According to the UK fire alarm regulations, someone competent and reliable must be chosen to install and service your fire alarm. They require that the competent person(s) must:

  • Understand the various types of fire alarm systems and be familiar with all the different models,
  • Be able to identify the grades and categories of fire alarm systems, and
  • Have a good knowledge and understanding of the British Standard BS 5839.

As discussed above, in addition to having a professional inspect your system, it is equally important for you, as the responsible person, to conduct your own checks and tests to ensure all the components are working effectively.

During an inspection special attention must be given to three main areas of the fire alarm that include the condition, sound, and connection.

These involve checking the overall condition of the system and if it is suitable or not, checking whether the alarm makes an audible sound since that is an integral part of the system, and checking the link to the Alarm Receiving Centre in case of professional fire alarm monitoring services.

The best way to ensure that all the components are covered during your weekly and monthly checks is to create a schedule in the form of a maintenance checklist.

Routine fire alarm maintenance checks must include six-month follow-ups by a competent individual and weekly and monthly inspections conducted by the users that include the following:

  • Control panels – to see if the signals are being received and the visual display/status LED’s are still lit up.
  • Devices – to check connected devices such as sensors and detectors for damage and obstructions.
  • Call points – to test all the manual call points and ensure that the alarm can be heard from every corner of the building.
  • Voice alarms – to check the connection between the users and the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) to avoid unwanted call outs or loss of communication.
  • Batteries – to ensure that in the event of a power failure, the backup batteries will power the system.
  • Break glass – to make sure that all call points are accessible and not hidden behind something to avoid delays in announcing a fire.
  • Building works – to conduct a visual inspection of any structural changes in the building, as well as nearby buildings, that may affect safety.
  • Reporting – to carefully document all the tests during fire alarm maintenance conducted by a competent person to serve as evidence of legal compliance.

Reporting is an essential part of fire alarm maintenance and the logbook must be kept up-to-date. In addition to the tests and inspections, the following must be documented as well:

  • The date, time, duration, and cause of each fire alarm trigger,
  • Any faults found and action taken to rectify them,
  • The date and time of any disconnections,
  • The date and time any alterations were made, and
  • Any evacuation drills conducted using the fire alarm system.