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Fire Alarm Systems

Fire Alarm Systems are required by law on business premises

There are literally thousands of fires in both commercial and private properties in the UK every year and around 500 people, even these days, die from either smoke inhalation or heat. A fire alarm of some sort is essential in every property.

Ignorance is often the killer. For instance, “We don’t need a fire alarm as there is only ever one or two people in the building”. People are the best smoke and fire detectors, low occupancy is one of the greatest risks!

1) To satisfy yourself on whether or not a fire alarm is needed conduct this simple test. Can you, from any exit (exterior) door from the building, quickly let everyone inside the building know that there is a fire without re-entering the building yourself? Don’t forget that people might be in WC’s. If you cannot, then you need a fire alarm.

2) To satisfy yourself on whether or not you require automatic smoke detectors conduct this simple test. Can you, from every part of the building see your escape route clearly? If not, how could you know if there is a fire on a floor below you or in a corridor or room that forms part of your exit route? If you cannot, then you need smoke detectors.

3) Does anyone sleep in the premises including staff or guests? If they do then smoke detectors must be provided to protect the room they sleep in, the escape routes and any rooms that open on to an escape route as a minimum. They will also need a sounder/bell in their room to wake them.

Need maintenance on a Fire Alarm System?

Your Fire Alarm System is working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The detectors and control panel are operating continuously and the alarm circuits are constantly monitored. Your Fire Alarm System will require maintenance by a ‘Competent Person’ from installation onwards. A ‘Competent Person’ is a person or company who are qualified to carry out this work such as a registered electrical contractor or specialist fire alarm maintenance company.

Legislation such as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and other legislation protecting both employees and the public require premises operators to conform with standards for Fire Alarm Systems. It is a requirement of BS5839 Part 1:2002 that a maintenance contract is in place on a system with a maximum duration between service visits of six months. Most contracts have quarterly inspection and should also provide an eight hour maximum response time to any call that you make to them. (This is maximum time to respond to you, not necessarily the time taken to attend site).

It is a Criminal Offence for a Fire Alarm System to not be kept in good working order and, as a maintenance contract is so easy to arrange, not having one is not acceptable as a defence in court.

Details of the company that provides the maintenance contract must be displayed on the fire alarm panel or near to it.

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