Fire alarm systems Hamburg – everything you need to know

Corporate fire protection is a complex and, at first glance, an opaque subject. Especially when confronted with it for the first time, many questions remain unanswered. Fire alarm systems (FAS) are complex systems of building security technology.

In this article we will show you everything you need to know about fire alarm systems from Hamburg.

What is a fire alarm system?

The danger of fire is always present. An average of 184,500 registered fires / year (source: Statista), in Germany alone, paint a clear picture and cause billions of euros in damage.

In order to minimize the risk of fire, there are fire alarm systems (BMA). These take on a central role in the context of safety technology and serve to detect fires at an early stage and help keep the damage as low as possible.

Every second counts. The sooner the fire is detected, the sooner a responding agency can be notified.

As the following figure illustrates, early detection of a fire is critical to the resulting danger to people as well as the resulting amount of damage.

With the help of a fire alarm system, measures to seal off a fire can be initiated in good time. It also greatly facilitates access for the fire department and other assistance. The extinguishing measures can take place earlier.

Therefore, if there is no fire alarm system, it is left to chance whether a fire will be detected in time. If there are already flames or dense clouds of smoke coming out of the building, effective and efficient firefighting is often very difficult.

What are the types of fire detectors?

As a rule, there are 3 categories of fire detectors.

  • Automatic fire detectors
  • Non-automatic fire detectors
  • Smoke alarm

Typically, a fire alarm system includes automatic and non-automatic fire detectors. Smoke alarms are widely used in private environments. Even if they are networked, it is not called a fire alarm system.

Automatic fire detectors

These can detect fires as they develop and provide early warning.

Detector type


Optical detectors

Optical detectors react to turbidity in the air. Smoke particles released during the combustion process are detected optically.

Thermal detectors

Thermal detectors detect temperature differences. They react when the room temperature exceeds a certain value or rises faster than average.

Optical-thermal multi-sensor detectors

Optical-thermal multisensor detectors combine optical analysis methods with the thermomaximal principle or thermodifferential principle.

Optical-thermal gas multisensor detectors

Optical-thermal gas multi-sensor detectors combine an optical sensor chamber, a thermal sensor, and an electrochemical element for carbon monoxide analysis.

Ionization smoke detector

Ionization smoke detectors use a radioactive emitter to detect virtually invisible, barely reflective smoke particles. Ions move in the air between two charged metal plates, allowing current to flow between the plates. If smoke particles get between the plates, they disrupt the conductivity in the air. The current becomes smaller and the detector sounds an alarm.

Flame detector

Flame detectors are activated by ultraviolet light, which occurs when flames are present. Multiple sensors are often used to prevent false alarms – e.g. caused by photo flashes.

Special annunciator

In addition to conventional fire detectors, there are special detectors that, for example. detect certain gases.


Non-automatic fire detectors

The best known non-automatic fire detector is probably the classic manual call point. It is protected by a glass pane, which must be broken in case of fire. After that, you can trigger the fire alarm by pressing the button. The alarm is then forwarded to the fire alarm control panel.

Which fire detector for which purpose?

Fire detectors can be used for different areas. Depending on the purpose, other fire alarm types make sense. We distinguish between optical, thermal, and multi-sensor detectors that react to at least two criteria (for example, smoke and heat). By linking different signals, disturbance variables can be detected more effectively and false alarms can be significantly reduced.

Detector type

Operational criteria


Typical objects

Optical detectors

Smoke development, no / low heat development, no visible flames

for early detection of smoldering fires with large and bright smoke particles

small and medium surveillance areas, such as offices

Thermal detectors

strong heat radiation, heat development

Detection of open fires in small monitoring areas

in the area of property protection (warehouses, offices) or places with strong natural smoke development, e.g. industrial plants, canteen kitchens

Optical-thermal multi-sensor detectors

Smoke development as well as strong heat development

fast detection of fires with smoke and flame development

Medium and large monitoring areas, e.g. open-plan offices

Optical-thermal gas multisensor detectors

Incipient fire with slow progression, CO gas development

Surveillance areas with high requirements for personal protection

Hotels, hospitals, retirement and nursing homes, shopping centers, parking garages and underground garages

Ionization smoke detector

particularly sensitive, even to the smallest smoke particles

often prohibited in Germany due to radioactive radiation (replacement by optical-thermal detectors)

Application today is limited to special tasks, e.g. on ships or in particularly explosive areas

