Most businesses understand they have a duty of care when it comes to protecting their premises and the people who use it. Putting in the right procedures, however, can often be confusing when it comes to fire safety, particularly the installation and ongoing maintenance of fire alarms.
Fire alarms should be installed in compliance with the British Standard BS 5839. Carrying out regular services is a part of your obligation as a business or organisation under the Health and Safety Regulations.
How Often Should You Service Your Fire Alarm System
You may have a range of different fire alarms on your property depending on its size, location and the type of building and what it is used for.
You can choose conventional alarms, those that have an electronic address, so that you can quickly understand where a fire has broken out, and those that are Wi-Fi connected. There are also different categories and grades of fire alarm system.
Making sure you have the appropriate devices fitted in your property is vital which is why you should always have them installed by a professional who is compliant with British Standard BS 5839.
If you are not sure that you have the appropriate fire alarms, carrying out a fire risk assessment will help identify your requirements in greater detail.
How Often Should You Service Your Fire Alarm System?
According to the fire safety regulations, you should make every effort to ensure your system is adequately maintained. Some businesses take this to mean inspections once every year.
BS 5839, however, suggests that your fire alarm system should be inspected at least every 6 months. If you have larger premises, where there may be more alarms and more complex systems, the recommendation is for quarterly inspections to be carried out.
The reasons for having alarms serviced is to ensure that a) they work, and b) you don’t suffer from problems such as false alarms. The latter is likely to cause greater cost because the fire service gets called out (which can result in a cost being passed onto your business in the event of a false alarm) but it also desensitizes employees to the alarm which could be potentially dangerous.
While annual, biannual or quarterly inspections of your fire detection and alarm service by a professional may be pertinent, you also need to carry out regular tests on site.
Testing Your Alarms
A service of your alarm system is intended to check that everything is working properly. In addition to this, you should be carrying out weekly testing as a spot check. This is where the alarms are switched on and any problems identified. As a business, you have a legal obligation to ensure that you have a fully working alarm system on site and that also means someone should be designated to carry out the testing.
BS 5839 recommends that this is performed on a weekly basis and documented in the fire log book. It’s a routine that most businesses employ. If you are planning to do this on a less regular basis, however, you need to provide a reason to investigating fire safety officers that may pay a visit to your premises. If a fault is spotted with the alarms during these tests, you should call the company who services your system immediately.
If you have any concerns regarding the service and maintenance of your fire alarm system give us a call on 0330 6600264 or email [email protected]
Until next time… stay safe