An advanced fire alarm system can help detect and identify fires in their earliest stages. As a result, occupants will have more time to evacuate, and the fire is more likely to be stopped before it causes irreparable damage. But even the most high-tech system can develop faults and flaws over time. Without the right testing, servicing and maintenance, these faults might not be spotted and fixed. The result? A series of annoying false alarms at best, and a serious risk to life at worst.
Sovereign Fire & Security work with commercial and construction businesses as well as domestic and private clients to provide comprehensive security and protection. With the latest technology, years of practical expertise, and a commitment to outstanding customer care, we make it easier than ever to safeguard your home or business.
In this blog, we explain why fire alarm testing, servicing and maintenance is absolutely critical.
Why is Fire Alarm Testing, Servicing & Maintenance Important?
By making sure your alarms are working, you’ll safeguard your premises against fire, and ensure everyone is alerted in the event of an emergency. An effective alarm system will provide more time to evacuate the building in an emergency, leading to fewer injuries and fatalities. It’s also more likely that the fire will be managed before it causes irreversible damage to your building and property.
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Helps Identify Faults
Of course, sometimes your test or service won’t confirm functionality at all, but alert you to a crucial fault or problem with your devices. This means you can take steps now to get everything back in working order, fixing the fault before it becomes a problem, and a fire goes undetected!
To extend the previous point, effective servicing will establish if there are any weaknesses in your fire safety due to outdated technology. That means you can upgrade your system before being forced to through costly and dangerous faults, flaws, and breakages.
Avoids False Alarms
False alarms can be costly, disruptive, and result in a kind of ‘alarm deafness’ among employees where they do not react promptly in an emergency. By making sure your alarm system is fully functional, you’ll minimise the frequency of these annoying incidents.
As per UK regulations, anyone who is an owner, employer, landlord, occupier, or in an otherwise ‘responsible’ role, must provide adequate building fire safety. Regular testing and maintenance of fire alarms will ensure your premises meets this legal requirement.
Keeps Insurance Valid
Poor management of your fire alarm system and improper maintenance could mean that in the event of a fire, your insurance is not actually valid. Keeping on top of testing and servicing will ensure you are adequately covered if the worst happens.
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Is Fire Alarm Testing, Servicing & Maintenance a Legal Requirement?
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires the responsible person for a building to ensure that the premises and its fire safety equipment “are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”
Though the regulations do not provide specific rules as to how this should be done, the UK Government recommends following the guidelines set down in BS 5839-1. Here it is advised that fire alarm systems undergo a full service at least once every 6 months, and regular testing is undertaken weekly. These regulations apply to most premises used for non-domestic purposes.
How Long Do Fire Alarms Last?
Depending on the quality of the technology you are using, fire alarm systems have a lifespan of around 10-15 years. That’s why it’s essential to keep on top of maintenance and testing, as you will be able to identify well in advance when your system needs replacing. The older the system, the more likely it is to require maintenance. More than that, with technology advancing all the time, older systems may not be providing the optimum level of cover your business needs.
Working with a specialist company like Sovereign Fire & Security to install and maintain your alarms can help increase their life. High quality devices, expert installation, and bespoke maintenance plans tailored to your organisation combine to ensure adequate functionality for as long as possible.
See more: How Do Smoke & Fire Alarms Work?
How Often Do Fire Alarm Systems Need to Be Serviced?
UK regulations do not set out a specific timescale for fire alarm systems to be serviced but call for adequate maintenance instead. To give an idea of what ‘adequate maintenance’ constitutes, they recommend adhering to BS 5839-1. This advises business owners, landlords, and other responsible people to have their alarm systems professionally tested at least twice a year.
If your site is large, complex, and has highly intricate fire alarm systems in place, it is generally considered necessary to increase the frequency of services to four times a year. For total clarity, talk to Sovereign Fire & Security. We can create a fire and security maintenance plan perfectly suited to your building and alarm system.
How Often Should You Test Your Fire Alarm?
Alongside a biannual or quarterly full service, fire alarm systems should also be regularly tested in house. This should be done at least once a week at the same time and include activation of a call point during normal working hours.
Once you have confirmed the alarm is functioning, you should quickly turn it off in order to ensure your employees can distinguish routine testing from a real emergency.
If you have multiple call points, each test should activate a different one until all have been checked. Then, the cycle repeats. On top of this, you should check that control panels, detectors, and circuits are fully functional, and test back up power supply and batteries on a monthly basis.
Essentially, you want to find out the answers to three vital questions:
- Do the alarms and standby batteries look to be in good working order?
- Do the devices sound an alarm when activated?
- Does this alert effectively link through to the control panel?
Tests and false alarms should be recorded in a logbook each time, with any faults that are uncovered promptly reported to your fire alarm system servicing provider. And, of course, visual checks should be done as frequently as possible – have a quick look every day!
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Specialist Fire Alarm System Servicing & Maintenance
Sovereign Fire & Security provide comprehensive alarm system servicing and maintenance perfectly tailored to your premises. We’re NSI Gold accredited and deliver only the highest standards of customer care. We can even take over a maintenance contract if you’re not getting the service you deserve.
To safeguard the longevity of your fire alarm system and guarantee your business’ compliance, talk to our team today.
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