a copy of up to date CV and covering letter to;
Human Resources Department
FIDA Systems Ltd
33 Bellingham Drive
North Tyne Industrial Estate
Newcastle upon Tyne NE12 9SZ

Please include details of current salary and benefits. For an informal discussion on the post please call Marcus Given on 0191 4661999.

  09 Nov, 2016

TWFRS - Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service

Over the last five years there were 13,214 false alarms from Automatic Fire Alarm (AFA) systems in non-residential properties attended by firefighters across Tyne and Wear.

False alarms cause disruption, with many premises having to be evacuated; they also impact on productivity and can result in lost sales for businesses.

A HM Government study in 2004 claimed the effect on the commercial sector alone cost in excess of 1 billion each year. This took into account, lost time, productivity and business disruption caused by false alarms.

Importantly, Firefighters who attend false alarms are not available to attend life threatening incidents, undertake critical training or work in the community to prevent fires from happening in the first place.

False alarms waste the organisations time, firefighters time and could cost lives.

Following a review, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) is changing the way it responds to some AFAs.

From 1 June 2015, TWFRS will no longer automatically respond to investigate AFA calls to non-residential premises between the hours of 08:00 and 18:00.

(1) A back up call is received via the 999 system reporting a fire or physical signs (such as a smell of burning);
(2) You have been granted an exemption by TWFRS.

This change in response does not apply to the following property types:

(A) All single private domestic dwellings, sheltered accommodation schemes and other residential premises (e.g. hostels, hotels and care homes);
(B) Hospitals;
(C) Universities, colleges and schools including pre-school and nurseries;
(D) Registered COMAH sites;
(E) Premises who have successfully applied to TWFRS for exemption (visit for further information).

Between 18:00 hours and 08:00 hours AFA calls to non-residential properties will continue to receive an emergency response.

Fire and Rescue Services do not have a statutory responsibility to respond to calls originating from an AFA system to investigate if there is a fire. TWFRS will always attend any premises that confirm there is a fire (or signs of a fire) in their building through the 999 system.

May I also take this opportunity to remind you of your responsibilities under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The responsible person must ensure any fire safety facility, equipment and devices in your premises are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.

You should now consider the changes mentioned above and update your premises Fire Risk Assessment and Evacuation Plan, and ensure this reflects the appropriate method of summoning the Fire and Rescue Service in the event of a fire emergency via the 999 system, and this is communicated to all staff employed or otherwise at your premises.

Further advice and guidance on the following areas can be found by visiting the website

(1) Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005;
(2) Advice on reducing False Alarms;
(3) Exemption criteria application process.

  22 Jul, 2015

EN54-23 Standard for Visual Alarm Devices

The EN54-23 Standard for Visual Alarm Devices (VADs) becomes mandatory at the end of December 2013.  Visual Alarm Devices in the form of beacons or combined sounders and beacons have been a key component of fire alarm systems.  They provide a visual display in the event of a fire that warns people who may not be able to traditionally hear the fire alarm being sounded. 

EN 54-23:2010 (Fire detection and fire alarm systems. Part 23: Fire alarm devices - Visual alarm devices), has been introduced to standardise the requirements, test methods and performance of Visual Alarm Devices and ensure light output is measured in a uniform manner. This standard will be mandatory throughout Europe from 31st December 2013. Visual Alarm Devices are designed to protect the deaf or hard of hearing, and those working in areas which are often very noisy, such as factories or workshops.  EN54-23 was originally introduced in June 2010 in order to set stricter guidelines on the installation and performance requirements of Visual Alarm Devices. March 31st2013 saw the introduction of a revised BS5839-1 code of practice for the design, installation, commissioning & maintenance of FD&A systems in non-domestic premises (& BS5839-8 for voice alarm systems).

Up until 2010 there had been no harmonised uniform European standards or specification.  There were issues with light output performance criteria and installation requirements which resulted in unnecessary confusion, inconsistency and unnecessary danger.

