It’s all well and good having a fire alarm installed at your property but if you are not having it serviced it could be a waste of time. Fire alarms alert occupants of a fire in time for everyone to get to safety, its so important how quickly you react to the situation, every second the fire will become more aggressive but with a fully functioning, serviced fire alarm you will be alerted at any indication of a fire, allowing for more time. Within this article we will talk about the maintenance of your fire alarm.

There are different types of fire alarms, manual and automatic. The manual system requires someone to activate the alarm achieved using a pull station or a call point which then sounds the alarm. Whereas the automatic system is activated automatically at the first sense of a fire via heat or smoke.

The most common causes of fire in workplaces are, faulty equipment such as loose wires, overheating, a messy work environment, human error and arson.

Fire alarm legal obligations

All premises in England and Wales which are used for non-domestic purposes must abide by the regulations set out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which covers all aspects. Commercial properties require fire alarms except from smaller premises who do not store high risk substances and if they are small enough to see a fire developing.

The regulations set out provide every effort is made to ensure a fire alarm is suitably maintained, regularly serviced by someone who is competent and certified within the industry standards. Someone who is competent is someone who has sufficient knowledge and understands the different types of alarms and how they work and a clear understanding of the legal requirements including the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Servicing an alarm is also an obligation for employers in order to keep their employees and workplace safe.

How often should a fire alarm be serviced?

The British standards set that inspection should be completed at least every 6 months. However, this is amplified for those in larger premises where there are multiple fire alarms meaning a higher risk of fire emergencies. There are two types of inspection which must take place, inspections by the responsible person and inspections by the professional trained engineer. The user inspections are carried out more regularly this being weekly and monthly however the in-depth tests are every 6 months.

As part of your testing, you should document the processes so that you are up to date in case of a visit from an authority and shows you are on top of your legal responsibilities. These include the date, time and cause of why your fire alarm was triggered, any faults found and what was done to repair them and finally any evacuation drills.

The common problems with fire alarms include the panel displaying a fault, panel making a sound, no power and the alarm sounding when there is no fire, this is when you should seek further assistance.

Overall, it is so important to be regularly testing your fire alarm to save lives and to abide by the legal requirements. If you are worried and require more assistance, contact fire system maintenance experts.