How Often Should Fire Alarms Be Tested & Maintained?
Fire alarms are the perfect way to make sure everyone in your building is aware of a fire if one breaks out. Giving an early warning, they can ensure that people have enough time to evacuate the building without panic, especially those who may need additional time due to mobility issues or impairments. But how often should fire alarms be tested and maintained?
If you want your fire alarm to be fully operational to protect you in the event of an emergency, then it’s vital to have regular testing and maintenance carried out. This month at Surrey Tech Services Ltd, we’ll take a look at these requirements, along with what your responsibility is and whether it’s a legal requirement to hold a fire drill.
Fire alarm legal requirements in the workplace
For any commercial premises, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is the essential set of regulations for all things related to fire safety. It requires that “the premises and any facilities, equipment and devices provided… are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair”. This can be found in Article 17, under the heading of “Maintenance”.
The specifics of any testing and maintenance are outlined in BS 5839-1, which states that the “period between successive inspection and servicing visits should not exceed six months”. This is the industry standard – and is government recommended – in terms of guidance, requiring a test to be carried out “by a competent person with specialist knowledge of fire detection and fire alarm systems” at least once every six months.
The aforementioned British Standard also recommends that you, as the responsible person, should perform a weekly test on top of this. You can read more about the weekly and monthly testing responsibilities in our previous post here.
If you are the responsible person for your building, outlined as “a single, named member of the premises management to supervise all matters pertaining to the fire detection and fire alarm system”, you will be responsible for many things, including:
- Keeping documentation to record testing and maintenance
- Ensuring all occupants of the building are aware of any roles/responsibilities given to them in the event of an evacuation
- Ensuring the system is protected from damage and misuse
- Identifying deficiencies in the system, such as a lack of detection in certain areas
Is a fire drill a legal requirement?
As part of your weekly routine, you should test your fire alarm system to ensure it is working, but a full fire drill with evacuation is not required this often. Instead, the law requires that you perform a fire drill at least once a year. This annual fire drill is a legal requirement as part of your responsibilities for your workplace to safeguard the people within.
Here at Surrey Tech Services Ltd, not only do we install and commission your fire alarm system, ensuring you get the right setup for your building, but we also provide professional fire alarm maintenance. As your qualified, competent fire alarm specialists for the Home Counties – including Maidenhead, Guildford and Slough – we’ll help you to remain compliant with your legal requirements and help you to safeguard lives.