On 31st December 2013 all Visual Alarm Devices, covered by the scope of EN54-23 must conform to the new European specification standard.  The Fire Industry Association (FIA) recommends that where a conflict exists in assessing an installation to the 2013 editions of BS5839-1 & 8 with respect to the VADs used, the requirements stated in the codes of practice be deferred until the end of the coexistence period of E54-23 which is 31st December 2013. A variation in accordance with clause 7 of these codes of practice should be noted on the certification.

Visual Alarm Devices are likely to be applied different in buildings.  Compliant products are only permitted to emit a red or white light and are classified into three distinct categories based on their intended application – ceiling mounted devices, wall mounted devices and an open class category. The specified light output is 0.4 lumens per m2 or 0.4 Lux and manufacturers will have to ensure their VADs are tested and assessed by an EU notified body to determine coverage volume, based on the distance at which the required illumination is met.

One area highlighted as being of imminent need would be in hotel bedrooms and toilets where the obvious benefits of a Visual Alarm Device become immediately obvious for those with hearing difficulties.

Coverage Volume

The need for Visual Alarm Devices should be recognised as part of the fire risk assessment. As with any fire alarm system, there are numerous challenges that must be considered in the design and installation of VADs.

Visual Alarm Devices must illuminate the entire volume of open space where the alarm is visible.  The Visual Alarm Device must illuminate the space to such an extent that an individual located anywhere in the area, facing any direction would be alerted instantly in the event of a fire.

The performance of VADs is assessed against a minimum required illumination of 0.4 lux on surfaces perpendicular to the direction of the light emitted from the device.

As previously mentioned under the EN54-23 standard, Visual Alarm Devices will be classified into three categories based on their application:

W - Wall-mounted
C - Ceiling-mounted
O - Open Category

Wall and Ceiling mounting categories are specified at specific installation heights and particular patterns of coverage - see below.

In wall mounted and ceiling mounted applications of visual alarm devices, EN54:23 indicates the shape of the volume covered is fixed by the standard. The dimensions of this coverage volume are specified by the manufacturer. For all categories, the volume covered can be used to determine Visual Alarm Device spacing within the building.

Open category allows manufacturers to specify the coverage shape and volume and does not put any restriction on mounting height.

W Category (Wall-Mounted Visual Alarm Device)
Coverage Volume

Wall-mounted Visual Alarm Devices (VADS) cover a cuboid volume with a square floor area. The coverage volume is presented as a code in the form of W - X - Y, where W = Wall-mounted category, X is the maximum mounting height (m) and Y is the width and length (m) of the coverage floor area - see diagram. The minimum mounting height allowable by the standard is 2.4 m.

C Category (Ceiling Mounted Visual Alarm Device)
Coverage Volume

Ceiling mounted Visual Alarm Devices VADs cover a cylindrical area. The coverage volume is presented as a code in the form C - X - Y, where C = Ceiling mounted category, X is the maximum mounting height (m) and Y is the diameter (m) of the coverage volume’s floor area - see diagram. The maximum mounting height can only be specified as 3, 6 or 9 m.

Designing with EN 54-23 VADs

When designing systems with Visual Alarm Devices (VADs), a number of factors should be considered:
Ambient light level whether VADs are wall or ceiling mounted
Location of Visual Alarm Device (Wall mounted / Ceiling Mounted)
Visibility to occupants and whether the Visual Alarm Device (VAD) relies on an individual looking at the beacon or whether they need to rely on the light being reflected.

  07 Jan, 2014

New Standard - BS5839-1:2013 (Supersedes BS 5839-1:2002+A2:2008)

This summary identifies key points and main changes in the new BS and is similar to the list given in the Foreword of the new BS.

1) The title of the document has been amended to reflect that Part 1 of BS 5839 does not address the provision of fire detection and alarm systems in domestic premises. These are covered by BS 5839-6.

2) The term “Responsible Person” has been replaced with “Premises Management” (see sub clause 3.45) to avoid confusion with the meaning of “Responsible Person” as used in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

3) The term “care home” has been replaced with “Residential Care Premises”.

