According to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 or RRO, all business premises must have ‘an appropriate fire detection system’. But aside from installing smoke detectors, heat detectors, alarm sounders, and other devices, it is also imperative to do fire alarm tests regularly. Otherwise, you cannot guarantee that those alarms will truly work during times of emergencies.
The UK government further recommends that all fire alarm and detection systems must be maintained as per the standards of British Standard BS 5839. As the building owner, you are required to perform frequent fire alarm testing. Failure to comply with the safety regulations could mean loss of property, insurance void, injuries, death, including punishments with minor penalties that reaches £5,000 and major penalties that lead to 2 years of imprisonment.
Fire alarm check is a very important procedure that must be part of your safety measures, especially if you own a huge and multiple-story commercial property.
- How often should you do fire alarm tests?
According to regulations, your fire alarm system must be ‘adequately maintained.’ There’s no mention as to how frequently you should perform fire alarm testing. You can do a weekly test to visually inspect the system and its devices and identify any issues, but of course, this is not enough. You need a thorough investigation of your system to know its real condition. BS 5839 recommends inspection of fire alarm system every six months. Some service providers advise getting quarterly services if you have large premises and are using a comprehensive fire alarm system.
- How do you carry out weekly fire alarm tests?
Plan the tests ahead of time. Make sure to assign one fire alarm call-point to test each week. During the inspection, check if the alarm sounds and the panel receives the signal. Do not forget to record the tests in your logbook, writing down all the important observations.
- Who should perform the test?
BS 5839 also recommends hiring a competent person to make sure that your system is properly tested. You need a qualified electrician who can perform a comprehensive check-up and inspection and supply fire alarm testing certificate.