Fire Alarm Weekly Testing Procedure
Why the weekly fire alarm test?
There was a time when many people did not bother to test their fire alarm, but since the introduction of the Fire Safety Order 2006, fire risk assessments are highlighting the need and requirement for this test to be carried out. If it is stated within the Fire Safety Order, then you can say it is a legal requirement. However, putting the legality to one side, it gives you peace of mind that this potential life-saving piece of equipment will operate correctly when required.
This weekly test is in addition to the quarterly or six monthly fire alarm servicing and maintenance that is usually carried out by a competent fire alarm company. This test can be carried out by a member of staff, or it can be sub contracted out to a fire alarm tester such as Fire Systems Ltd.
Common Mistakes when carrying out the test:
Before we start, there are many that do not know how to carry out this test correctly.
Therefore, before we begin let us identify some common mistakes when carrying out this weekly fire alarm test.
Activating the fire alarm from the evacuation button on the front of the control panel.
Activating the fire alarm and then realising you do not have the code or key to reset the panel.
Activating the alarm and not informing the Alarm Receiving Centre. Therefore, calling out the fire brigade on a false alarm.
Testing the alarm from the same manual call point each week.
Leaving the manual call point test key in the call point and resetting the panel.
Completing the test and not documenting the results within the fire log book.
When organising a weekly test of your fire alarm system, all fire representatives from within the building should agree a time and day suitable to all parties. This especially applies to buildings with different companies who occupy the same premises. During these discussions, an agreement should be made that should the fire alarm sounders activate for longer than one minute then the alarm is to be treated as genuine and everyone is to follow the evacuation plan and vacant the building.
We are now going to go through the procedure to carry out the weekly fire alarm test. It would be wise to have the procedure written down in a bullet point format. Having the procedure written down will assist the person testing the alarm or if someone who is not familiar with the procedure.
Also, it would be beneficial to number all manual call points with a unique identification number. This will assist when recording what manual call point was tested.
- If the fire alarm is connected to an Alarm Receiving Centre (Fire Brigade), then put the alarm on test.
- Using a manual call point test key activate a manual call point. On hearing the sounders remove the test key. At the fire alarm panel confirm the correct zone and if an addressable fire alarm system the correct text message is displayed for the activated device. Silence and reset the fire alarm panel.
- A different call point should be tested each week, until all call points have been tested. For example, 20 call points equate to 20 weeks of testing.
- The results of the test should be logged, usually in your Fire Log Book.
- Occupants should confirm hearing the alarm and report any cases of poor audibility.
- Peripheral equipment connected to the fire alarm system such as automatic door closures should be checked for correct operation.
- If your fire alarm system is connected to an Alarm Receiving Centre, contact the ARC and confirm a fire alarm activation signal has been received. If yes, take the system off of test and return the fire alarm system to status normal.
As stated above item 3, a fire log book is to be kept for keeping a record of fire alarm maintenance visits, fire alarm activations, false alarms, faults, weekly testing, etc. This not only provides written proof of the testing and maintenance of the fire protection equipment, but also useful information for the user and Maintenance Company.
If your company does not have a Fire Log book or require any assistance carrying out a fire alarm weekly test or fire alarm servicing, please contact our office on 020 8541 5646 or fill out our contact page, and we will contact you.