4) The term “fire service” has been replaced with “Fire and Rescue Service”.

5) Clause 4 identifies the need to give staff clear and unambiguous information regarding the location of the fire where people cannot be easily evacuated immediately (e.g. residential care premises and hospitals).

6) Sub clause 4.2 c) has been added to recommend that:
“Where occupants of a building are going to need assistance from staff to evacuate the building (e.g. in residential care premises and hospitals), the fire detection and fire alarm system should be addressable if the building has facilities for more than ten people to sleep.”

7) A definition of a “zone plan” has been included in sub clause 3.66.

8) The findings of a Fatal Accident Inquiry following a fire with multiple fatalities determined that some or all of the deaths could have been avoided if a suitable zone plan had been provided adjacent to the control & indicating equipment (CIE). In view of this, sub clause 6.1 advises that the responsibility for the provision of a zone plan should be “defined at an early stage in the planning of an installation”.
The clause 23 commentary further amplifies the importance of zone plans stating that:
“Accordingly, it is important to ensure that a suitable zone plan is provided adjacent to all CIE (including any repeat control and/or indicating equipment), unless the CIE incorporates a suitable display (e.g. an illuminated mimic diagram).”
We advise that where an approved company has taken responsibility for the design, installation and commissioning of the system then provision of the zone plan would normally be their responsibility.
Where an approved company only has responsibility for certain elements of the system (e.g. design and commission) then the system specification should clearly identify if the company has the responsibility for providing a suitable zone plan.
Further guidance on the provision of zone plans is given in sub clauses 42.2 b)5), 46.2 b)10) and 47.2 i). This is reflected in the sample acceptance certificate in H.4.

9) Sub clause 7.2 e) now recommends that where major non-compliances (as defined in sub clause 46.2) are identified as agreed variations then they “should be clearly recorded in the logbook so that they are readily available for future reference by maintenance companies and any other interested parties.”

10) Table 4 of the 2002 edition of BS 5839-1, “Limits of ceiling height (Category P systems and five minute fire and rescue service attendance)” has been deleted.

11) The commentary in sub-clause 15.1 has been updated to include advice that “Automatic transmission of fire alarm signals is also necessary in the case of residential care premises.”
Sub clause 15.2 f) now recommends that “In residential care premises, facilities should be provided for automatic transmission of alarm signals to an alarm receiving centre.”
Sub clause 15 i) Note 4 has been added to provide advice that any alarm receiving centres used for the receipt of automatic alarm signals from fire detection and fire alarm systems should be certificated to BS 5979 and should include the monitoring of fire alarms within their scope of certification.

12) Sub clause 19.1 d) advises that “In residential care premises where early extinguishing action by the fire and rescue service is critical to life safety, it is not appropriate to delay the summoning of the fire and rescue service when the fire alarm system operates.”
Sub clause 19.2.2 b) supports the above advice by recommending that:
“In residential care premises, a staff alarm should not incorporate any delay in summoning of the fire and rescue service when the fire alarm system operates, but there may be a delay in the general alarm signal, provided all staff are made aware of the fire alarm signal [see also 15.2f)].”

13) Sub clause f) recommends that measures to filter out potential false alarms “should not be applied to signals received from fire alarm systems in residential care premises.”

14) The commentary in sub clause 45.1 has been amended to give advice regarding the role of the maintenance technician and the purpose of routine servicing. “Routine servicing does not constitute a fresh review of the system design; it is a verification of the functionality and serviceability of the existing system.” The commentary points out that non-compliance against the recommendations of Section 2 of BS 5839-1:2013 may not be identified during the routine servicing process. It also goes on to point out that even if a maintenance technician does identify an apparent non-compliance it may have been agreed already as a variation.
The sub clause also points out that the maintenance organisation may identify areas of non-compliance and provide advice but this does not imply that all areas of non-compliance have been identified nor does it imply that there has been any review of the original design.

