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  1. AnthonyB

    updated BS 5306

    It's been every 10 years since BS5306-3:2000 and the brief requirement for 5 year extended service on CO2 brought in the 2000 edition was repealed in the 2003 edition. Since then we've had 2009 & 2017 editions, the latter being current. The traditional regime in the 20th Century was 10 years from new unless there was a full service history in which case the test could be delayed until 20 years from new, unless the extinguisher was discharged between 10 & 20 years in which case it had to be tested before recharge. After the first retest the second was a fixed 10 years then the third and any subsequent tests were at a fixed 5 year interval.
  2. AnthonyB

    Inspection of fire exit break glass bolts

    It would form part of weekly means of escape walkarounds, there isn't actually much to check on a Redlam or Cooper Bolt, just signage, hammer presence and if the glass tube or Ceramtube is intact and not replaced by a bit of wood. As with any final exit the mechanism should be checked for free movement by removing the tube to see if the bolt springs back and the door opens easily (e.g. not swollen). They are unlikely to be mentioned in any British Standard as they are 1960's technology and are usually a legacy item in existing buildings rather than something newly installed. BS9999 does detail that "all escape routes should be inspected frequently and, in respect of buildings open to the public, on each occasion prior to the admittance of the public. " but does not define frequent. It has been tradition for formal means of escape inspections to be no less than weekly, but as always exact frequencies is down to risk assessment and mitigation as to why it doesn't follow traditional benchmarks but is still suitable and sufficient.
  3. AnthonyB

    Routine AOV testing

    BS9999:2017 gives a useful PPM regime for most fire protection systems in a building - saves looking at loads of individual standards. Usually AOV's are tested for operation weekly and a full service of batteries, motors, chains, etc annually.
  4. In the UK generally never, this practice dates back to cartridge extinguishers where compaction was more common. Stored pressure powders keep the powder in a fluidised state so there is generally little compaction although it's not unheard of. There would be manual handling issues with turning larger extinguishers (9kg+) upside down and care would need to be taken.
  5. One of the main reasons for testing the alarm is to check the control panel can correctly receive and process a signal from the field devices, the recognition of the alarm sound and noticing defective sounders are others. Proper testing should ensure the alarm only sounds for a few seconds and proper staff training should ensure they know if the alarm sounds for more than a few seconds on test day to evacuate.
  6. AnthonyB

    Emergency lighting hell

    I'd be loathe to reduce the existing cover as it's handy to have - power failures or the consumer unit tripping (say if a bulb blows) are more common than fires so extra EL is always handy. I'd try to dim the LED in some way. If they are illuminated emergency exit signs in the bedrooms not emergency light fittings I may be tempted to remove those if I can't dim the glow enough
  7. The law requires merely competence. Using accredited providers are an easy way of showing this but not the only way. Envirograf make a lot of retro fit strips and seals for existing notional fire doors that have test certification and can provide advice and fitting instructions. Whether your freeholder would accept this is another matter and you may need to take legal advice on their rights under the lease to require so specific an installer requirement. Unless the doorset is suitable for simple products such as the adhesive seals and so work cutting out of the door or frame may be required I'd consider it preferable to use a specialist - this could be the accredited providers (preferred) or a contractor who can prove competence (some may have recognised training in fire door work but not gone to the expense of being in a formal accreditation scheme)
  8. AnthonyB

    Fire alarm testing - small residential block

    Very little is set in stone and ultimately the courts would decide in individual cases. The prosecution would reference the benchmarks in BS5839 and in defence you would have to justify why an alternative approach is still safe. Sainsbury only test fire alarms monthly - but to justify this they went through years of detailed weekly test records, fault reports and engineer service visits for their stores and were able to demonstrate that the majority of fire alarm faults were discovered and escalated after either the daily visual check of the panel by the store duty manager or the 3/6 monthly service engineer visit as oppose to the weekly test. This is an example of how you can use the flexibility of the current legislative approach - but you can't just pluck a different regime out of thin air, it must be justifiable.
  9. AnthonyB

    Emergency lighting hell

    The lighting will come on upon power failure not alarm activation. You don't normally have to put emergency lighting in bedrooms, obviously someone has applied the recommendations prescriptively even though there is flexibility with mitigation. These doors are unlikely to even need to be designated fire exits based on the size and layout of the premises so wouldn't need the lighting at all. A fire risk assessment could look at the situation and decide if they need to be actually retained. The green light is to show that the fitting is receiving mains power and charging (but does not guarantee it will work hence the maintenance regime for the lighting). As long as you aren't obstructing the light output of the unit I can't see any reason why dimming the green LED would be an issue.
  10. Normally in a stay put building there shouldn't be any alarms except in the flats for the flat occupiers protection, this is the problem with halfway house systems that are insufficient for full evacuate and confusing for stay put. Large scale evacuation is still rare in correctly built stay put premises so most of the time there is no need to know if something is happening as the safer place is to stay in the flat and not be nosy (people have died because of this). If the policy is to alert all residents then the alarm system should support this which to be done properly would include use of voice sounders to differentiate between alert and evacuate, but 99% of the time the cheapest option is used that can lead to confusion.
  11. AnthonyB

    Fire alarm testing - small residential block

    The testing requirements for a domestic grade system are in BS5839-6 which requires weekly testing of devices regardless of the grade. Think about it - sleeping risk is high risk and most fire deaths are in the home - why on earth would it be acceptable to have a lower maintenance standard than in lower risk commercial premises? If it actually needs the alarm it should be maintained appropriately.
  12. No. Most care homes operate progressive evacuation which is almost wholly staff led due to the physical and cognitive issues with residents and it's deemed detrimental to subject them to the high noise levels normally used in standard sleeping accommodation where guests would need to rouse and self evacuate, especially as many will remain in their rooms for some time exposed to the alarm. As a result there is no need for bedroom sounders (except perhaps in guest and staff bedrooms) and indeed the audibility in service users bedrooms shouldn't/needn't exceed 45dB, the British Standard explicitly states this. Whoever told you this needs to reeducate themselves and I hope they aren't involved in risk assessments in these premises!
  13. Depending on the age of the maisonette the closers may date back to the original build as it used to be a requirement to have them but was dropped as they were often removed or the door propped. A propped self closing door is likely to be always left open, a non self closing door has a better chance of being shut at night.
  14. AnthonyB

    Evacuation policy for visitotrs in Care Homes

    Answered you on Firenet!
  15. AnthonyB

    fire doors closing at night

    I assume you mean doors normally held open by an approved automatic release device and not just hooked or wedged open. Tradition under old legislation was to require them to be shut at night in hotels and boarding houses, but as Tom says it's no longer explicit under the current regime, but still worth doing