A fire alarm system is installed to protect you, your employees, customers and your premises. Everyone depends on this system functioning properly, so that in the event of a fire it acts as an early warning system, enabling safe and timely evacuation of the premises.
Carrying out regular fire alarm maintenance is a must for business owners. You have a legal obligation to ensure that the fire alarm system is in good working order and adheres to current regulatory standards. Failing to maintain your alarm system properly is also likely to invalidate your insurance policy, so you may not be covered in the event of a fire.
Other benefits of regular fire alarm maintenance are minimising false alarms. The cost of false alarms is a big concern for fire and rescue services and can also affect your business financially due to possible future charging for attendance by fire and rescue services and increased insurance premiums.
We have added this blog to provide further information on how to test and maintain your fire alarm so that your employees and premises are protected.
Who is responsible for organising a fire alarm service?
The key piece of legislation that sets out the fire safety requirements for businesses in the UK is the Regulatory Reform Act (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Business owners, employers, landlords, facilities managers and anyone else considered to be a “responsible person” within a company are obliged to ensure that their firms act in accordance with the regulations.
The Standard recommends that the system user appoints “a single, named member of the premises management to supervise all matters pertaining to the fire detection and fire alarm system”. This places responsibility firmly in the hands of one individual, whose duty is to tell staff of risks, ensure that all relevant occupants of the protected premises are aware of any specific role and / or responsibility assigned to them in respect of the fire detection and fire alarm system, maintain safety measures, plan for an emergency, provide staff with information and training, and keep a logbook up to date with tests and faults.
How often should your fire alarm system get serviced?
If you have a fire alarm system, it is essential that you keep it in working order and carry out regular maintenance checks. The safety standard – BS 5839, states that fire alarms should be tested every week and fully serviced at least once every six months. However, for large or high-risk businesses it may be advisory to service these quarterly as the fire alarm system may be more complex and contain more components.
How to Maintain a Fire Alarm System
It is a requirement of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to ensure any person or organisation contracted to provide fire alarm maintenance services is competent to do so.
The responsible person can carry out routine testing and upkeep of fire safety equipment, whereas further maintenance or full fire alarm services should be carried out by a competent person – someone who is appropriately trained and who understands all aspects of fire safety and the relevant laws.
You should also have a Fire Log Book where all records, updates and progress relating to your onsite fire safety can be logged. The responsible person should organise all necessary maintenance and tests and ensure they are recorded in the Fire Log Book.
An example of an effective fire equipment maintenance schedule would be:
A Weekly Check –
A weekly test is required by the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 and ensures there are no major faults in the fire alarm system, and familiarises occupants with the sound of the warning signal.
It is recommended to carry out the test at a set time and day every week during work hours so that occupants are aware of the test. The routine test time should not normally exceed one minute, so that the occupants of the premises can learn to distinguish between this weekly alarm test and an actual fire alarm.
In systems with multiple manual call points, a different one should be tested each week, so that all are eventually included in the schedule of testing over a period of time.
The responsible person should also ensure all automatic locking systems and electromagnetic fire doors release and close properly before making sure the system resets correctly.
Finally, enter the date and time of the test along with faults in the logbook.
A Monthly Check –
It is also recommended you carry out a monthly test to make sure your alarm system is working sufficiently.
If the standby power supply to the system includes an automatically started emergency generator, this should be tested monthly. Likewise, check any vented batteries if they are used by your alarm as standby power.
Professional Inspection & Servicing
Further to the weekly and monthly tests that you must carry out, your fire alarm system must also undergo professional maintenance at least every 6 months to keep your system compliant with BS 5839 regulations. This service must be undertaken by a ‘competent person’ – a professional fire alarm testing company or organisation.
They will inspect:
- Logbook and false alarm records
- Changes to the building and system
- Manual call points and alarms
- The visual display on fire alarm panel
- Control panel functions
- Devices connected to the system
- Accessibility of call points
- Batteries and vented batteries
- ARC (alarm receiving centre)
- Fault indicators and circuits
The recommended period between successive inspection and servicing visits should not exceed six months – failure to implement this recommendation will result in the system not being compliant with BS 5839-1 standards.
Regular Fire Alarm Maintenance – How Can Highlander Security Systems Help?
We provide fire alarm system maintenance services to businesses in Ayrshire and the whole of Scotland, so you can ensure that your systems are well-maintained and that your company is complying with the law.
We can provide you with routine bi-annual alarm testing & servicing and offer an emergency 24-hour response call-out service.
If you need advice on any of our security products, , whether it is intruder alarm systems, CCTV camera systems or fire alarm systems, we can help you find the perfect solution for your home / business and your budget.
Or if you would like a free security survey, then please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us, we are available 24/7.