15) Sub clause 11.2 m) recommends that visual alarm devices (VADs) should comply with BS EN 54-23:2010. BS EN 54-23 does not become mandated in the UK until 01 July 2013 and at the time of writing there appears to be a shortage of compliant product available on the market in the UK. In view of this, until 01 July 2013, if an approved company installs VADs that are not compliant with BS EN 54-23 then we will not regard this as a non-compliance against the recommendation of BS 5839-1:2013, sub clause 11.2 m). From 01 July 2013 companies will be expected to install VADs compliant with BS EN 54-23.

16) With the introduction of BS EN 54-23, clause 17 of the new BS 5839-1 provides additional guidance on the use of compliant VADs. Sub clause 17.2 e) Note 3 refers to a joint LPCB/FIA Code of Practice 0001 “Code of Practice for Visual Alarm Devices Used for Fire Warning”. We expect approved and applicant companies to have access to this Code of Practice and to adopt the recommendations provided therein. Copies can be obtained from For ease of reference BS 5839-1:2013, Annex F reproduces some of the guidance and look-up tables contained within the LPCB/FIA Code of Practice.

17) Sub clauses 25.2 c) Note 2 and 29.2 e) Note 4 provides the following text:
“The contractor responsible for supplying the 230 V mains power supply needs to ensure that the particular device used does actually afford isolation. A number of switching devices do not meet the required isolation performance criteria. BS 7671:2008+A1:2011, Table 53.4, details whether a particular device can actually be used for the purpose of “isolation.” The purpose of these notes is to differentiate between “isolation” and “functional switching”.
BS 7671:2008+A1:2011 defines isolation as:
“A function intended to cut off for reasons of safety the supply from all, or a discrete section, of the installation by separating the installation or section from every source of electrical energy.”
whilst functional switching is defined as:
“An operation intended to switch “on” or “off” or vary the supply of electrical energy to all or part of the installation for normal operating purposes.”
Fire alarm equipment is not intended to be switched “on” or “off” under normal circumstances and therefore the intention of providing an isolating device adjacent to the control equipment and other mains operated equipment related to the fire detection and alarm system is to enable safe electrical isolation for the purposes of maintenance.
Many devices that have traditionally been used as “isolators” are in effect “functional switches” (e.g. “secret key” switches) and do not afford safe means of electrical isolation.

  07 Jan, 2014

Integrate Fire Detection Systems & BMS Seamlessly

Apollo’s ‘Open Connect’ Interface

The advantages
(1) Connects fire and building management systems (BMS) seamlessly
(2) Fully documented configuration in under five minutes
(3) Standard RS232 and RS485 connections
(4) One solution for all BMS protocols
(5) No re-engineering required

OpenConnect Gateway fully integrates fire detection with building management systems (BMS), without the need for complex systems or the use of multiple customised interfaces.

The OpenConnect Gateway is effectively a ‘plug and play’ device that can be incorporated into a fire control panel design, relaying information from the panel into the BMS using standard protocols such as BACnet, Modbus® or LonWorks. This gives both system integrators and end users the advantage of utilising an intra-system communication architecture between both environments, while maintaining the integrity of each system independently

The benefits include faster response times, coordination strategies, and utilisation of pre-planned and/or pre-programmed evacuation procedures in case of emergency or times of failure. Because the gateway is an integral part of the fire control panel, it is also simple to install and configure reducing the associated time and costs when implemented into projects.


  13 Nov, 2012

FIDA Systems - Employment Opportunity (Posted 9th November 2012)

Due to continued growth, we have a position available for s ‘Systems Engineer’.

Please see attachment for further information on the post.Systems_Engineer_Position.pdf

  20 Feb, 2012

FIDA Systems - BAFE SP203-1 Accredited

We are pleased to announce that we have recently received BAFE SP203-1 accreditation. This means that we are now third party approved to provide the following services;

Design of Fire Alarm Systems in compliance with BAFE SP203 and BS5839
Installation of Fire Alarm Systems in compliance with BAFE SP203 and BS5839
Maintenance of Fire Alarm Systems in compliance with BAFE SP203 and BS5839
Commissioning and Handover of Fire Alarm Systems in compliance with BAFE SP203 and BS5839

Please see our attached certification documents.


