Your Top Fire and Security Questions Answered
Your fire and security decisions are highly instrumental in determining the safety of your building and its occupants.
But where do your responsibilities lie and where should you rely on a trusted fire safety or security engineer?
We explore some of the top questions you might have to help you to make the best decisions for your building, ensuring its safety and security.
- How often should you test your fire and security?
- Why is fire and security testing important? Why is it important to have routine maintenance on your fire and security systems?
- What are fire protection services?
- How to decide which security system is best for you
- What are the legal requirements when it comes to fire and security protection?
How often should you test your fire and security systems?
It’s best practice to ensure you’re testing at least one of the call points within your fire alarm system each week.
You can test this yourself by using the proprietary key to activate the call point.
The alarm call point you test should be changed each week to ensure you detect any alarm call points which aren’t working.
Your entire fire alarm system should be tested at least every six months to comply with the fire safety guidelines set out by British Standards. This audit must be carried out by a trained fire safety engineer.
It’s also important that you check the expiration date on your fire protection supplies. Fire extinguishers, for example, will last for 5 to 10 years depending on the model. The expiration date will be clearly displayed on the equipment.
There is also a certain lifespan on fire alarms themselves – detectors usually last for around 10 years. It’s good practice to ensure your alarm sensors are updated and replaced after this term.
There are currently no British Standards in place to regulate how often your security systems should be tested. Ideally, these systems should be tested at least every year.
There are, however, some industry guidelines stipulating testing every six months for intruder alarm systems which automatically call 999 in an emergency.
All tests for your security systems should be carried out by a competent person who have engineer or access rights to engineer mode on your intruder alarm system.
Why is fire and security testing important? Why is it important to have routine maintenance on your fire and security systems?
Fire and security testing is vital to ensure your building is prepared for an emergency.
These tests ensure all aspects of your building’s safety are in line with the latest regulatory and industry guidelines, ensuring your fire risk is minimised and, ultimately, lives and property are protected or saved.
What are fire protection services?
Fire protection services can be classified as fire extinguishers, fire alarm systems, fire suppression systems, fire blankets, risk assessments. When combined, these act to maximise your building’s protection, minimise your fire risk and optimise occupants’ escape.
Extinguishers, alarms, suppression systems, fire blankets, risk assessments all come under the ‘fire protection services’ banner. These work together to ensure your building is protected, the risk of fire is mitigated and your escape strategy is optimised.
How to decide which security system is best for you
When considering which security system is best for you, you should first consider the potential risks involved. These might arise from the location of the building, the environment in which the building is sitting, the size and shape of the building, the use of the building, whether or not there’s any high-value equipment held there or whether or not there are any personnel safety issues to be considered.
What are the legal requirements when it comes to fire and security protection?
If you manage a large or high value site, often, your building insurance company will want you to carry out a fire risk assessment to determine where your building may be at risk.
This assessment will outline which type of fire alarm systems you need (if any) and which category of system is suitable for your premises these alarms are in. It will also identify other needs such as emergency lighting, fire extinguishers or fire blankets which may be needed etc.
The recommendations made by this fire risk assessment are not strictly a legal requirement to carry out, however, insurers may not pay out as a result of no valid assessment or ignorance of any recommendations made by the assessment. This may also lead to prosecution for the responsible person.
For security, there are no legal obligations. Again, this comes down to what your building insurers recommend. Often, insurers will point out what security systems they would like installed and where.
If you have any other questions or you’d like to find out more, get in touch, we’d love to help ensure your business is as safe and secure as it can be.