When it comes to choosing a fire detection system for your business, an automatic solution is often the best choice. Instead of waiting for human intervention, your system will provide response to the earliest stage of a fire’s development – the stage when it can be easily suppressed and extinguished.

Sovereign Fire and Security forms long term partnerships with businesses all over the UK, helping them protect their employees and assets from fire. We provide a comprehensive service comprising the design and installation of cutting-edge systems, alongside 24/7 monitoring and regular maintenance.

In this blog, we explain everything you need to know about automatic fire detection systems.

As one of the UK’s leading fire and security firms, we specialise in installing and maintaining a range of innovative fire and security systems. To learn more about the services we offer contact us below and book in your free survey.

What is an Automatic Fire Detection System?

An automatic fire detection system is a system that is able to detect the earliest signs of a fire and alert building occupants without human intervention. It reinforces the coverage provided by manual fire detection, providing protection for your premises even during periods of low occupancy.

An automatic fire detection system can include a range of methods of fire detection. Once particles of smoke and early signs of smoulder are detected, it will send a signal to a control panel. Depending on the specification of your system, this may then either cause the alarm to sound, cause an early warning alarm to sound so staff can investigate, or require remote manual verification.

How Do Smoke & Fire Alarms Work? >

Automatic Fire Detection System vs Manual

A manual fire detection system is insufficient for most premises. Manual detection is exactly what it sounds like; a person notices a fire and using a manual call point to raise the alarm. The disadvantage of this is that humans cannot detect fire in its earliest stages. That means the alarm won’t be raised until the fire is well developed and already doing significant damage to your property. Cutting edge technology like aspirating fire detection systems, on the other hand, can identify the presence of smoke before it is visible to the human eye.

A Beginner’s Guide to Life Safety Systems >

Types of Automatic Fire Detection Systems

Automatic fire detection systems can incorporate a range of detection technologies depending on your premises and exact requirements.

Photoelectric or Optical

These detectors work by sending pulses of light into a sensor chamber at regular intervals. If smoke particles enter the chamber, they scatter the light onto a receptor that triggers a signal to be sent to the control panel. They don’t work well in dusty environments, and are best for detecting smouldering fires.

Heat Alarms

These simple detection systems trigger an alarm once a certain temperature is reached, making them better for locations that are dusty or steamy. Often, they don’t provide warning as early as other types of detection, though, so it’s best to use them in combination.

Video Detection

This type offers a wide coverage so performs well in large areas like warehouses. They work by using software to analyse each frame of video they capture, using an algorithm that can identify smoke patterns in pixels.


An aspirating system is typically able to identify fire faster than any other. This is because it sucks air into its central detection unit using a network of pipes, rather than waiting for smoke particles to drift into it. The air is then tested much like a photoelectric detector.

Learn more: What is an Aspirating Smoke Detection System?

Is an Automatic Fire Detection System a Legal Requirement?

You’re not legally required to have a fire alarm, but you are required to have taken all the measures you can to minimise risk. Current regulations also state that you should have a fire detection system that is ‘appropriate’. For many businesses, this is an automatic one.

It is likely your premises will see large spans of time when it is unoccupied – for example, during the night. If a fire should start at this time, there might be no one there to raise the alarm, leading to significant damage to your property and assets.

That’s why empty commercial buildings and those with changing levels of occupancy are advised to have automatic systems to supplement manual ones. It’s the only way to ensure around the clock protection for your people and your property.

See more: The Ultimate Guide to Commercial Fire Detection Systems

Benefits of Automatic Fire Detection Systems

24/7 Monitoring

Automatic fire detection systems monitor your premises continuously, even when it’s night or occupancy levels are low. This technology is always working, protecting your property and assets from damage even when you’re not there to watch. For complex buildings, high rises, or buildings based over multiple sites, 24/7 monitoring means you can detect fire at its earliest possible stages every time.

Earlier Detection

Don’t wait for an emergency to strike – stop one in its tracks with high-tech early detection systems. As discussed, many advanced automatic fire detection systems can identify particles of smoke before they are visible to building occupants. With this early warning, it’s much more likely that you will be able to supress the fire before it has caused significant damage – saving you a lot of money and disruption.

Total Peace of Mind

There are plenty of things to worry about as a business owner – from cyber attacks to theft to vandalism. With an automatic fire detection system in place, designed and installed to impeccable standards, fire protection is one thing you can tick of your list.

Automatic Fire Detection Systems for Your Business

If you’re looking to upgrade your business’ detection and alarm system, Sovereign Fire and Security can help. We’ve designed and installed high performing systems for buildings of all sizes and complexities. Whatever your requirements, we can create a reliable fire detection solution just for you.

Contact us today to get started!

Read next: The Importance of Fire Alarm Testing, Servicing & Maintenance

Read next: Fire and Security Systems for Offices

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