Do you know your fire safety signs?

Fire safety signs provide vital health and safety information in order to warn anyone that enters a building of potential hazards. They also provide instructions to ensure all staff and visitors to your premises are aware of how to avoid those hazards.

Safe Condition Signs

What are they used for?

These should be used to signpost emergency exits, escape routes and essential first aid equipment.

When should they be used?

They should be used to show where the emergency exits are and how to operate the doors on the escape routes, for example, ‘Push bar to open’.

What do they look like?

These signs can be green squares or rectangles with text as well as pictograms.

It’s really common to see the wrong signs used in buildings. It’s easy to accidentally use a green ‘Fire exit’ sign on the exterior of a fire exit door when it should be a blue ‘Fire exit keep clear’ sign. It’s worth seeking the advice of a professional when you first place your signs. That way you know it’s right and can keep it that way.

Prohibition Signs

What are they used for?

These signs are used to reinforce instructions that prohibit dangerous activities.

Where should they be used?

Inside your building to reinforce the prohibition of dangerous activities. The Health and Safety Regulations 1996 list these signs as a requirement.

What do they look like?

The signs are a red circle with a red diagonal line crossing through it. There will be a pictogram in black behind the diagonal line that indicates the nature of the prohibition. A good example is the ‘No smoking’ sign used as an example above.

Fire Equipment Signs

What are they used for?

To show the location of fire safety equipment and fire alarm activation points.

When should they be used?

Wherever the location of this equipment is not obvious or can become unclear in low light conditions. For peace of mind, we’d recommend signposting all areas where fire safety equipment is stored and all fire alarm activation points. This is worth getting right. It’s relatively low cost and you’ll be glad you spent the small amount of extra money when you’re able to identify your key areas easily in the event of a fire.

What do they look like?

The signs are a red rectangle or square with white pictures or text.

According to British Standard and ISO requirements, there are prescribed graphic design specifications for safety signs. Additionally, they are required to be visible under all material conditions, so you must always choose photoluminescent (glow in the dark) signs where it’s practical.

If you are unsure, you have the correct signage in your building, speak to us today at Swift Fire & Safety.

Why do Fire Extinguishers Require Regular Maintenance? 

Fire extinguishers play an essential role in the suppression of small fires in the workplace. They are one of the first lines of defence against fire and it’s the responsibility of the company owner to make sure that all their extinguishers are serviced. Of course, it’s also just common sense to check on potentially life-saving devices regularly. 

But what are some reasons that a fire extinguisher might fail? And how can we protect against them? Here’s what to look out for. 

Corrosion 

The main cylinder of the extinguisher is made from aluminium or steel. It is designed to withstand the internal forces of the pressurising gas.  Over time, the metal may start to corrode or deteriorate from stress and this will compromise the structural integrity of the cylinder and cause the extinguisher to fail. 

Your fire extinguisher service package will include regular evaluations of both the internal and external conditions of your fire extinguisher cylinder. 

Tampering  

People, especially children, are understandably curious about fire extinguishers. If your fire extinguishers are in plain sight, there’s a chance that somebody could have tampered with them. Tampering can be anything from loosening the hose, removing the headcap seal or the locking pin, moving the extinguisher away from its designated point or discharging some of its contents. Sometimes the tampering is not intentional, like when an extinguisher is moved for cleaning or used as a door stop. But these things can still render the extinguisher unfit for purpose and non-compliant with the British Standard. 

Your fire extinguishers will be checked for tampering during servicing. However, if you suspect that an extinguisher has been tampered with, you should call out your service provider to check and rectify any problems immediately, even if your service is not due. You might want to look into tamper resistant extinguisher cabinets or extinguisher covers if the problem persists. 

Hose Blockage 

The discharge hose on your fire extinguishers can become blocked by debris or insects over time. This can result in impaired function if you need to use it. The hose and connector O-rings can also deteriorate with time. 

A service from a qualified engineer will include inspection of the fire extinguisher hose and any compression O-rings will be regularly replaced.  

