The legal consequences of poor fire alarm maintenance

October 01st, 2018

Without stating the blindingly obvious, the immediate consequence of poor fire alarm maintenance is that people, property and processes will be placed at greater risk of damage should a fire breakout.

By definition, the consequence of poor fire alarm maintenance means that system checks that would normally have been completed would not have been done regularly. Not only will your business not be compliant, there is a higher risk that faults and defects within the system and other equipment such as control panels, fire detectors, sensors and fire extinguishers won’t have been identified and fixed.

The result, should a fire break out, is that the fire investigation team will review policies and procedures leading up to the fire and seek to prosecute those responsible for not having executed fire safety regulations in accordance with the 2005 Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

In the event that negligence is found, and this is proven to have led to a fatality and/or serious damage, the legal consequence is that the Responsible Individual(s) may face a prison sentence.

This means that company directors, property owners and landlords as well as individuals or teams who act as the Responsible Individual risk prosecution and possible prison sentences if they do not ensure their systems are maintained.

Punishment will be related to the severity of the negligence that has led to a fire breaking out. Punitive measures can include prison, fines, and a withdrawal of fire service support. There are also the business consequences, such as loss of earnings and the inability to work from the fire damaged premises.

Whilst of course a fire breaking out is the ultimate consequence of not maintaining systems adequately, without regular maintenance your systems will also be more susceptible to equipment failure. This could result in unwanted fire alarm activations which lead to loss of revenue, business interruption and a poor reputation.

The overall objective of a fire risk assessment is to identify fire risk, minimise the threat and ensure effective systems are in place to provide an early warning of a fire.

Part of the fire risk strategy will be to ensure your fire systems comply with fire safety regulations which includes the requirement to ensure that they are maintained in accordance with the guidelines set out in the 2005 Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

If you would like to learn more about ensuring your fire alarm system is well maintained and the role of the ‘Responsible Individual’ please complete the enquiry form below.