Businesses have a legal duty to protect their premises and their staff. This involves putting the right fire safety procedures in place, including the ongoing maintenance and testing of fire alarms.
It is critical for businesses to maintain and test their fire alarm, not only to alert individuals in the event of a fire but also to avoid false alarms. A large number of fire brigade call-outs are caused by false alarms, not only incurring costs but also resulting in the fire brigade being occupied when a genuine emergency occurs. When ensuring that your fire alarm systems are fully operational, fire alarm tests are critical should the worst happen. It is essential that the sound of the alarm and the procedure in the event of a fire are familiar to people in the building. The question is, "When should they be tested ?" ”
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) states, while it is imperative for the alarm system to be tested and serviced by a specialist during the year (This should not exceed six months), it is also a legal requirement to run weekly fire alarm checks. Under Article 17 of the RRO, this is covered. Weekly testing of a fire alarm system is required to ensure that the fire alarm system is in full working order and complies with the RRO and the British Standard BS 5389. When entering the premises, failure to do so would need to be demonstrated to investigating officers.
The task of testing the alarm system is to be performed by the company's appointed responsible person or a dedicated fire alarm service company. Tests involve activating the call point for the fire alarm, checking that the alarm sounds and the signal is received by the panel. Every week, premises with several call points need a different call point to be verified. All checks must be registered in the fire logbook and any concerns must be reported immediately to the fire alarm service provider.