What can I expect from a routine fire alarm service visit?

The fire detection and alarm system in your building should be serviced by a competent provider every 6 months, to fully comply with the British Standard for fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings in non-domestic premises.

A fire alarm service is the perfect opportunity to ensure that your building’s devices are performing reliably but routine servicing also helps to tease out other issues such as false alarms and device addressing. Not to mention, this is the time to tell your fire alarm organisation of any changes to the building that are due to take place, that could effect the protection your system currently provides. Don’t be afraid to speak to the engineers during their visit of any concerns you have or any advice and training you would like to receive, it could help save lives!

So, that being said… what actually happens during a routine service?

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  1. If you have a remote monitoring set up in place (such as Redcare) our engineers will contact them to safely put the system into test mode for a specified amount of time. This stops the remote monitoring station receiving false alarms and potentially despatching assistance when it is not required.
  2. Our engineer will check everything is in place, such as ensuring detectors are still installed where they need to be and have not been removed. The engineer methodically works through every single device, ticking it is present and has been serviced. If you have a Nimbus system, this process is done slightly differently, with a report being generated and made available through devices such as your mobile phone. Talk to a member of our team today, if you would like to find out more information on this intelligent cloud-based reporting system.
  3. Our engineers will also check your log book. Any results from the above step will be noted down in the log book for review. Again, if you have a Nimbus system in place, our engineer will check this to find the current status of the system, its devices and any user comments. The log book is also a tool for site operatives and a place where they should be noting down all of their weekly test results. If the engineer has noticed that weekly tests are not being recorded, he will report this as a recommendation.
  4. Once the preliminary checks have been done, the servicing can begin. The engineer will put your panel into test mode and check every single device that is scheduled for this visit. Most systems will have a pre-determined and agreed amount of devices for each visit, to ensure that by the end of the year 100% of the devices have been serviced. This will depend on your building size and complexity in regards to how these visits are planned out. This is always something you can discuss with your provider before a contract is put into place.
  5. The engineer will manually test each detector head, doing this in a way that is suitable to the detector type. Smoke sensors will require a different testing kit to heat sensors and so on. Every engineer is trained in all different detection systems and is supplied with the equipment to test each effectively.
  6. Our engineer will then test the back up batteries in the control panels, reporting his findings to make sure that if there was a power failure, the fire alarm system could still operate for a certain amount of time. If you have a radio (wireless) system, the control panel will let the engineer know if there are any detectors or devices that need replacement batteries and report as necessary.
  7. Other device checks – it isn’t just the detectors that sit on the ceilings that require checking over. Other devices on your systems such as interface units will be serviced to make sure they are in good working order. Interfaces can be responsible for communicating with other systems such as holding open doors and grounding lifts etc. This is also the time where the engineer will check a zone plan is present and correct.
  8. Once the checks are complete and the asset lists (or Nimbus system) has been updated it is time to close down the visit. The engineer will take the panel out of test and let the remote monitoring station know the test is complete.
  9. The engineer will compile a report of their findings that the office will receive and process accordingly. When the engineer notifies the client that their work is complete for the day, the client is given the opportunity to review the findings, discuss them and ask for any further information or advice. We strongly recommend you use the engineer’s time for this reason, to ensure that the engineer passes on any comments that are above what they have found during the routine service maintenance.

Routine fire alarm servicing is however only part of the story, the end user also has responsibility in ensuring their fire alarm system is maintained properly…

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A single, named member of the premises management team should be appointed to supervise all matters pertaining to the fire detection and the fire alarm system. This same person is usually the keeper of the documentation provided and should be given the sufficient authority to carry out the following duties OUTSIDE of the routine testing a provider like Pacific would do:

  • Ensuring that the CIE is checked at least once every 24 hours to confirm there are no faults on the system
  • Ensuring that arrangement are in place for testing and maintenance of the system (such as hiring a certified organisation like Pacific)
  • Ensuring that the logbook is kept up to date and is always available for inspection
  • Ensuring that all of the site operatives know how to use the system to a basic levels. You don’t need to be a master of your fire alarm system, but you do need to be able to interpret fire, pre-alarm and fault indications as well as knowing how to reset the system as and when required.
  • Ensuring that those who live and work in the premises know how to reduce false alarms within reason.

If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics discussed above – get in touch with a member of the team!

T: 0870 850 8404

E: sales@pacific-uk.co.uk

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