Leakage 

A fire extinguisher’s weight is clearly marked on each maintenance label. This is because the extinguisher’s weight is the easiest way to tell if the contents are as they should be. During a regular inspection, an engineer will weigh the extinguisher and compare it to its weight from the last inspection. If the extinguisher’s weight has dropped more than 10%, this is a clear indication of a leak, and the engineer will investigate what has caused it. 

Many extinguishers also have a pressure gauge in the valve assembly, and this will also be tested during a routine service.  

General Wear 

A fire extinguisher will experience general ‘wear and tear’ over the years, from fading labels to paint scuffs. 

This might not seem like too big of a problem, but the consequences of this damage can be much greater than you’d think. As the maintenance label on the extinguishers become faded the important information that the service technician needs become illegible. If the instruction label is damaged then a user might choose the wrong extinguisher for the type of fire, or not be able to read the instructions for use. 

Your service engineer will ensure that all the labelling on your fire equipment is clear and legible. 

Fire extinguisher servicing and maintenance is required by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. 

Talk to us at Swift Fire & Safety and we will help to inform your requirements and provide your servicing and maintenance.  

Do you need a Fire Extinguisher in your Home?

There are so many ways that a fire could start in your own home, from faulty electrical goods, candles, and leaving cooking appliances unattended – just to name a few.

When in an emergency situation, you absolutely must call 999, but having a fire extinguisher in your home could help you to put out a small, contained fire before it becomes out of control. Installing fire extinguishers in your home is an effective and affordable way to increase fire safety.

What are the biggest fire hazards at home?

There are various different types of fire extinguishers that can be used depending on the nature of the fire. Before choosing which kind of product you would want in your home, you may need to consider what they would most likely be used for.

1. Cooking appliances

Almost 50% of all domestic fires are caused by cooking appliances. There are many ways a fire can start in the kitchen, ranging from loose clothing & tea towels getting into contact with the hob to grease and fat igniting while you are cooking.

Fire blankets are commonly installed in kitchens and work well for putting out fires in a fryer or pan by smothering the oxygen that fuels the fire.

2. Smoking

Smoking in the home is a major fire hazard. If your cigarette has not been disposed of correctly, you risk starting a fire. Smoking indoors is a bad idea – for example, if you fall asleep before the cigarette is out, you could put yourself and others in really serious danger. The risk factors and possible life changing scenarios are endless, so if you must smoke, outdoors is best.

Even if you just vape or use e-cigarettes then there are still fire risks involved. If there are issues with the batteries, the product is faulty or you leave it charging too long, a fire can still be caused.

3. Electrical products

Electrical products that are faulty or counterfeit items that do not work properly, products being left on too long and overheating, or overloading extension leads & sockets are all prime examples of how an electrical fire could easily start.

You should always ensure that any electrical products you use have been safety checked. This can be verified by locating the British or European safety mark on the item you have purchased.

4. Candles and open flames

You should always take extra care each and every time there is any kind of naked flame in your home. Make sure you are using a fireguard if you have an open fireplace. Candles should be placed in a non-flammable container where they cannot be knocked over. Children, pets, and flammable objects should be kept far away from open flames and these should all be put out before you leave the room or go to bed.

Having a fire extinguisher in your home could make an enormous difference in an emergency and improve your fire safety. For more information please give our friendly team a call on 01733 602955 or visit our contact page.

What Needs to be PAT Tested?

PAT testing stands for ‘Portable Appliance Testing’ and is mandatory for every business using electrical equipment of any kind in order to reduce the risk of faults and lower the chances of a fire.

Faulty electricals are one of the most common causes of commercial fires in the UK, so it’s imperative that you know which appliances need to be tested in your workplace.
There’s no specific law that dictates that PAT testing should be carried out, but there are several regulations that cover the need for your premises to meet safety requirements – including the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

PAT Testing 101

It’s not only portable items that require testing. Items that need testing – and the kind of testing that they will need – are decided by three different classes and seven categories.
Class 1 means it requires a full PAT testing, Class 2 means it requires a PAT insulation test and Class 3 means it doesn’t need testing at all (though charging cables may need to be). The categories of items that require testing are:

– Fixed appliances
– Stationary appliances
– IT appliances
– Moveable appliances
– Portable appliances
– Cables and chargers
– Handheld appliances

In order to help you protect your employees and comply with government regulations as a business – we’ve put together a list of the common items found in different business sectors that may require testing.

