Testing and maintaining your automatic fire alarm system


The routine may vary with the use of the premises.  For example, equipment installed in corrosive or dirty environmental conditions will need to be checked more thoroughly and at more frequent intervals than in clean and dry situations. In such instances, the recommendations of the supplier or installer should be followed.

Daily attention by the user
A check should be made every day to ascertain that:

the panel indicates normal operation.  If not, that any fault indicated is recorded and is receiving urgent attention
any fault warning recorded the previous day has received attention.


Weekly attention by the user
The following tests should be made every week to ensure that the system is capable of operating under alarm conditions:

at least 1 detector call point or end-of-line switch on 1 zone should be operated to test the ability of the control and indicating equipment to receive a signal and sound the alarm
for systems over 13 zones, more than 1 zone should be tested in any week. Each time a zone is tested a different trigger device should be used
fire doors fitted with automatic releases should be checked to ensure that they are operating efficiently and are effectively self closing
note should be made of the particular trigger device that has been used to initiate each test
if the operation of the alarm sounders and / or the transmission of the alarm signal has been prevented by disconnection, then a further test should be carried out to prove the final reinstatement of the sounders, and if permissible, the alarm transmission circuits
any defect should be recorded and reported to the responsible person, and action taken to correct it

Quarterly inspection and test by a competent person
It is the responsibility of the occupier to ensure that the following check and test sequence is carried out by a competent person:

entries in the log book since the previous inspection should be checked and any necessary action taken
batteries and their connections should be examined and tested as specified by the supplier to ensure that they are in good serviceable condition
where applicable, secondary batteries should be examined to ensure that the specific gravity of electrolyte in each cell is correct
necessary remedial action should be taken and recorded primary batteries, including reserves, should be tested to verify that they are satisfactory for a further period of use by taking measurements that are indicative of the conditions of each cell eg voltage measurements (primary batteries should be replaced within the period of shelf-life stipulated by the battery manufacturers)
the alarm functions of the control and indicating equipment should be checked by the operation of a detector or call point in each zone
the operation of the alarm sounders and where provided, any link to your independent monitoring company, should be tested
all ancillary functions of the control panel should be tested.  All fault indicators and their circuits should be checked by simulation of fault conditions
a visual inspection should be made that structural or occupancy changes have not affected the requirements for the siting of trigger devices (manual call points, detectors and sounders).  The visual inspection should also confirm that a clear space of at least 750mm radius is preserved in all directions below every detector and that all manual call points remain unobstructed and conspicuous
all further checks and tests specified by the manufacturers or supplier should be carried out
Any defect should be recorded and reported to the responsible person, and action should be taken to correct it.

On completion of the work a certificate of testing should be given to the occupier.

Annual inspection and test by a competent person
It is the responsibility of the occupier to ensure that the following check and test sequence is carried out by the competent person:

the inspection and test routines detailed in the quarterly check should be carried out
each detector should be checked for correct operation in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations
visual inspection should be made to confirm that all cable fittings and equipment are secure, undamaged and adequately protected
at least once in every 5 years at the annual inspection, the installation should be tested in accordance with the testing and inspection requirements of the current “Regulations for the electrical equipment of buildings” published by the Institution of Electrical Engineers, and any defect rectified
Any defect should be recorded and reported to the responsible person, and action taken to correct it.

On completion of the work described above, a certificate of testing should be completed.

Competent person
This is a person in employment with the manufacturer, supplier or competent contractor.  This may also include a responsible person who has suitable experience of electrical equipment and who has special training with the manufacturer, supplier or installer to deal with simple servicing but not necessarily in employment with the above.

Does the Fire and Rescue Service have to be notified when a fire alarm test / fire drill takes place?
If your automatic fire alarm system is monitored by an independent monitoring company who would contact us whenever your fire alarm is activated, then we need to know before you carry out the drill.  If it is not, there is no need to contact us, although you may wish to advise your neighbours to prevent them from calling us.  


Action by the occupier after any fire, whether automatically detected or not

It is the responsibility of the occupier to ensure that the following tests are carried out as soon as possible after a fire and before normal use of the area is resumed:

a simulated test should be carried out on each trigger device that may have been affected by the fire.  This test should be carried out so as to simulate fire conditions.  Smoke detectors should be tested by smoke or other aerosol to the detector and heat detectors by the application of warm air or gas. Each fire alarm sounder should be tested
any defect should be recorded and reported to the responsible person, and action taken to correct it
The servicing agent should be informed of the fire as soon as possible and should be instructed to check the extent of damage to cables, and check the operation of the system.

On completion of the work a certificate of testing should be given to the occupier.

The occupier should also ensure that the following work is carried out, although this may take place after normal use has been resumed:

a check should be made of the state of the battery and charger
the servicing organisation should carry out a further check for damage to the system, particularly any parts in which damage might be hidden, such as buried cables. The extent of a fire may necessitate a more comprehensive check of the system
if the fire was not detected by the system or detection occurred in the late stages of the fire, the reasons should be investigated and if necessary considerations given to system modifications to prevent repetition
On completion of the work a certificate of testing should be given to the occupier. 

Action to be taken by the occupier after any false alarm
False alarms can be a major hazard to any fire alarm system since they lead to a loss of confidence in the system. It is important that any alarm from the system is treated as an alarm of fire until it can be proved to be false, rather than being treated as false until proved to be a fire.

Where an alarm has been found to be false the following immediate actions should be taken by the responsible person or persons to whom they have delegated this duty:

where possible, identify the particular detector or call point which has operated. It is important that the detectors are examined before the system is reset
where possible, establish the cause of the false alarm.  If only a general location can be established then a record should be kept of any events or activities in the area immediately prior to the alarm
record the false alarm and inform the organisation responsible for servicing
if 1 detector or group of detectors gives repeated false alarms then the organisation responsible for servicing should be informed and required to investigate
if repeated false alarms occur, the organisation responsible for servicing should be informed and required to investigate.
Action by the occupier following a fault
If a fault has been shown to exist, whether by the system’s own monitoring or by any other method, then the occupier should ensure that the following actions are taken:

determining the area affected by the fault and decide whether special action (such as fire investigation) is needed in that area
if possible, determine the reason for the fault, or note the activities immediately prior to the fault in the area affected
record the fault, inform the organisation responsible for servicing and arrange for repair.

 

Source from : www.gov.je/STAYINGSAFE/FIRESAFETY/WORKPLACE/Pages/TestingAlarmSystem.aspx