  01 Dec, 2011

FIRElux - Intelligent Emergency Lighting System

FIRElux is based around an addressable, emergency lighting control panel with battery back-up and features addressable, self contained luminaires and signage connected via traditional low-voltage (24V) cabling.

With lighting units fitting directly onto the standard Hochiki Europe sensor base (YBN-R/3) FIRElux offers the installer a brand new and easy solution to the installation of emergency lighting and signage.


Extra Low Voltage
Less than 5% energy consumption compared to traditional lighting*1

Unique intelligent addressable technology allows control and testing of individual luminaires

LED Technology
Low carbon emissions – less than 5% CO2 compared to traditional lighting*2

Low Maintenance
Less than 1% lamp changes when compared to traditional lighting*3

Graphics Software
Allows instant overview of complete system and assists in maintenance tasks

Simple Installation
Luminaires fit onto the standard Hochiki Europe sensor mounting base (YBN-R/3)

*1 Figure based on tests of 100 luminaires over 10 years
*2 Figure based on comparison of traditional fluorescent tubing with FIRElux installation of 100 luminaires
*3 Figure based on lamp changes over a ten year period for a system of 100 luminaires


  26 Apr, 2011

Clothing retailer fined record amount for fire safety breaches

The high street clothing retailer, New Look, has been fined a record amount after fire safety breaches at their Oxford Street branch.


In April 2007, in the early evening, the shop was filled with customers when a fire broke out. The alarm began sounding, but was then turned off, and when none of the staff reacted to the alarm, the customers continued shopping.
Smoke began to billow out of the store, alerting passersby on the street, who began to shout and first alerted staff to the problem. At this point, the staff in the shop began to ‘panic’ and ordered customers out of the building.


Although no one was hurt in the blaze, it was described as a potential death trap. The store was fined a record amount of £400,000 for fire safety breaches, on account of their staff’s lack of training and for inadequate fire exits. They were also ordered to pay costs totalling £136,000.


When it comes to fire safety, it is important to plan ahead. Make sure your staff are trained and all are aware of what they need to do in the case of a fire. It is also necessary to conduct a fire risk assessment of your premises and to rectify any problems found in the risk assessment process.
Have you conducted a fire risk assessment of your premises yet? We can help you with this - start by using our ‘Fire risk review checklist’ to undertake a thorough inspection of your workplace. Follow this up with our ‘Fire risk assessment - Record of significant findings’ to record the findings during your inspection and also to identify where action might need to be taken.

  03 Feb, 2010

New Dual Photo Optical Smoke Sensor

Do you work in an environment where steam can get generated from time to time i.e. an industrial site or hotel? Is it playing havoc with your fire alarm system? If so well the solution is the new addressable dual optical smoke detector. It does exactly what it says, it ignores steam completely, eradicating false alarms and responds to real fires when required. Please see datasheet for further information Nittan_Datasheet.pdf

  30 Mar, 2009

ANPR - Automatic Number Plate Recognition

Traditionally automatic number plate cameras are expensive, difficult to install and complicated to administer. These issues often lead to an unreliable solution that is not practical for the majority of customers. This solution now addresses these issues. See datasheet for further information. Net_2_Number_Plate_Reader.pdf

  09 Feb, 2009

New Hush Button - Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

According to BS 5839 part 6 (the code of practice for fire alarm systems in dwellings) around 80% of all UK fire deaths and injuries occur in dwellings; thats a frightening 500 fatalities and 14,000 injuries a year. Nowhere is the risk greater than in houses of multiple occupation where a fire in one dwelling can quickly spread to another. In order to reduce the risks, BS 5839 part 6 recommends minimum grades and categories for fire alarm systems in HMO dwellings - Grade D (mains/battery powered smoke/heat alarms) and Category LD2 or LD3 systems (detectors in all circulation spaces forming part of its escape routes) - and acknowledges the need for a BS 5839 part 1 system in communal spaces.

