In this article, we interview Steve Ellis, our engineering manager to find out what in his experience are the top five fire alarm system maintenance issues. Steve is in charge of co-ordinating our maintenance contracts and managing engineer call-outs for emergency repairs.
Before highlighting my top five fire alarm system maintenance issues, I think I’d like to start this article by highlighting some key tips to follow that will prevent the majority of these issues occurring in the first place. Prevention is far better than cure as a means to ensure your people, processes and property are protected at all times.
HOW TO AVOID ISSUES WITH YOUR FIRE ALARM
- Ensure your system is regularly maintained by a qualified engineer
- Always use a BAFE approved company that employ fully trained engineers who have experience servicing the make of fire alarm installed at your commercial premises.
- These engineers will have received up to date training from the fire alarm manufacturer and will be aware of any known issues that need rectifying as part of the maintenance inspection.
- Keep accurate records of all inspections, advisories and repairs
- Should a fire occur, this is your evidence that your system has been maintained according to regulations. This is particularly important if you are a responsible individual and you have repeatedly reported faults to management that they have failed or been slow to authorise.
- Practice your fire drill
- This is a regulatory requirement, but it will highlight any issues with your equipment such as fire alarms not sounding.
- Inspect your equipment
- Another regulatory requirement. Routine visual inspections will help spot if equipment is showing signs of wear, being tampered with or damaged or is being obstructed or exposed to dust or other particles which may set off the alarm when an actual fire is not the reason.
So, having highlighted these key tips, I bet you can spot what my top five fire alarm maintenance issues are!
TOP FIVE FIRE ALARM SYSTEM MAINTENANCE ISSUES
- Lack of maintenance causing emergency calls out to repair faults and false alarm activations
- Previously reported ‘advisories’ not being repaired quickly enough and the alarm is now either not working or false alarms are being triggered.
- Incorrectly positioned fire alarm detectors that are being triggered by indicators of fire that are false. e.g. Shower steam, cooking smoke, dust particles etc
- The actions of pranksters who think it is fun to smash the ‘in case of fire’ emergency call button and other tomfoolery such as setting off fire extinguishers.
- Lack of staff training leading to poor fire drill practices and equipment inspection.
In summary, not maintaining your fire alarm system is not only illegal, it can be potentially more costly – placing the lives of your employees and your business at risk should a fire break out and your alarm fail to activate.