All You Need To Know About Fire Alarm Maintenance
A fire alarm system that doesn’t operate correctly is a serious risk to life and property. Providing essential warning so that people can evacuate a building when smoke or fire is detected, fire alarms are critical components of fire safety systems and, by law, must be maintained regularly.
Yet an estimated one-fifth of UK businesses fail to carry out even the simplest checks on their fire alarms, increasing the risk of disaster. Even if a fire doesn’t break out, a poorly functioning fire alarm system can invalidate buildings insurance, trigger false alarms resulting in unnecessary fire brigade callouts, and lead to enforcement action for non-compliance with the law.
So, what are the most important steps in a fire alarm maintenance procedure to keep your employees and assets safe?
What Does The Law Say About Fire Alarm Maintenance?
In commercial buildings, fire alarm systems must, by law, be tested and maintained. Failing to do so could lead to hefty fines or imprisonment. The requirements are set out in BS 5839-1 (Fire Alarm Testing: Regulations and Requirements).
A business must nominate a Responsible Person who is entrusted with the responsibility for ensuring that the alarm system is maintained, as well as other aspects of fire safety such as risk assessments, staff training, and emergency planning.
How Often Should Fire Alarms Be Tested?
The Responsible Person should ensure that fire alarms are tested weekly (or nominate someone else, such as a BAFE-registered fire protection company, to carry out the task on their behalf). The test will ensure that any faults are identified and corrected and that everyone in the building recognises the audible warning.
Different call points should be tested in rotation to ensure they are all checked and that employees are aware that a test will be taking place at a stated time. Tests should be recorded, with additional notes of any defects found and the actions taken to remedy them.
When Should Fire Alarms Be Professionally Inspected?
A fire alarm system should be inspected by a qualified professional at least every six months to comply with BS 5839 regulations. The inspection will include a comprehensive series of checks to ensure that no faults are present in call points, alarms, the system control panel, circuitry, and batteries.
A report will be issued in the system logbook along with a servicing certificate.
What Should I Do If I Suspect A Fire Alarm System Fault?
If you believe that your fire alarms may be faulty, it is imperative to act quickly and not ignore the issue.
Your fire protection company should be immediately notified so that they can send a qualified technician to carry out an inspection. Any identified faults will be rectified, giving you and your team confidence that your building is protected against the dangers of smoke and fire.
Contact Us For Professional Fire Alarm Maintenance
At Rhino Fire Control, we provide specialist maintenance of fire protection equipment to minimise the risk of a fire occurring, safeguarding valuable assets, and ensuring legal obligations are met.
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