The Hush Button solution meets and exceeds these requirements in all areas and complies with some of the less publicised but nonetheless critical aspects of BS 5839 part 6. Each Hush Button can be looked upon as a miniature fully monitored, self-powered single zone fire alarm panel that sits and is addressed on an analogue loop with the ability to communicate its status back to the main panel.

Typically one double gang Hush Button is fitted in each HMO dwelling complete with conventional detectors and sounders to provide occupants with a simple, cost-effective means of invoking two types of hushed period, as specified in clause 12.2 of BS 5839 part 6. Clause 12.2 indicates there be provision within each HMO dwelling for silencing unwanted alarms when there is a local fire alarm condition and for isolating the dwelling’s detectors should activities be taking place that could cause a false alarm. Many current HMO solutions overlook this. For example, in order to silence a local alarm on most current single system solutions, the dwelling’s occupier must first locate the communal fire panel which is usually located at the bottom of a flight of stairs, enter its secure user mode and work out which button to press - all within two minutes.

The Hush Button allows you to silence a local alarm for up to two minutes from within the HMO dwelling itself and, if required, to isolate the dwelling’s detectors for up to 15 minutes prior to a local alarm condition occurring. See datasheet for further information


  10 Sep, 2008

New IP Audio/Video Door Entry System

When a Visitor presses the call button, Users in the building are notified through their PC.
The Visitor can be seen and spoken to by the User via their PC and a PC handset.
Access is granted or denied through the software. See datasheet for further information. ACTentry_V-IP_Profile_Web.pdf

  27 Jun, 2008

New IP Gateway for Fire Detection System

The IP Gateway enables you to visualize the state of the fire alarm system through a standard web browser. The state of each detector/device on the system is displayed clearly. Detectors and zones of detectors can be isolated / de-isolated, sounders and bells can be silenced and the system can be reset from anywhere in the world. Email notification can also be sent for any fires / faults to chosen personnel i.e. faults could be sent to engineering personnel/maintenance company and fires to the responsible person. By being able to notify a maintenance company of faults etc enables them to firstly interrogate the system remotely and do a diagnosis. They can then attend site knowing they have the necessary spares with them to fix the problem first time. See datasheet for further information. IP_Gateway.pdf

  22 Apr, 2008

New Wireless Interface for Fire Detection System

Apollo fire detectors have recently introduced the Xpander wireless interface. This enables wireless detectors to be installed on an existing wired fire detection system. This feature would be useful for areas where you cannot get cables to or in areas where cables cannot be hidden i.e. separate building from the main building, listed buildings etc. The system could also be used for temporary detection on building sites during new builds and refurbishments. See datasheet for further information.Xpander_Datasheet.pdf

  17 Apr, 2008

Paxton Access Control & Dedicated Micros CCTV

Paxton Access Control & Dedicated Micros CCTV Integration. There is now a single solution available to integrate these two manufacturers product whereas before two separate software systems would have been required. See datasheet for further information. Net_2_and_DM.pdf

  08 Apr, 2008

New Fire Legislation - Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order came into effect on the 1st October 2006. The Order amends or replaces 118 pieces of legislation, the most significant being the repeal of the Fire Precautions Act 1971 and the revocation of Fire Precautions (workplace) Regulation 1997.

The Order applies to the majority of premises and workplaces in the UK. Broadly it does not apply to dwellings, the underground parts of mines, anything that floats, flies or runs on wheels, offshore installations, building sites or the military. The Order firmly places a responsibility on the Responsible Person and outlines all the measures that must taken to ensure the safety of all the people he or she is directly or indirectly responsible for. At the same time it allows the Enforcing Authority to make sure that it is enacted (by force if necessary) and sets penalties if it is not. It requires the responsible person to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment, produce a Policy, develop Procedures (particularly with regard to evacuation), provide staff Training and carryout Fire Drills. The responsible person must provide and maintain clear Means of Escape, Signs, Notices, Emergency Lighting, Fire Detection & Alarm and Extinguishers.

  08 Apr, 2008