Fire Alarm Maintenance FAQs

Here are a selection of the most frequently asked questions we receive about Fire Alarms and the maintenance. If you need further information regarding fire alarm maintenance or any of our other services please call us on 0330 6600264 or email [email protected]

Why do I need a fire alarm system?
Under the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations it states that all employers must carry out a Fire Risk Assessment which includes provision for giving warning in case of fire.
Why do I need to service my fire alarm system?
Fire Alarm testing is essential to ensure that the system is in full working order and is a requirement under BS5839 Part 1 2002. Failure to keep fire detection and alarm systems in good working order is a criminal offence.
What qualifications are required to carry out Fire Alarm Testing?
Servicing should be carried out by a competent person with sufficient training, experience, and knowledge to enable them to undertake the task.
Why do I need a minimum of 2 visits per year?
In order to comply with the minimum requirements of BS5839, 2 visits are scheduled to ensure the Fire system is operational including detection, sounders, internal batteries, etc. Testing can also be completed quarterly as well as six-monthly depending on the alarm system and the environment in which it is installed.
What does the engineer do when he visits?
The Engineer will ensure every call point and sounder, plus a minimum of 50% of the detection devices are working and the fire system as a whole is in good condition, including the battery backup system.
What types of smoke detectors are available?

There are 3 different types of smoke detectors:

Optical – work on the principal of infra-red light refracting off smoke particles entering the chamber. This makes the detectors more sensitive to smouldering fires such as modern fabrics or furnishings. Also more prone to false alarms from steam or dusty environments.

Beam Detectors – works as an infra-red beam is emitted from the transmitter (TX) to the receiver (RX), which detects any obstruction by smoke.

Ionisation – works on the principal of charred smoke particles passing between two electrodes causing a small current flow. This detector is more suited for fast flaming fires such as paper/wood. Also more prone to false alarms from burning smells outside kitchens etc.

What types of heat detectors are available?

There are 2 types of heat detectors:

Rate of rise – these detectors will respond to a sudden increase in temperature and also have a fixed element in case of a slow smouldering fire. Most suitable for areas where is a smoke detector is undesirable i.e. a staff room.

Fixed temperature – have a sensing element which operates the detector when a particular temperature is reached. This type of detector is ideal for rooms where a rate of rise detector would not be suitable such as a kitchen or a boiler room.

Why do I need a Fire alarm service contract?
This is a requirement of BS5839, the Fire Risk Assessment of your Premises and your legal requirements to your insurers.
What is British Standard 5839?
This is the British Standard that governs the service of a fire alarm system in the UK and forms part of English law.