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IFSEC Insider, formerly IFSEC Global, is the leading online community and news platform for security and fire safety professionals.
June 15, 2017

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The Video Surveillance Report 2022

10 top tips for the maintenance and testing of fire detection systems

John Briggs, head of training and risk at the Fire Protection Association (FPA), is delivering a seminar on ‘Defining competency’ during day two of FIREX 2017 – Wednesday 21 June – between 12:00-12:50 in The FPA Infozone.

Briggs has also put together the following tips for the maintenance and testing of fire detection systems, which offer a digital foretaste of the kind of high-level education to expect from the FPA Infozone at FIREX International 2017. Get your free badge now.

1. All

You need to ensure that whoever does your maintenance and testing that it is done by a “competent” person.

2. Fire detection systems

BS5839 is the standard that maintenance companies comply with to carry out maintenance on fire alarm and detection systems. These checks are normally done quarterly. However, there are also user checks in this standard that the owner or user of the system must complete on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

3. Emergency lighting

There is now no requirement for the six monthly test in emergency lighting tests BS5266-8.

4. Dry risers

The guidance says that dry risers should be tested each year. This is a full pressure test.

5. Fire log book

It is important to record all maintenance carried out on fire systems in the fire log book.

6. Fire doors

Remember, fire doors are only part of the door “SET” which is the doors, the frame and the door furniture.

7. Fire extinguishers

A subcontractor will inspect your extinguishers annually, according to the contract you may have in place, but you or the user are required to carry out and record monthly checks.

8. Fire stopping

When fire stopping, it is important to label what has been done and keep a record of the materials used.

9. Escape routes

You must show [record] that you have checked on a regular basis that escape routes are clear and unobstructed – at all times.

10. Ducting

Make sure the fire detection system in any ducting or voids can be serviced properly.

John Briggs, head of training and risk at the Fire Protection Association (FPA), is delivering a seminar on ‘Defining competency’ during day two of FIREX 2017 – Wednesday 21 June – between 12:00-12:50 in The FPA Infozone.

FIREX International takes place between 20-22 June 2017 at London ExCeL. Get your free badge now.

2023 Fire Safety eBook – Grab your free copy!

Download the Fire Safety in 2023 eBook, keeping you up to date with the biggest news and prosecution stories from around the industry. Chapters include important updates such as the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 and an overview of the new British Standard for the digital management of fire safety information.

Plus, we explore the growing risks of lithium-ion battery fires and hear from experts in disability evacuation and social housing.


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Tyler Meredith
Tyler Meredith
June 20, 2017 2:48 am

It’s interesting that fire detection systems are generally tested and maintained quarterly. It makes sense that this could help ensure there aren’t any minor problems that could cause a major one in an emergency. I’ll have to remember this for when I get a fire detection and suppression system because even if there aren’t requirements for residential applications, keeping it up to date would be beneficial.

September 22, 2017 12:17 am

I didn’t realize that BS5839 was the standard that maintenance companies use to carry out maintenance on fire alarm systems. If I owned a company, I would want to make sure that we were up to code with that standard. A fire systems maintenance company that was able to check regularly and was competent in their abilities would be the type of company I would look for. http://streamlinefireprotection.com/ventures.html

Oscar O\'Malley
Oscar O\'Malley
October 18, 2017 6:03 pm

I appreciate that you explained how important it is to regularly make sure escape routes are clear. The other day I was at the store, and noticed a pile of boxes in front of an exit door. That left me a little nervous, but now that I’ve seen all these precautions that can be taken, I’ll be sure to implement them in my own home!

November 27, 2017 3:19 am

I’ve been wanting to look into a fire alarm company, and I think that being able to know what to look for would be good. I’m glad you mentioned getting fire doors and how they are part of the set. I’m going to have to see what options we can find and figure out if we can get a good fire alarm set from a quality company!

AITO Firework
AITO Firework
August 22, 2019 1:57 am
Kristofer Van Wagner
Kristofer Van Wagner
April 17, 2020 12:56 am

Thank you for explaining that fire detection systems are tested and maintained quarterly to ensure it is operating properly as well as ensure there aren’t any minor issues that could lead to major issues. Therefore, it makes sense to ensure that our fire detection and suppression system is up to date as it ensures our safety too. These are important tips to keep in mind and I will bear it in mind when I choose a system to install for my home.