Fire Alarm Service: Recommended Frequency

November 7, 2019

Fire Alarm Service: Recommended Frequency

Fire alarms play a critical role in saving lives. When you rely on such a system to that extent, it becomes vital to ensure it is always ready to perform its job effectively when needed. This is precisely why fire alarm maintenance and servicing hold such immense importance. But how frequently should a fire alarm service occur?

In this blog, we will delve deeper into the topic of fire alarm servicing, ensuring that you fulfil your responsibilities both legally and in terms of the safety of the occupants on your premises. We will explore the significance of fire alarm systems, and the crucial role of regular servicing, and provide valuable insights on the recommended frequency for servicing. By adhering to these recommendations, building owners can uphold reliable fire alarm systems, thereby maximising safety and minimising risks during emergency situations. Join us as we explore the realm of fire alarm systems and uncover the optimal frequency for servicing.

Why is fire alarm servicing so important?

Fire alarms alert occupants in the event of a fire and in doing so can prevent loss of life. Every year in the UK there are almost 20,000 fires, so it is easy to see why having a fully functional fire alarm detection system, is absolutely essential and crucial.

Fire Alarm Service: Legal Obligations

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, all premises in England and Wales used for non-domestic purposes, with a small number of exceptions, must abide by these regulations.

Most commercial properties will require installing a fire alarm system under the Regulations, with the exception of smaller premises that do not store high-risk substances, where it is easy to see a fire developing and where a shout of ‘fire’ would be heard by all occupants. Higher-risk businesses, however, (e.g. restaurants), are well-advised to install alarms as an essential part of an additional safeguard.

The Regulations provide that every effort is made to ensure a fire alarm system is suitably maintained in good working order; that it is regularly tested; that the engineer or person undertaking the testing and other fire alarm maintenance services is competent and, in some cases, that the person is certified and approved to industry standards.

Fire alarm servicing is a legal requirement and also an obligation for employers under the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974.

Fire alarm servicing to prevent false alarms

Further to legal obligations, fire alarm servicing is important in order to prevent unwanted false alarms. Back in 2014, the problem of false alarms got so bad that the London Fire Brigade launched a charging scheme to start recovering costs from buildings, such as airports and hospitals, with poor false alarm records.

At the time, it was estimated that false alarms were costing the Brigade around £37 million each year! Aside from this major cost issue, false alarms also prevent the Fire Brigade from attending true emergencies.

How often should a fire alarm be serviced?

British Standard BS 5839, under which fire alarm systems must be compliant, suggests that fire alarms undergo inspection by a competent person at least every six months.

This recommendation is amplified for larger premises with multiple alarms and complex systems installed, with the suggestion of increasing to quarterly fire alarm servicing.

What else should I be doing to make sure my fire alarm is in full working order?

Weekly testing of a fire alarm system is also recommended by British Standard BS 5389, which is the standard the UK government recommends following. If you decide not to follow weekly testing, then you will need to explain your reasons to any investigating fire officers who may visit your premises.

Fire alarm testing differs from fire alarm servicing. A fire alarm service will involve an expert team doing a comprehensive check of the entire fire alarm system, whilst weekly testing aims to check that the fire alarm is in working order.

What does weekly fire alarm testing involve?

The task is usually carried out by the company’s responsible person, although if your premises are very large or you have the same smoke detectors used at multiple sites, then you may ask your fire alarm servicing company to undertake the tests for you.

Each test should involve the team activating a minimum of one fire alarm call point, checking that the alarm sounds and the panel receives the signal. A different call point should be checked every week.

The test should be documented in the fire alarm maintenance log book and any problems reported to your fire alarm servicing company immediately.

What if I find something wrong with my fire alarm?

Issues do sometimes arise with fire alarms. Some of the most common include:

Such issues mean that your fire alarm system is not suitably maintained, so they must be reported to your fire alarm servicing company without delay. They should attend within at least 24 hours, or within 4 hours if the alarm has been disabled.

Regular servicing plays a vital role in ensuring the effectiveness of fire alarm systems. By adhering to manufacturer guidelines, building owners can maintain compliant and reliable systems. Partnering with a reliable service provider offers benefits such as early issue detection and peace of mind. By prioritising regular servicing, building owners can ensure safety, compliance, and peace of mind for occupants. Consistent servicing is a worthwhile investment that protects lives and property, providing optimal fire detection and safety measures.

Professional Fire Alarm Servicing from IQ Fire Solutions

At IQ Fire Solutions, our specialist fire alarm engineers are fully qualified to British Standard BS 5839 and have many years of experience. We offer a proactive service, geared towards maximising the lifespan of your fire alarm system and reducing unnecessary costs. With our specialist knowledge, our helpful approach and competitive rates, you and your premises are in safe hands with IQ Fire Solutions.

To learn more about our fire alarm support services, please give us a call at 020 8500 9885 or request a free call back.

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