When Should Fire Alarms Be Tested?

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When Should Fire Alarms Be Tested?

Not sure when your fire alarms should be tested? Commercial fire alarms are subject to key regulations and standards which can help to define when and how often your system should be tested. In this month’s article, we’ll help you understand your legal obligations and who should be doing the testing.

Fire alarms are in place to help save lives, so it’s important that you understand how to best maintain your system regardless of whether you own any of the following commercial premises:

  • Office building
  • Warehouse
  • Educational facility
  • Health care facility
  • Bar or restaurant
  • Retail premises

Fire Alarm Testing Legal Requirements

As outlined in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, part 13, you are legally obligated “to the extent that is appropriate” to ensure your premises are “equipped with… fire detectors and alarms”. This covers your need to have a working fire alarm that suits your building, while part 17 covers the need to ensure the system is “maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair”. This means the responsible person must ensure the fire alarm system remains working in order to stay legally compliant.

While this might seem like a vague indication of testing duties, there are two types of maintenance, outlined in BS 5839 to help you meet your responsibilities (guidance for non-domestic premises are covered in BS 5839-1). This is a recognised British Standard code of practice that covers a variety of areas – specifically design, installation, commissioning and maintenance – for fire detection and alarms systems for buildings (non-domestic premises).

User Testing

This should be carried out once a week at a nominated time to test the alarm system via a manual call point. If staff in your building are not always present for this – where you have a day and a night shift perhaps – you should conduct a further monthly test to cover this. Should you have multiple manual call points, you will need to carry out a test on a different one each week to cover all points.

This testing should be carried out by a competent person or the responsible person where they have been trained to carry this out properly. This testing should include:

  • Visual inspection of the condition of the call point
  • Auditory inspection – does the alarm sound as it should?
  • Inspection of whether the link to an alarm centre works (where it exists)

You should note each test in a Fire Safety Log Book, documenting the date, time and any faults or issues. You should also note any changes to your system, including any faults and repairs. This will help to provide written evidence that you have been maintaining your system to remain legally compliant.

Third-party testing

Third-party testing should be carried out by a qualified, accredited engineer. According to BS 5839-1, this should be carried out every six months to ensure the system is fully inspected, including:

  • Visual inspection of all call points
  • Visual inspection of detectors and other devices
  • Inspection of changes to the layout of the building
  • Inspection of logbook
  • An investigation into any occupancy level changes 
  • An investigation into any changes to the use of the building
  • Checking any records of false alarms
  • Inspection of batteries, their connection and voltages
  • Any other checks and tests recommended by the equipment manufacturer

LW Safety Fire Alarms

If you’re looking for professional fire alarm maintenance for your building, look no further than LW Safety. We use a network of qualified engineers across Wembley, Harrow and Uxbridge. This means we can help you implement a bi-annual service and maintenance agreement so you have peace of mind and can remain compliant with the law.

We believe that preventative maintenance can help to save lives by spotting faults in equipment early. There’s no better way to catch these issues than with testing. Whatever system or model you have, we have expert engineers available to assist with professional, reliable services.

Book fire alarm maintenance and servicing today by calling our team. Alternatively, you can fill in our quick quote form with your details and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible to establish your needs.

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