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How to choose a fire alarm system dealer

Fire Alarm Systems Buyer's Guide

A fire alarm system dealer may be a local company selling products from different manufacturers or a multinational that exclusively markets its own brand. Your choice of one or the other may depend on whether you prefer to deal with a local business you can visit, or whether you're content to arrange matters with a large company's sales representative.

Either way, price is obviously relevant but other important factors to consider are the dealer's professionalism and ongoing service commitment. Never forget that you don't just want a fire alarm system that meets every point raised in your risk assessment. You need first class installation, a reliable ARC, and regular maintenance. As time goes by, you may also wish to receive advice about device replacements and system extensions.

With this in mind, once you've received quotes from a range of fire alarm system suppliers, speak further to these companies to get a better idea of what they can do for your business. Contact shouldn't be difficult because most fire alarm system companies will ask to visit your site before they can offer a firm price for the job. This is a useful opportunity to ask dealers how much experience they have with your sort of business and to quiz their knowledge about the latest regulations and British Standards. You might also want to enquire about their:

  • customer service and the availability of technicians to repair faults
  • maintenance contracts
  • service call-out charges
  • membership of trade bodies such as the Fire Industry Association (FIA)

If you've yet to do a fire risk assessment, you might also ask them if they can give you any help.

References
No matter how good a fire alarm system dealer appears to be, always seek references. Obviously these will put the company in a good light, but you can also speak directly to the people who gave the references and see if they wouldn't mind replying to a few questions.

  • Did the fire alarm system dealer meet all deadlines?
  • Are you happy with the quality of the installation?
  • Did the dealer resolve problems to your satisfaction?
  • Did the dealer pay full attention to your fire risk assessment and answer every point contained in it?
  • Did the dealer give sufficient training on use of the control panel and any devices?
  • Have you had a fire? If so, were you happy with the ARC's response?

Questionable sales tactics
Fire alarm system suppliers will, of course, offer deals and contract sweeteners. Be wary, though, of hard sales techniques. After all, the purpose of your fire alarm system is to save lives, so to a large extent a system sells itself. You may wish to stay well clear of any over-anxious sales person who relies on questionable tactics to make you sign up.

You're unlikely to be bothered with doorstep sales people for fire alarm systems. They tend to concentrate on monitored burglar alarms thanks to the implications of your fire risk assessment and the legal requirements. Nonetheless, if someone turns up at your business out of the blue selling fire alarms, it's wise not to buy from them no matter how cheap the systems seem. You might also want to report the sales person to your local councilís Trading Standards Division if itís clear that the company has little knowledge and no accreditation.

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