Construction

There are plenty of manual tools and materials on a construction site as well as plenty of handheld items. These should all have regular testing to ensure they are in good working order electrically. Some common construction site items that require PAT testing are:

– Power tools
– Power cables
– Charging systems
– Site kitchen appliances
– Fridges
– Ovens
– Heaters
– Lighting

Offices

Office spaces are usually filled with all kinds of electrical items and appliances. It can be a varied and eclectic mix dependent upon the industry and the personality of the business, but here are some commonly used items in offices to have PAT tested:
– Computers
– Laptop cables
– Photocopiers
– Floor standing printers
– Electric heaters
– Kettles
– Extension leads
– Microwaves
– Toasters
– Fridges

Healthcare Facilities

Again, different facilities have different appliances, but there’s often a wide range of more complex equipment. The following are just a few items to think about for care home or hospital PAT testing:

– Computers and monitors
– Televisions
– Defibrillators
– Electric beds and chairs
– Heart rate monitors
– Electric scales
– Pumps
– Hoists

For staff, patients and the general public, fire safety should be a top priority for hospitals and medical facilities. A risk assessment can help to identify any potential fire safety risks.
Warehouses

Warehouses might be predominantly used for storage, but electrical equipment is usually always present and should be PAT tested to reduce the risk of faults that could cause a fire. Some common items in warehouses for PAT testing are:

– Telephones
– Floor standing printers
– Portable tools
– Charging cables
– Extension leads
Warehouses and factories should be extra vigilant about fire safety, especially when you are working with large equipment and machinery.

Schools

There might not be as much specialist equipment as an office, but schools do contain plenty of electrical equipment and devices and accidental damage to such objects is much more likely due to the high numbers of young children daily. See the following list of examples of common items in a school that need PAT testing:

– Televisions
– Computers and monitors
– Extension leads
– Photocopiers
– Floor standing printers
– Crating appliances
– Glue guns
– Sewing machines
– Kitchen appliances
– Fridges
– Ovens
– Heaters

This is by no means an exhaustive list of items that require PAT testing, but it should give you a good idea of the kinds of things you’re looking for. Your fire safety risk assessment should include a full list of every item in your workplace that requires regular PAT testing. If you’re unsure about whether your business requires PAT testing, or if you’d like to arrange for PAT testing at your premises, simply contact our team today.

Why are nursing home call bell systems so important?

There is no button in a hospital or care home that is more vital to the service user than their call bell. It is imperative that this button is always in good working order, because patients heavily rely upon it, often in moments of their lives when they are at their most vulnerable. They need to be able to trust that the alarm system works and that when they need something a nurse will respond promptly. This is especially important in emergency situations. If the patient call bell is faulty, then this could cause massive risk to the health, wellbeing and even the lives of the people your facility serves.

Being admitted to a hospital or moving into a nursing home can be a frightening experience. People often find it daunting, because generally, it means that either there is something wrong with your health or you are losing your independence. People love the comfort of their own homes, and nobody wants to give that up unless they absolutely must, not for any length of time. People who have had their independence all of their lives often don’t enjoy being waited on by nurses and many express feelings of being a burden. A good, reliable call bell system coupled with friendly and responsive nurses all help to make people feel at ease during their stay. Without these things, patient transition to a hospital or care home can be made worse.

Lack of a reliable call system can lead to the person attempting to get out of bed themselves and attend to their business without the help of a nurse. This is the leading cause of service users falling in nursing homes and can have a severe impact on the health of the individual.

Patients falls might be more likely in older patients, but anyone who is unwell or injured can have a fall. Some medications or surgical procedures can lead to a person feeling drowsy. A fall can lead to broken bones and a more extended stay in hospital.

