What are the fire alarm maintenance legal requirements?
According to BS 5839, commercial fire alarm systems should be inspected at least every 6 months. For larger premises where more complex systems may be utilised, quarterly inspections are recommended.
These inspections should be carried out by a competent fire safety professional. To be sure that your engineer has the requisite qualifications and experience, look for BAFE accreditation.
As well as the six monthly or quarterly inspections, you should be testing your fire alarms on a weekly basis. This allows you to identify any potential problems – and take action – before they become a health and safety risk for your business. And don’t forget to document your alarm tests in your fire logbook. This can help protect you against potential repercussions should a fire break out.
Why do you need to maintain your fire alarm systems?
Aside from the legal requirements, fire alarm maintenance is necessary to protect your employees, your customers, and your assets.
Above and beyond anything else, fire alarms are there to save lives. And there is little point in installing them if you are not going to ensure that they remain functional. Fire alarm maintenance regulations are primarily there to safeguard people and property.
However, it’s also worth remembering that servicing your fire alarm can prevent errors, such as false call-outs, too. According to Home Office statistics, in England alone fire and rescue services attended around 226,000 false fire alarms in the year 2017/18. That’s 41% of total call-outs. Not only can that result in the not insignificant call-out cost being passed on to your business, but it could prevent genuine fires from being attended to. It also runs the real risk of desensitising your employees to fire alarms, which could prove dangerous further down the line.
And of course, every false fire alarm results in disruption for your business, loss of productivity, and potential loss of custom.