Last Updated on 7 February 2020.
Time’s run out for the EMS 5000 fire alarm system.
You will be looking at this page as you’ll have an EMS 5000, also known as the EMS FirePoint 5000 (or 5004, 5012, 5048, 5096, depending on how many zones the system covers).
If you have an EMS 5000 system installed in your building, you may be advised that it needs upgrading after it was made obsolete. Here’s everything that you need to know so you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.
Here’s a quick video which sums up what you need to know, and read for more detail about the EMS 5000 fire alarm system:
The Obsolete EMS Fire Point 5000 System
The EMS 5000 was, indeed, a first-class radio fire alarm system. It was widely installed and, at one time, considered the radio fire alarm to install.
In 2012, EMS released the next generation system: the EMS FireCell. This was radically different to the EMS 5000 in a number of ways. The key difference was that the EMS 5000 system operated on radio frequencies of VHF 173 MHz and UHF 459 MHz, whilst the new EMS FireCell system operated on the 868 Mhz.
At the time, the EMS 5000 was retained within the EMS family of products for what was described as the “foreseeable future”. This was mainly due to the fact that there were many EMS 5000 systems installed throughout the UK and, like every fire detection and alarm system, there was a need for these installed systems to be able to be expanded and repaired.
However, due to a seemingly overlooked change in legislation (the Construction Product Directive, or CPD/CPR), which came into force during July 2013, the EMS 5000 became obsolete. This was due to becoming non-compliant with the new requirements. EMS was not the only fire alarm manufacturer to be affected by the CPR and a number of other fire alarm panels were discontinued at the same time.
The net result of this was that it became illegal to sell new systems made from the non-compliant product range, which includes additional parts.
What the manufacturer did to mitigate this at the time was to stockpile £1m of product to be sold through a wholesaler and this pre-made stock was allowed to be resold into the marketplace. The stock ran out in the middle of 2014, and therefore there is no legal way to obtain additional parts for the system from the manufacturer directly.
You were, however, able to have your existing system’s parts repaired or spares provided if needed, but there would eventually be a cut-off point for this.
In December 2019, WFP were notified by EMS that they had now “exhausted the supply of available material and, as such, are no longer able to repair and refurbish” the EMS 5000 fire alarm system.
What Does This Mean?
If you have an EMS 5000 fire alarm system, you will not be able to have any repairs, spares or additions made to the system as the manufacturer, universally, no longer supplies this.
Your system can continue to be serviced with a maintenance visit every six months by a competent specialist and you are not being non-compliant by still having an operational EMS 5000 in your building.
If, however, your fire alarm system shows a fault or fails and need a part replacing due to this malfunction, this will not be possible. So, you could be left with a system which is left faulty and/or fails to provide fire detection in your building, thereby making your system non-compliant with UK Fire Safety Law.
As the Responsible Person for your premises, it is your duty to ensure systems are “maintained in an efficient state, are in efficient working order and are in good repair”, as per Article 17 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
What Should I Do?
If your EMS 5000 fire alarm system is in healthy, working order presently, you should start to budget for a system upgrade. Do not leave it at the bottom of your pile, as a fault could present itself and then you will be forced to take immediate action.
But, do not wait until a fault arises on your system to carry out the upgrade. Upgrades can take a while from system design and planning to installation; plus, depending on the age of your system, the integrity of the wiring may not be sufficient for the new system and may need replacing, so you need to allow as much time as you can. Your building could also be out-of-action for this period and you won’t have a working fire alarm in the interim, so there is a lot to consider!
If your EMS 5000 is presently faulty, then you will need to speak to a competent specialist about an upgrade immediately. Leaving faults on a system has non-compliance implications with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA). The HASAWA details wide-ranging requirements of employers. Employers must protect the ‘health, safety and welfare’ at work for all employees, as well as others on their premises; including temps, casual workers, the self-employed, clients, visitors and the general public.
Not rectifying a fault could be putting lives at risk within your building as you may not have adequate fire detection within your premises to alert individuals in the event of a fire-related emergency. Should a fire occur and the faulty system be highlighted in an investigation following the event, you could fail to have your insurance pay-out for the damage and be prosecuted for this negligence.
It sounds scary, but that’s because it can be…if you don’t do anything about it, that is!
But don’t worry, WFP Fire & Security are here to help. We can provide you with a consultation to find the best solution for you and your business, and we even offer leasing options so you’re not bitten by a large upfront cost but you’re still safe and legal.
- The EMS 5000 system was made obsolete in July 2013. The manufacturer is not allowed to sell new parts, extensions or additions to the existing systems due to the Construction Products Directive.
- The now obsolete EMS 5000 was supported with new parts and installations until late 2014, however when the stock ran out, no new products were made available.
- The system is incompatible with the next generation product, the EMS FireCell, and therefore existing systems were not backwards compatible.
- Repairs were available up until December 2019, but the manufacturer has now exhausted their supply and ability to do this.
- If you want to upgrade part of the system, a full upgrade would be required.
- You can continue to have your six-monthly maintenance services on your EMS 5000, but should a fault arise and a part needing replacing, this will not be possible and you will require a full upgrade. If you need your batteries replacing, this can still be done and can be done during your six-monthly maintenance visits.
- If you have a fault at present, you will need to upgrade your system, as not doing so could leave your building without adequate detection, leaving your building unsafe and non-compliant.
- Even if your system is healthy at present, you should budget for an upgrade in the near future and have this carried out as soon as feasibly possible.
- If you have an EMS 5000 speak to a WFP Fire & Security specialist today.
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