Photograph of a Fireline engineer testing fire equipment

What is Required When Conducting Routine Checks on Fire Equipment

In some premises, fire safety equipment doesn’t often get used, which is a good thing as this tends to mean that there haven’t been any fires. In fact, fire equipment can go years without being used, but making sure that the fire safety equipment you have is adequate for the job if a fire does arise is essential.

Fire safety equipment doesn’t last forever, wear and tear may occur from ageing or the equipment may have been faulty to begin with, which is why testing the functionality of the equipment is so important.

However, how frequently your fire safety equipment is checked, tested and serviced all depends on the type of equipment you have and where you keep it.

There are codes of practice by The British Standards Institution for routine checks that you should follow. To make things easier, we have summarised below the routine checks that should be carried out by the competent person, or a qualified professional.

Reminder: The competent person is a person who has sufficient experience, knowledge and has received enough training to be proactive in the prevention of fire. The responsible person can be: the employer, the owner, the company.

What fire safety equipment needs to be serviced?

Fire safety equipment that may need regular checks or servicing includes:

  • Fire alarms
  • Emergency lighting
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fire doors
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Dry and wet risers
  • Means of Escape

You should also make sure to make a note of all checks in your fire log book – daily checks on fire safety equipment don’t necessarily need to be documented, as these are mainly basic visual checks, but weekly, monthly, biannual checks etc. should be documented.

Daily checks

Fire alarm system

Visually check the fire alarm system’s panel daily to ensure that no faults are indicated. The panel should be showing that all indicators are ‘normal’. Any emergency whistles, gongs and air horns should be in place, and smoke alarms should be visually checked for damage. Make sure you check that previous faults have been rectified.

Weekly checks

Fire alarm system

On a weekly basis, the fire alarm system should be tested from a different call point each week, ensuring that all equipment attached to the alarm activates (such as sounders, smoke vents, disabled equipment). And check that any doors fitted with automatic releases are activated by automatic fire detection and alarm system, and that all lifts return to the ground floor.

Fire extinguishers

All fire extinguishers should be in place and visible with no obstructions present. Make sure that they are in the right location and that the tag and safety clip are in place. Fire hydrants outside should be checked for accessibility, nothing should be blocking their path (such as vehicles).

Sprinkler systems

Ensure that the points aren’t blocked, check that the water supply is sufficient, record findings in the fire log book and of course report any defects to the Responsible person.

Dry & wet risers

Same as above, ensure that the points aren’t blocked, check that the water supply is sufficient, record findings in the fire log book and of course report any defects to the Responsible person.

Escape routes

All fire exits should be able to be opened easily, with no obstructions in the way. The emergency fastening devices (push bars etc.) should be working correctly and escape routes should be clear (make sure there is signage in place). Don’t forget your external fire escape routes.

Monthly checks

Emergency lighting

Do a monthly test (or flick test): Check that the LED light is on, use test point, check that the light works. It is important that you keep a record of all monthly tests, including any faults which will have to be reported to the Responsible Person.

Fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers should be checked fully every month; all fire extinguishers should have their pressure gauges checked monthly, they should be in the correct location, checked for any damage and they should be charged.

Fire doors

First of all, Keep a register of all your fire doors with each  of them having an ID. Inspect each door: Is the seal intact? Is the closer working? If the door has a Dorgard, is it working? It may seem obvious, but don’t forget to check external doors as well.

Carbon monoxide detectors

Test the unit by pushing the test button, record the test in the fire log book and record the date when the batteries were last changed.

Biannual checks

Dry & wet risers

Get a maintenance company to Service the system to BS990:2015

Fire drills

Fire drills with a full or part evacuation should take place every 6 months. However, some other premises (such as schools) are required to have fire drills more often. Your evacuation procedure should take no more than 2-3 minutes.

Smoke alarms should be tested, and if battery-powered, batteries should be changed every 6 months to ensure they are fully reliable.

Fire alarm system

Your maintenance company will service and maintain your system in line with BS5839-1:2017, usually every 6 months or quarterly according to the size of your premises. They will test 100% of your fire alarm devices throughout a 12-month period along with door closers & smoke vents and of course advise you before they leave site of any system defects (which will be included in their service report).

Firefighting equipment

Fire hose reels should be tested every 6 months for damage and wear. Fire blankets should also be checked biannually to ensure that they are effective.

Annual checks

Emergency lighting

You are required to have a 3-hour emergency lighting test once a year, during which your main light circuit should be switched off and your emergency lights left on for a 3-hour period. Your maintenance company service and maintain your emergency lights in line with BS5266-1:2016. They will advise you before they leave your site of any system defects and will include these in their service report.

Firefighting equipment

Fire extinguishers should be serviced once a year. Your maintenance company will service and maintain your fire extinguishers in line with BS5306-3:2017. They should discuss with you any remedial works that are required and will include these in their service report.

Sprinkler systems

Get a maintenance company to service the system to BS9251:2014

Fire Safety Training

We provide a training course that is aimed specifically at the competent person – the person that holds the responsibility of completing the fire safety checks (mentioned in this article) in your premises.

Find out more about training for the competent person here.

Ensure your fire safety checks are maintained

So now you know what fire safety checks need to be conducted and how often they need to be done, you can ensure the safety of your premises by carrying out these checks (if you are the competent person).

If you are interested in staff training, hiring a professional risk assessor, essential fire safety equipment or anything else we have mentioned above, contact us here.

Hearing impaired customers: contact us via our online live chat system.

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