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Fire Safety Guidance - Part 2 - Fire Detection and Guidance

This is the second of the weekly guides that you can add to your fire safety guidance documentation, this week we are going to cover fire detection and alarm systems.

All commercial properties are required by law to have a fully working fire alarm or system installed, the alarm is also required to be monitored and tested by a nominated responsible person. The responsible person should have had the right level of training in order to carry out all aspects of the test to ensure there are no failures.

If your insurance requires your alarm to be connected to an alarm receiving centre, it is important to contact them before and after any test to ensure the emergency services don’t attend and that the signal was received correctly.

All false alarms need to be recorded including anything from a malicious alarm, equipment false alarm, alarm with good intent or a general unwanted alarm. Mitigating action will then need be put in place to fix the problem and prevent reoccurring false alarms.

Checks are to include:

Panel inspection – Check the panel to ensure it is operating correctly, if any faults are found ensure that these are logged in the logbook and reported to the person/company responsible for maintenance asap.

Call point tests – At the same time each week complete a test on different call points during normal working hours.

Automatic door release checks – If there are doors that automatically release during an alarm, these should be also tested weekly alongside your weekly test.

Backup power check – Where emergency standby generators are present a test must be completed to simulate a power failure (one hour each month). If batteries are used as back up, then a visual inspection including electrolyte level is sufficient.

Visual inspection – Completion of visuals to the call points and detectors, this is to ensure that they are not obstructed, that a clear space of 500mm below is maintained and that there is no damage (including paint/dust).

Alarm engineer period inspections – The requirements for these inspections will depend on the type of system installed and they should be carried out by a fully trained and competent engineer. The recommended time between an inspection and service visits should not exceed 6 months. Always ensure that you are complaint to the British Standard.

Further information on British Standards can be found by visiting the British Standards website:

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