Fire safety should always be a priority, especially in the workplace. Fire detection and warning systems are essential to safeguarding your building and its occupants.
However, it is not enough to just simply install the system.
Regular inspections and maintenance of the fire systems are necessary to ensure that it is working correctly and that all components are up to legislative standards.
Knowing how often to inspect your fire detection and warning system is key to maintaining a safe environment. Regular inspections are the only way to ensure that the system is in working order, can detect a fire quickly and effectively, and provide an early warning to those in the building.
Understanding how often fire detection and warning systems should be checked and the importance of regular inspection ensures that your insurer is satisfied that your building and its occupants are protected and prepared for any potential fire emergency.
What is a Fire Detection & Warning System?
A fire detection and warning system is an automated system that detects a fire or smoke in the event of a fire. It is designed to alert people and property in commercial buildings, industrial plants, and other facilities. A fire detection and warning system can be a single system that monitors and controls several devices, such as
● Fire alarms
● Sprinkler systems
● Emergency shutoff valves
● Fire suppression systems
Or it can be a combination of various systems.
A system may include the following:
● Smoke detection
● Heat detection
● Fire detection devices
As well as other detection, control, and notification devices.
A fire detection system is designed to detect a fire and usually trigger an audible alarm using a fire alarm system and can be a stand-alone system or combined with other methods, such as a sprinkler system, emergency shutoff valves, gas detection, or a fire suppression system.
Fire alarm systems can be designed to be “monitored” that is; to detect a fire and automatically notify building occupants, firefighters, and emergency personnel of the fire’s location. Fire alarm systems are also used to shut off the flow of fuel and electricity to the fire.
Benefits of Regular Inspections
One of the main benefits of regular fire detection and warning system inspections is that they can identify any potential faults in the system which could reduce the system’s coverage and indeed performance in the event of a fire breaking out.
Another advantage of regular inspections is that they help you comply with regulations. For example, fire systems are heavily regulated by the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and there are strict guidelines on how often fire detection and warning systems should be checked, the type of system that must be installed, and the frequency of inspections.
If the responsible person for a premises fails to comply with the fire safety order, he or she could face hefty fines, prison and the business could even be shut down. This may sound daunting, it shouldn’t be, the fire safety order is designed to keep people safe and there are many certified, professional fire alarm companies available to help businesses meet their legal obligations.
During regular inspections, you can also check the accuracy and functionality of your system. For example, you can identify potential issues with the sensors or wiring that might be causing false alarms and flaws in the system’s programming.
How Often Should Your Fire Detection and Warning System be Inspected?
Fire systems are important safety systems and should be inspected and tested as part of a regularly routine. It is essential to conduct a routine visual inspection and a weekly test of fire alarm systems in business buildings to ensure that no significant issues have occurred and that it is functioning correctly. In addition, a commercial fire alarm system should be serviced at least once every 6 months by a qualified professional, as recommended in the British Standard BS 5839.
Who Should Perform Fire Detection & Warning System Inspections?
The occupant of the property or the most senior member of the premises is usually the one who can undertake the weekly test of the fire alarm system.
This person can be the responsible person specified in the Fire Safety Order or someone elected by this person, such as a property manager.
Your Fire Alarm Installer will give easy-to-follow instructions on how to undertake the manual call point test in order to meet the legal requirements.
It doesn’t take any expertise to test a fire alarm, and it’s usually a simple job. Nevertheless, it is important that it is tested correctly and regularly and any faults or queries reported immediately to your professional fire alarm maintenance company.
The test’s outcome should be officially documented every week. This should be entered in the onsite fire alarm log book and kept for the 6 monthly service visit by your fire alarm maintenance company. They will use it to record their service visits.
A Fire detection and warning system is an essential part of any building, and knowing how often fire detection and warning systems should be checked is imperative to protect lives and property. It is frequently a requirement of insurance companies, always check your policy.
While installing the system, or moving into new premises with an existing fire alarm, it is crucial to instigate a plan for weekly testing in-house and for maintenance and inspection by a professional. Regular inspections are not optional – they are a legal requirement and your fire alarm installer will offer advice to help you stay on the right side of the regulations.