It has been reported 40% of falls in hospital happen because patients attempt to go to the toilet unassisted. In some cases, this could be because the patient call bell is not in good working order, and the patient felt they had no choice but to go to the toilet themselves.

Having a regularly maintained nurse call system is vital to ensuring a safe stay in the hospital or care home and can save lives.

When was the last time that you checked your patient call buttons are working?

At Swift Fire and Safety, we install and maintain patient call bell systems in nursing homes and hospitals across the country. Talk to us today if you feel you need an update or for all your call bell system maintenance needs.

What’s the History of Fire Safety Regulation in the UK?

It’s necessary for all businesses to be aware of fire safety legislation, but before getting involved in any detail, it can be useful to have an understanding of the basics. So, we’ve put together this guide for you to help you do just that.

The fire safety statutory provisions that we currently have in place in the UK have evolved from measures that have been introduced slowly over many years. The majority of fire safety legislation was introduced following a major fire or fires with high mortality rates. It is known as stable door legislation, because it was created in response to an event that has passed.
The main fire safety legislative order in the UK is called The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

This order should have come into force on the 1st April 2006, but was delayed until the 1st October 2006. It was created in response to a call to simplify and rationalise the UK fire regulations at the time. The previous UK fire safety legislation was amended and reformed using the Regulatory Reform Act 2001. The new order was designed to provide a minimum fire safety standard in non-domestic premises such as places of work.

All premises (or parts of premises) that are used for non-domestic purposes, with a few exceptions, are subjected to the Order. Usually, a person is designated as the Responsible Person for that property. Often it is the employer or the owner that holds this responsibility. The Responsible Person is required to carry out mandatory fire safety duties, which include ensuring the general fire precautions are satisfactory and carrying out a fire risk assessment. The Responsible Persons can have competent persons to assist them with performing their legal duties. If more than five persons are employed at the premises, it must be a written risk assessment.

What was the previous general fire safety legislation?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 replaced previous fire safety legislation and any fire certificate issued under the Fire Precautions Act 1972 ceased having an effect. If a fire certificate was issued for your premises or the premises were built to building regulations under the previous regulations, then most people found they didn’t need to make too many changes to their existing fire protection measures in order to comply with the new order.

However, they still had to carry out a fire risk assessment and keep it up to date to ensure that all their fire precautions were up to date and satisfactory. It required a mind-set shift in order to take into account the wider scope of the new order. Premises were also subject to the provisions of a licence or registration in cases where the fire authority wished to review their risk assessment as part of the licensing approval process.

The new, risk-assessment based regime required those persons responsible for premises used for carrying of a trade, business or other undertakings, for profit or not (including the self-employed and also members of the public) to take action to prevent fires, and protect them against death and injury should a fire occur.
This was a similar duty to the one imposed on employers by the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997, but under the new order, the duty was extended beyond workplaces to include the majority of premises to which people have access.

To support the Order, The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLC) published a suite of eleven new guidance documents. They gave advice on most types of premises where the duty to undertake a fire safety risk assessment under the new order applied.

To this day, using the guidance contained in the Fire Safety Advice Centre should be sufficient to meet the minimum standards that are required by United Kingdom Legislation.
If you feel overwhelmed by fire safety regulation and are unsure about whether or not you are meeting requirements, or what your responsibilities are, then do give us a call and we’ll walk you through it and let you know what we can offer to support your fire safety needs.

How Have CCTV Systems Evolved?

CCTV stands for closed-circuit television and was first used in World War 2 when some German scientists created a camera inside a box so that they could safely observe A4 rocket launches.
More than 75 years since they were created, CCTV cameras are still mainly used to record footage for the purposes of surveillance and crime detection. The world has changed massively since then with technological leaps like the internet and smartphones, but not that much has changed in terms of CCTV utility and architecture. The vast majority of cameras today are used to record footage that then has to be analysed by humans if an incident occurs. This is a very slow process, it’s also costly and requires human time, attention and huge amounts of data storage.

Recent developments in machine learning and camera quality mean that this is all likely to change soon. Instead of reacting to events retrospectively, we expect hardware and software to soon be capable of automatically detecting and notifying people of incidents and important events happening within the camera’s range.