Flame detector

high emission (IR, UV), e.g. with flammable liquids and gases

Surveillance areas with increased fire hazard

industrial plants, warehouses

Special detectors I – linear heat detectors

Places where point detectors cannot be used

Use in difficult environmental conditions (e.g. dirt, heat, cold, humidity)

z. e.g. tunnels, parking garages, cold stores, power plants,

Special detectors II – linear smoke detectors

Linear smoke detection based on a kind of light barrier for smoke detection

Use in large-area objects where point detectors would be required in excessive numbers

z. e.g. airports, shopping centers, large train stations

Special detectors III – Aspirating smoke detectors

Detection by means of inspection of sucked air

Where concealed use is required, e.g. in public buildings

e.g. in museums, theatres, concert halls,

Special detectors IV – thermal imaging cameras

Determination of temperature
differentiated by means of infrared, disturbance variables, such as e.g. Hot pipes are efficiently detected and eliminated

Where other detection methods do not react, or react too late, or where special disturbance
sizes can negatively influence the detection.

z. e.g. in scrap yards, waste incineration plants

Who needs a fire alarm system?

In commercial environments in Hamburg, you will almost always find a fire alarm system, even if they are not required by law or building code.

As a rule, fire alarm systems in companies are prescribed by the authorities for safety reasons. Either through a building ordinance, which contains general or industry-specific specifications, e.g. for hotels, defined, by professional associations / insurance companies or individual building inspection requirements.

Hotel fire alarm systems

The topic of fire protection in the hotel depends on the type of construction as well as the equipment of the hotel. The basis for this is the state building code as well as the industry-specific special building code for lodging establishments. This varies from state to state and there are states that do not have one at all.

The safety of hotel guests is the most important goal of all fire protection measures.

The following criteria are especially important for hotels:

  • Fire alarm system with integrated voice message for direct instructions in the hotel room
  • Clear escape routing as hotel guests do not know their way around well.
  • Safe detection in different environments (smoking or non-smoking rooms)
  • Control of air conditioning and ventilation systems as well as fire doors via the FACP
  • BMZ preferably near the reception desk, as constant supervision is possible there


Fire alarm systems in the shopping center

A fire alarm system is also essential for survival in shopping centers. The focus of a fire protection concept for shopping centers is the effective and efficient evacuation of large crowds.

Shopping centers, supermarkets, furniture stores and other sales premises with an area (sales rooms and shopping street) of more than 2,000sqm fall into the category of “structural facilities and premises of a special type and use” according to the Model Building Ordinance and are therefore subject to the Model Sales Premises Ordinance. The interpretation of these varies from state to state. Additional integrated facilities, such as medical offices or garages fall under an additional special building ordinance.

The following criteria are particularly important for shopping centers:

  • Sales-promoting atmosphere requires fire protection that is as invisible as possible
  • Fire detector without triggering in case of fluctuating room temperature due to high visitor flows (differentiation to fire case)
  • Alarming of fire department and center management by BMZ
  • Flawless acoustics during alarming, even at high noise levels
  • Multilingual evacuation instructions in all shopping center facilities
  • Controllable digital escape route signs for changing the direction of the arrow


Fire alarm systems in industry

In industry, fire risks depend on the function of the building. Production facilities whose machines can generate a high level of heat, hazardous goods warehouses, but also mixed buildings containing canteens, changing rooms, etc. must be taken into account.

In these cases, special fire detectors are often necessary in order to cope with the different environments.

Buildings or parts of buildings in the field of industry and trade that are used for the production or storage of products and goods are subject to the Model Industrial Building Code (M IndBauRL).

In this context, “production” is understood to mean the manufacture, treatment, utilization and distribution of goods. Industrial facilities used only for the installation of technical equipment or structures that are predominantly open are not covered by the Industrial Building Code. High-bay warehouses with storage heights of more than 9m (top edge) are also excluded.

Fire protection in industry is extremely important, because in addition to extensive property damage or even personal injury, a fire in an industrial plant can also result in long production downtimes.

The following criteria are particularly important for the industry

  • Constant conversions and expansions require flexible fire protection
  • Consideration of a wide range of building categories (administration, production, warehouse, etc.)
  • high noise level of the machines requires special acoustics for alarm messages
  • additional, optical alarm messages are recommended
  • Environment-specific fire detectors for early fire detection and prevention of fire damage, etc.


What to look for when hiring a company on the subject of fire alarm systems?

It is important that the Hamburg company is a qualified specialist.

For this reason, look for available certifications before hiring a company. For example, the company should have DIN 14675 certification for planners and installers of fire alarm systems.

We at Elektro Hartmann have this certification and are therefore your expert for fire alarm systems Hamburg. Do you have questions, comments or want to use a fire alarm system in your company? Then contact us today!