Fire safety equipment used in the fight against fire includes all deterrent, detection, warning and firefighting components, such as smoke detectors, fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers, fire doors, emergency lighting and more.
Simply having these items installed and training your staff in their operation is not enough to uphold effective fire safety.
All maintenance must also be carried out regularly and recorded.
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a nominated ‘responsible person’, usually, the employer, building owner or landlord, is charged with carrying out a fire risk assessment. This includes inspecting all areas of the premises for fire hazards, keeping a carefully written log of all findings and actions taken, as well as ensuring that all staff is fully trained in accordance with their allocated roles and responsibilities.
Fire equipment maintenance falls under the duties of the responsible person, equipment must be inspected, maintained and checked on a regular basis in line with British Standards.
With a mix of passive and active fire protection equipment present on-site, you will have to consider each component’s role carefully and must know how regularly they will need to be inspected.
Here are a few basic ones to get you started – remember: be sure to make a note of all checks in your logbook.
- Check that all fire exits are to an acceptable operational standard, ensure they can be opened easily.
- Remove any obstructions throughout the evacuation route immediately.
- Inspect your fire alarm panel for any displayed faults.
- If possible, test emergency lighting for faults, and ensure that all signage is clearly visible.
- Manually test all fire alarm equipment via the Manual Call Point or other suitable test facility. Checking alarms at the same time every week will avoid panic among staff as they will be expecting it.
Perform a thorough check of all emergency lighting systems for sufficient illumination, logging any findings.
Carry out a more detailed check of fire doors, making sure that the intumescent seals, hinges and frames are in good condition.
Ensure all handles and locks move freely.
Visually check extinguishers for obvious signs of damage, that they are mounted correctly with signage displayed.
6 Monthly Checks
- Fire Alarm and Detection Systems must be inspected and maintained by a qualified technician every 6 Months
- All fire protection equipment, including emergency lighting, sprinklers, extinguishers and fire doors should be thoroughly inspected by a qualified technician in accordance with relevant British Standards.
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Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
The maintenance of fire extinguishers starts the moment they are delivered to your place of business. Every unit will need to be ‘commissioned’ by a competent technician, ensuring that they have not been damaged during transit or manufacturing and that it meets current British Standards.
This should be a more thorough and detailed check performed by a technician. Any signs of corrosion will be sought out, while each component will be tested individually.
The unit will also be weighed, and certification will be provided if it passes inspection.
Five Year Check
- Approximately every five years, extinguishers will undergo ‘discharging’. This entails an emptying and refilling of the unit, allowing for the accredited engineer to check the interior of the extinguisher for faults as well as the operational components