What Are The Alternatives To A Waking Watch?

Waking watches are a temporary measure in place to monitor the possible outbreak of fire in Highrise buildings. Many buildings are listed as possessing flammable cladding, highlighted by reports created after the Grenfell tragedy in 2017. To stop history repeating itself, the British government, landlords and leaseholders have been looking at preventative measures to prevent the same happening again.

In December 2020 the government announced its waking watch relief fund worth £30 million. The fund went live in January. It is an attempt to end the need for waking watches. The waking watches are estimated to be costing leaseholders collectively of 3 million pounds each month. The fund will enable leaseholders to have finance available for installing additional and new fire alarm systems to remove the need for a waking watch.

The fund will see new and extensions of fire alarm systems added to these buildings to negate waking watches. The building tends to be populated, making simple fire alarm installation tasks more tedious. For that reason, you need a fire alarm system fit for purpose. You need a system installed without causing issues for the residents and contractors. So what options are out there for such systems?

High rise building cladding

Waking Watch Alternatives:


Wireless Fire Alarm System

The wireless fire alarm system has been around for several years now. In the early days, these systems did have their issues, but as time and technology have advanced, they have become an alternative to a hardwired system. These systems benefit from being quick and easy to install.

Suppose the existing building contains asbestos. Wireless systems are a great solution to a fire alarm system where installation can be an issue. These systems benefit from installation methods that cause little to no dust. A wireless fire alarm system can negate the need for additional costs of removing asbestos. It makes the installation process cheaper than that of a hardwired system in a building that contains asbestos.

A downside to wireless fire alarm systems is the cost of devices and equipment is more than a traditional hardwired system. A wireless system also requires batteries in each device which is a cost to bear in mind. Traditionally the batteries were a primary concern for wireless systems. However, over recent years battery technology has progressed. It means wireless systems offer suitable lifespans with some devices lasting up to five years before battery replacement. If you need to install a completely new fire alarm with a little disruption to residents, then the wireless system is the way to go.

View Protec’s range of wireless fire devices


Hardwired Fire Alarm System

A Hardwired system is the traditional type fire alarm system with the system cabled throughout. Should a high-rise building have, a fire alarm system already installed. The most straightforward way of including additional detection to new areas would be just a simple extension of the existing fire alarm system. Suppose the current system is an addressable system with the capability for expansion. In this case, this is a relatively simple procedure with detection added to new areas and linked onto the existing fire alarm loops.

Some fire alarm systems can introduce localised control modules (such as the Protec 6000 LCM). These are perfect for residential blocks which offer a localised control of an apartment/flat fire detection. It means residents can prevent false alarms from toasters or cigarette smoke, causing a full-scale evacuation of a building. But the method still offers the landlords’ fire alarm system to have the ability to identify a fire in that apartment or flat.

View Protec’s range of hardwired fire devices


Hybrid Fire Alarm System

A hybrid fire alarm system combines both radio and wired fire alarm technologies. The fire alarm system contains a hardwired backbone with wireless devices linking to the system via hardwired transponder units. It means all the control equipment is hardwired, with most field devices such as sounders, manual call points and detectors all being wireless. These systems’ advantage is connecting onto an existing hardwired fire alarm system like a Protec 6500 fire alarm system.

It proves advantages, as in residential scenarios, access to peoples flats and apartments may be limited. Wireless detectors can be installed with little fuss in a small amount of time, reducing residents’ inconvenience and negate the need for a whole new system.


Further Reading

To see the official press release from the UK government regarding the Waking Watch Relief Fund you can read more here