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How often should fire alarms be tested?

This week’s burning question “How often should my Fire Alarm be tested?”

Test Your Fire Alarm Every Week

.”As a user or person responsible for the fire alarm system at your property, you should be carrying out a weekly test by operating one of the Manual Call Points (often referred to as break glass units)”.

I received a call early in the week from what I can only imagine was a pasty-faced gentleman who had recently returned from a health and safety course. Flustered and in full panic mode, his opening line was, “Hello is that Craig?... how often should my fire alarm be tested, mate”

For the record, I had never previously spoken to this guy or had any dealings with his company. (Some kind sole had recommended me).

After a few brief questions, I discovered he was the proud owner of a village bed and breakfast who had literally never tested the fire alarm, aside from the odd bit of burnt toast and midnight e-cig puffer.

I took a run out the following day to have a look at the fire alarm system, make some notes, recommendations and demonstrate the operation of the system. Although pretty frightening to witness such a lack of system knowledge from the owner (we’ll call him Bill to protect his identity and business from his insurers in the short term), he agreed that I could use his story as a case study to help raise awareness. So in the coming weeks, I’ll highlight some of the shortcomings of Bills B&B fire system.

So, how often should you be testing your fire alarm?

My advice to Bill was to set up a routine, pick a day of the week, let’s say Tuesday, pick a suitable time, 10.30am? Then note down in a log book the number of Manual Call Points you have on the premises. Every Tuesday at 10.30am you test in rotation one of the points and ensure the fire alarm sounds and everyone can hear it across the building.

The weekly function test Bill now carries out ensures the operation of his fire system and familiarises not only his staff with the sound of the fire alarm, but has made him more confident working with the panel controls.

Of course, the weekly function is only a small part of the British Standard recommendations when it comes to keeping your fire alarm system in tip top condition, I’ll be back soon covering more points.

In the meantime, stay safe folks and as always if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

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