Top 10 Tips for Fire Safety Equipment Maintenance
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Neglecting maintenance puts your business at risk.
This article looks at the Top 10 Tips for fire safety equipment maintenance. Simply having fire safety equipment installed and training your staff in their operation is not enough to uphold effective fire safety – they must also be regularly inspected and maintained.
Under the guidelines of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a nominated ‘responsible person’, usually, the employer, building owner or landlord, is charged with carrying out a fire risk assessment. Fire equipment maintenance falls under the duties of the ‘responsible person’, and checking for any necessary maintenance and upkeep will need to part of the fire risk assessment.
Having a service and maintenance contract in place for your fire equipment is essential for ensuring your system works when you need it most – in an emergency.
All Fire Safety Equipment
You need to ensure that whoever does your maintenance and equipment testing that is done by a “competent” person.
Fire Detection Systems
BS5839-1:2017 is the standard that maintenance companies comply with to carry out maintenance on fire alarm and detection systems. These checks are normally done quarterly. However, there are also user checks in this standard that the owner or user of the system must complete on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. A weekly fire alarm test (on the same day and at the same time is the best practice in order that employees and visitors to your site are aware that a test is being conducted).
Currently the emergency lighting must be tested in two ways:
1. Monthly emergency lighting tests
All emergency lighting systems must be tested monthly. The test is a short functional test in accordance with BS EN 50172:2004 / BS 5266-8:2004.
The period of simulated failure should be sufficient for the purpose of this test while minimising damage to the system components, e.g. lamps. During this period, all luminaires and signs shall be checked to ensure that they are present, clean and functioning correctly.
2. Annual emergency lighting tests
A test for the full rated duration of the emergency lights (e.g. 3 hours) must be carried out annually. The emergency lights must still be working at the end of this test.
The result must be recorded and, if failures are detected, these must be remedied as soon as possible.
Regular servicing is essential. The occupier / owner of the premises must appoint a competent person to supervise servicing of the system. This person shall be given sufficient authority to ensure the carrying out of any work necessary to maintain the system in correct operational mode.
Remember, fire doors are only part of the door “SET” which is the doors, the frame, and the door furniture. Ensure fire doors are operating correctly and can be shut without obstruction on a daily basis.
Your fire extinguishers should be maintained by a BAFE approved company annually, according to the contract you may have in place, but you are also required to carry out and record monthly checks. On a monthly basis, the pressure gauge should be checked on all fire extinguishers, and on a yearly basis, it is a requirement that a qualified technician carries out a thorough check on all your extinguishers for any signs of damage, corrosion, and for them to be fully serviced and certified.
You must show (record) that you have checked on a regular basis that escape routes are clear and unobstructed – at all times.
When fire stopping, it is important to label what has been done and keep a record of the materials used.
The guidance says that dry risers should be tested each year. This is a full pressure test.
Make sure the fire detection system in any ducting or voids can be serviced properly.
Fire Risk Assessment
In addition to carrying out regular maintenance checks on your fire safety equipment, fire risk assessments are an essential part of fire safety in the workplace.
It is important to record all maintenance carried out on fire systems in the Fire Logbook.
Please note that this article provides basic easy-to-understand guidance of fire safety provisions and the key fire safety information required to comply with legislation. Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. We aim to assist you to understand the fire-related terms within your Fire Risk Assessment. It does not provide detailed technical guidance on all fire safety provisions, and you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.
Fire Risk Consultancy Services have the knowledge and experience to assist your business to comply with all legal requirements surrounding fire safety including legislation. Be sure to read our accompanying guides: Fire Alarm System Types, Fire Extinguishers, Emergency Lighting, Fire Doors, Fire Safety Signs, also published on this site.
Please take a moment to have a look around our website where you will find related articles and guides to all the services we can provide your business with, from providing Fire Risk Assessments, fire safety training, full advisory service to Articles on Fire Safety Provisions and our Top Fire Safety Tips!