If you are the person responsible for fire safety in your workplace, you are accountable for ensuring that should a fire break out, the fire alarm system will sound and be heard by everyone to ensure the building can be evacuated safely and quickly.
If this does not happen, and injuries or fatalities occur, fire investigators will seek to uncover the cause of the fire and may seek to prosecute company directors and responsible individuals if there is any evidence of neglect in their duty of care to protect people or property.
There are legal requirements for workplace fire safety and, as the responsible individual, the best way to ensure that the blame does not fall at your feet is to ensure you have documented evidence that you have ensured regular and thorough maintenance has been carried out, and any issues have been repaired and/or reported to management.
What should your fire alarm maintenance checklist include?
Firstly, legislation states that a competent person should inspect the fire alarm every six months. Whilst the regulations do not define what they mean by ‘competent,’ Tecserv UK firmly believes that this inspection should be done by a BAFE approved contractor like ourselves. Our engineers are fully qualified and have been fully trained to inspect and repair fire alarm systems.
However, as the Responsible Individual it’s also important you conduct your own checks to demonstrate that all equipment has been inspected on a regular basis.
The best way to ensure this is to create a schedule to inspect all components of your fire alarm system on a weekly or monthly basis. This regular routine will enable you to quickly identify any parts that need the attention of a competent person e.g. a Tecserv fire alarm maintenance engineer.
Routine fire alarm maintenance checks should include
A six monthly check by a competent individual, and then the Responsible Individual should carry out weekly or monthly inspections of the following:
- Control Panels: The visual display/status LED’s on the fire alarm control panel to ensure they are still lit up.
- Devices: The devices connected to the system such as fire detectors should be checked visually to ensure that they are free from dust or other particles, are not damage and that objects have not been placed near them that would inhibit their ability to detect fire signals such as heat or smoke.
- Call Points: Conduct a weekly testing of all manual call points. You should rotate between them from week to week. Ideally, this should be done during working hours to ensure the control panel and the sound are operating effectively and to enable employees to become familiar with the tone of the alarm. This also means employees can report if they are in an area where they did not hear the alarm.
- Voice alarms: If there are any voice alarm systems, these should also be tested weekly. If you are linked up to a fire station or other automatic response, please remember to notify your Alarm Receiving Centre before testing! You don’t want to be penalised for an unwanted alarm call out!
- Batteries: if your electricity supply should fail you need to be sure the back up batteries will power the alarm. Vented batteries, particularly if they are a part of the alarm backup system, should be inspected.
- Break glass: Make sure all break glass call points are accessible. You’ll be surprised at the number of times our engineers have found these blocked behind towers of boxes! A slight delay in announcing a fire can be the difference between people exiting abuilding safely and loss of life!
- Building works: A visual inspection of any structural changes in your building as well as any works on adjacent buildings or workshop unit.
- Reporting: Ensure the date and time of your inspection, your findings and actions are recorded accurately in the fire log book. Also ensure the logo book is kept in a fire proof box. As the responsible individual, what you record in the fire log book is evidence that you have carried out your responsibilities according to the legal requirements.
Finally, if you encounter any problems during your inspection fire alarm system should be recorded in the logbook so that an engineer can called out to investigate and carry out repairs. You should also report your findings to management.
Poor fire alarm maintenance has many legal consequences, so it is always better to be safe than sorry.
If your fire alarm system has not been inspected by a competent person, then Tecserv UK can help. Our engineers are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are trained to inspect fire alarm systems. We have distributor agreements with most of the major manufacturers, so if we can help give you peace of mind by ensuring you meet the legal requirements for fire alarm maintenance, please get complete the enquiry form below.