Let’s have a look at the most significant advancements in the transformation process of CCTV and see what’s in store for the near future.

The first analog systems
The first documented CCTV camera to ever exist was in 1942. It wasn’t able to record and store data, so it required monitoring constantly.

VCR analog cameras
VCR (videocassette recorders) were widely rolled out in the 1970s. Images were stored in 8 hour long tapes and had to be manually replaced.

Hybrid systems: DVR analog cameras
In the mid 90’s the DVR (digital video recording) came about. This system digitized and compressed the video, storing the information in a hard disk.

Network based DVR
Later DVRs were fitted with an Ethernet port for network connectivity. This allowed videos to be monitored remotely using computers.

Video encoders
Video encoders (or video servers) were the next big step in the technology. The most important modernisation is that with this system the video management is operated through the software installed in a computer.

Fully Digital IP Cameras
This system is fully digital and has no analog component. This has significantly simplified the installation and maintenance of the system. It now has computer power built in, allowing for the use of preinstalled applications in the camera. These systems can synchronize with other devices.

The future of CCTV

The CCTV industry has experienced some changes over the years, but drastic improvements are just around the corner. To this day, surveillance cameras require a human security operator to view the footage and determine appropriate actions. This should be rapidly automated, especially in larger areas where the sheer volume of footage means it is impossible to be 100% observed. In terms of security, automation would allow us to act on incidents happening in real time as opposed to using the footage for investigative functions. It would save massively on costs, but also significantly increase the chances of us preventing incidents from taking place. In some cases, this would save lives. Real time analytics could also be utilised in a variety of other sectors like healthcare, education and retail.

Do I need an Intruder Alarm System for my Business?

All companies have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of their staff and premises – and that’s why business alarm systems are not only important, but essential. They can also save you an awful lot of money in the event of an intrusion!

The type and use of an alarm varies, but what remains the same across the range of commercial security systems is that the function of an alarm is to deter potential intruders and alert staff to possible dangers.

A commercial alarm system has a series of sensors connected to a main control unit. When activated the control unit sends alerts, which can be received as messages, be sound-only or can be monitored by an external centre.

If the worst should happen and your company experiences a break-in, an alarm is often the quickest way to find out.

So how do you choose which type of system is best for your commercial property?

First You Need to Know the Jargon

Here’s a quick guide to some of the abbreviations that are used frequently around commercial intruder alarms:

  • Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) – For monitored business alarm systems; the security company’s centre which monitors the alarm and investigates if they are activated.
  • National Security Inspectorate (NSI) – The leading organisation in the UK for security and fire protection company certification. They offer two tiers of awards to organisations – Silver and Gold.
  • Police Unique Reference Number (URN) – A specific number attached to a property, so that it can be identified by the police. It will be used when an alarm has been triggered and the ARC has informed the police that they need to respond. This is only available to alarms that have been installed by UKAS accredited organisations.
  • Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB) – A certifying body for organisations offering security protection, including alarms.
  • United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) – The only national body in the UK to assess organisations that offer certification and installation. They are recognised by the government and test to globally recognised levels. The NSI and SSAIB have UKAS accreditation.

What are the different types of commercial intruder alarms?

There are two main types of alarms: wired and wireless.

  • Wired

Wired alarms use cables to connect. They are the older of the technologies and used to be seen as the more reliable choice, although these both wired and wireless systems are considered reliable. This type of system requires less frequent battery changes, but because it’s a wired system, the structure is likely to be visible. A wired system is fixed to the property, so if you plan to keep your business in the same location for a long time, or you own the property, then a wired system could be ideal. You might also benefit from a wired system if your business is situated in an area that would experience too much interference for a wireless system to work properly.

  • Wireless

A wireless alarm system uses radio frequency or WiFi to connect the sensors. This offers greater flexibility, and a quicker and easier installation process. Wireless systems require more frequent battery changes in the devices than their wired counterparts, but offer a more sleak look.

