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Guest Richardswee

How often do fire alarms need to be tested?

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Guest JamesTR

Hi

I manage a number of retail stores and we as a minimum follow the standard on servicing our fire alarms systems in stores as a minimum of every 6 months.

Where is this stated other than the BS 5839 part 1 2013 to be the legal requirement? is it the IEE Regulations?

It just seems every where states this as recommended and then other places say its the law?

Regards
James

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It isn't. But BS5839-1 is the benchmark used by enforcers and the 6 monthly service interval is quoted in the official HM Government Fire Risk Assessment Guidance,

Deviations are possible, but you have to justify why going below the benchmark does not compromise safety (which is sometimes possible, Sainsburys did it for call point testing, but threw a lot of time and money in doing the research and stats to justify it)

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The purpose of the weekly test is to ensure if the fire alarm is required, it is working, to do this you use a different manual call point each week, meaning over a period of time all call points will be used.

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Guest J kay

Hello,

I am currently living in a house share of 6 and I am confused to whether the property manager has to test the fire alarm weekly or if monthly is fine. The research Ive done, it seems to depends on the grade of alarm, to which I have no idea.

It is never done at the same time and often done early in the am (I work nights) and never with permission or warning. 

Can anyone shed light on this at all?

Regards

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Fire alarms in domestic premises should be tested weekly according to BS 5839 part 6. 

Grade A systems should be tested weekly in accordance with BS 5839 part 1.

Grade B and C, test in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions

All other Grades should be tested at least every week by operating each fire alarm devices in the dwelling and should be carried out by use of a test button on each of the fire alarms in the dwelling. If they are inerlinked then all fire alarms will operate when you test one therefore I would use a different fire alarm to test each week.

I would recommend that the test is done at the same time each week so everybody knows it is a test and not the real thing.

The guidance for shared houses is FIRE SAFETY Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing.

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Guest JASPER

Hi, we have 25 buildings to look after if the 6 monthly maintenance is 1 week late on a building due to holidays or sickness, would that still be deemed not to comply or would a more logical stance be taken

jasper

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Hi...i am a new user here. As per my knowledge often they will check 25% of the alarm, each service, so by the time 12 months have passed everything will have been checked, That is also why is some places you will see devices with small coloured dots stuck on them. its so they know which device was tested in which quarter.

 

pcb assemblies

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3 hours ago, JardCrocker said:

Hi...i am a new user here. As per my knowledge often they will check 25% of the alarm, each service, so by the time 12 months have passed everything will have been checked, That is also why is some places you will see devices with small coloured dots stuck on them. its so they know which device was tested in which quarter.

Whilst you still may opt to do four 25% services a year it's not been required for a long time. Currently you need to cover 100% of the system within twelve months over a minimum of two visits not exceeding 6 months. Many sites now only have two 50% visits a year

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Guest crazy weekly alarm tests

hi

as a one bed  leaseholder of 4 flats we have spent 6000 pounds on a lovely fire alarm system grade a . only to be told we have perform a test every week forever.

and sign that we have done it. it appears none othe tennants is a RP resonsible person therefore they cant do a simple test , this seems over the top and a waste of labour .

we are expected to pay  £780 per year if carried out by an agent imagine all the expense for millions of hmo's , does anyone agree this is a step to far and in any case no one can actually know really if a test was carried out surely the alarm systems could have included self testing and then send it by sms .

regards

sean

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From BS 5839-6 : 2013, All Grades of system need to be tested periodically to ensure that there has not been any major failure. This does not require any specialist knowledge, and can normally be carried out, quite easily, by the occupier of the dwelling, who will, however, need simple instructions in how to do so.

Assuming the system has manual call points, any tenant can carry out the weekly test with a little training, it is the maintenance that requires specialist persons.

Self testing has been introduced where it can, but fire alarms is not one of them.

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Guest brassmonkey001

Hi,

in my place of work the fire alarm is tested every Monday evening at 6pm, presumably this is tested at a different point each time.

In addition to this, the alarm is sounded every Monday at 3pm i.e. during normal working hours and the reason given for this is to remind the workforce what the alarm sounds like, and apparently it is a requirement from our local fire service and fire engineer.

I am not aware of any other organisation where a weekly reminder of the sound is required in addition to the weekly system test, and to me it sounds counter-productive, making the workforce desensitised and complacent to the sound.

Is this an actual. proper requirement? Or is it a mis-interpretation of the requirements by our local safety team?

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It is vital for a regular test to be undertaken to ensure that there has not been a major failure of the entire fire detection and fire alarm system that may otherwise go unnoticed. It also ensures that all occupants can hear the alarm, also each manual call point is tested over a period of time. If it is not done during working hours, some of the purposes will be lost therefore is 6pm during the working hours, if not, this is the reason for the second test, but only one test is required during working hours.

Weekly tests

Test a manual call point during working hours to cheek that the control panel and alarm sounders operate satisfactorily

Each week, a different manual call point should be tested

Voice alarm systems should be tested weekly in accordance with BS5839 Part 8. If the system is connected to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) for calling the fire brigade, it is very important that the ARC is notified before testing commences and when it is complete

 

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Guest brassmonkey001
8 hours ago, Tom Sutton said:

It is vital for a regular test to be undertaken to ensure that there has not been a major failure of the entire fire detection and fire alarm system that may otherwise go unnoticed. It also ensures that all occupants can hear the alarm, also each manual call point is tested over a period of time. If it is not done during working hours, some of the purposes will be lost therefore is 6pm during the working hours, if not, this is the reason for the second test, but only one test is required during working hours.

Weekly tests

Test a manual call point during working hours to cheek that the control panel and alarm sounders operate satisfactorily

Each week, a different manual call point should be tested

Voice alarm systems should be tested weekly in accordance with BS5839 Part 8. If the system is connected to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) for calling the fire brigade, it is very important that the ARC is notified before testing commences and when it is complete

 

Thanks Tom. 6pm is outside normal working hours and that is when thorough testing i.e. multiple point takes place. That happens every Monday evening.

Also every Monday 3pm i.e. inside normal working hours is when it gets sounded again.

What has prompted my question is the fact that we had an incident on Monday afternoon at 2.30pm  and everyone was very slow to react because it took a minute or two to realise it wasn't the scheduled alarm but an actual incident, albeit minor.

To my mind, sounding an alarm every week leads to complacency and people becoming desensitised to it. You end up thinking "do I need to evacuate or can I just ignore that?" which is not a safe behavior, whereas if an alarm is sounded unexpectedly then you are more likely to react promptly.

If 99% of people on site are the same people week in, week out, then they will know what the alarm sounds like so why do they need to be reminded of it every week?

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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.

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Only one test is required which should be at the same day, during working time and at the same time each week which will allow the occupants to realise it is a test. The chances of a fire occurring at the exact time if very remote so not a major concern, because it will only last a very short time and not continue, then it should not be confused with a fire alert.

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