All business owners are required to protect their commercial properties and their staff when it comes to fire safety. But getting it right can be a really confusing process. There are so many protocols and procedures to follow – especially around the installation and continued maintenance of your fire alarm system.
The code of practice that must be adhered to when installing your fire alarm system is the British Standard BS 5839. Under the Fire Safety Order, you are obligated to carry out regular services as a business or organisations.
Fire alarm system are not all created equal and there are a number of different set ups depending on what your requirements are – including the location, size and type of the premises and what they are used for. For smaller buildings with a small number of people working inside, conventional alarms may be satisfactory. But for more extensive set ups, you might need an addressable system, so that you can quickly identify the location of a fire. Fire alarm system are categorised and can fall into different grades.
Choosing and installing the appropriate set up for your needs is vital. So, you must seek advice from and have the installation completed by a professional. If your unsure as to whether you have to correct system installed, you can have the same professional carry out a fire risk assessment. They will they be able to advise you if any changes need to be made.
The fire safety regulation only state that you should make every effort to adequately maintain your fire alarm system. A lot of companies believe that annual inspections are sufficient. However, BS 5839 actually suggests that these inspections should be carried out every six months. For larger properties with more complex systems, the recommendation is for quarterly inspections to take place.
Why does my fire alarm system need to be serviced?
The most important reason to make sure that you are up to date with your fire alarm maintenance is to ensure that they are in optimal working order, in case you should experience a fire at your commercial property. If a fire can be detected efficiently, it can be tackled more easily (if trained to do so) and your building can be evacuated – keeping your staff safe. Fire spreads fast, so if it’s missed on breaking out – the consequences can be truly devastating.
The other reason to have your services completed regularly is to ensure that you do not suffer from malfunctions such as false alarms. These can come at financial cost the business if the fire service is called to a false alarm. And they also desensitize employees to the alarm, which would be dangerous if they fail to respond to a genuine alarm.
In addition to the annual, biannual or quarterly professional inspections of your fire alarm system, you should also carry out regular on-site weekly tests.
How do I test my commercial fire alarm?
In addition to your professional service, you should carry out a weekly test. This is usually as simple as testing a different call point each week and will help identify if there are any problems. A member of staff should be designated as responsible for fire safety and ensure that these tests are carried out.
BS 5839 recommends that this is performed weekly and documented in an allocated fire log book. If you identify a fault during your weekly tests, you need to call the company that services your system immediately.
To talk through your fire system installation and maintenance requirements, get in touch with us at Swift Fire & Safety on 01733 602955