Wireless alarms are well suited to growing businesses, as well as businesses that are planning a move. If you would prefer a less visible system, then wireless is the way forward for you.

How will my alarm system signal?

There are two main ways in which an alarm can be raised once the system has been triggered.

  • Bell-only

This type of alarm uses sounders only to raise the alarm, although it may be accompanied by flashing lights as well. The system needs to be deactivated manually, and relies on the would-be intruders to be deterred by the sounds or for people that are passing to take action.

Bell-only alarms could be suitable if you are often nearby your business premises to hear the alarm. For example, if you have a workshop that runs near or in your home. It could also be suitable if your business is on a busy street with high and regular footfall.

  • Monitored

With this option, in addition to the bell-only alarm features, the alarm is monitored externally by an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). This centre monitors activity, and can also be connected to police response.

A monitored alarm system is better for unoccupied and high risk premises. Knowing your business is being monitored externally gives you extra peace of mind.

What are the benefits of commercial alarm systems?

  • 24/7 security
  • Sensors detect movement
  • Act as a deterrent
  • Alerts others through sound and lights
  • Monitored systems connect to ARCs for investigation or referral
  • Follow staff work times
  • Connect to alarm activity remotely via an app, if possible

Give us a call at Swift Fire and Safety today to discuss these benefits further and find the right alarm system for you.

How to Test the Fire Alarms in your Workplace

A lot of businesses are not testing their fire alarms as frequently or thoroughly as they should be. This is usually not a deliberate attempt to be negligent or cut corners, but because most people mistakenly believe that fires in the workplace are quite a rare occurrence.

When in fact the Fire and Rescue services in England attended 15,815 ‘primary fires’ in non-dwelling buildings in 2016/17 – that’s more than 300 work place fires a week! These incidents resulted in 17 fatalities and 892 non-fatal casualties.

To prevent your business premises from becoming part of these terribly sad statistics, it’s crucial that you maintain your fire alarms properly and test them regularly. Let us take you through what the fire testing regulations are and how frequently you should be carrying out tests.

Is a Fire Alarm a Legal Requirement for a UK Business?

There are different legal requirements for every country within the UK. Each country’s regulations offer a different level of protection, but the short answer is . . . yes. A fire alarm IS a legal requirement in every UK country.

For England and Wales, check the regulations under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

For Scotland, check the regulations under Part 3 of The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005

For Northern Ireland, check the regulations under The Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010

If you are in control of a building, even as a business tenant, you are classified as a responsible person and you must ensure that you are adhering to the regulation in fire safety for your country. This will always mean that you must make sure there is a suitable system for detecting fires and warning the people in the building of them. You must also make sure that this system is tested regularly and in the correct way. Each fire alarm system will have a different testing procedure, so you will need to refer to the guidelines sent to you by the manufacturer of speak with the company that installed it for you. Once you get into regular testing, the procedure will become second nature to you.

How often should I test my fire alarm?

In England, it is a legal requirement that your fire detection system is fully inspected and serviced every 6 months. Fire alarm tests to ensure the system is working should be carried out weekly.

How to test a Fire Alarm

As previously mentioned, fire alarm systems will differ depending on the make, model and the type of building they protect. But in general, the procedure is usually carried out as follows:

  • Inform all people in the building that a fire alarm test will be carried out imminently
  • Check that the alarm control panel has a valid connection to the ARC (alarm receiving centre) and put it into ‘test’ mode
  • Make sure you have the manual call point key with you, as you’ll need it to reset the system following the test
  • Activate a manual call point, wait for the alarm sounders and use the key to reset it.
  • Go back to the alarm control panel, check that the manual call point location is correct and then silence the alarm sounders
  • Record the results of your fire alarm test in your fire logbook
  • Contact the ARC and confirm that they received your fire signal
  • Reset the alarm control panel and take it out of test mode

Swift Fire & Safety is one of the UK’s most responsive fire protection and security companies. We will ensure that your premises have a fully-functional alarm system that meets your specific needs and legal obligations.

Contact us today and let us help you keep your business and employees safe.

How Often Should You Have Your Commercial Fire Alarm System Serviced?

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