Fire Alarm Testing
E&J Fire and Security Ltd will train your dedicated staff on how to correctly test your fire alarm system.
We recommend by following the British Standards (below) :-
Check to see if there is only a power light illuminated on the fire panel.
If there are any faults showing make a note then contact your Fire Alarm maintenance company.
• 6 Monthly:
Minimum service time (may be more frequent if specified by your risk assessment).
Service inspection undertaken by your Fire Alarm maintenance company.
• 12 Months:
Part service inspection.
Service inspection undertaken by your Fire Alarm maintenance company.
• Alarm Activation (False Alarms)
Many customers will contact their Fire Alarm maintenance company reporting false alarms in a area
but unfortunately not knowing which device caused the activation. Fire alarm areas can be vast in size.
E&J Fire and Security Ltd will always advise their customers to follow the procedure below before we visit
site to help identify the problem with their system. We have found this is a more cost effective way to
eliminate unwanted false alarm problems.
1) Follow your evacuation procedures.
2) If safe to do so: Approach panel.
3) Type in the code or turn the test key at the panel.
4) Turn the key to position or press Silence.
5) Remove key or allow code to expire (to prevent un-wanted other user intervention).
6) If safe to do so: Investigate area shown on the panel.
You are looking for a LED (small red light) illuminated on a ceiling detector or a smashed call point (brake glass).
7) After discovering the device that caused the activation and you believe without any doubt this was a false alarm,
return to the panel.
7a) If this is the second false alarm and you can confidently and safely reach the smoke detector,
Hoover the head by cupping you hand round the back of the detector Hoovering the front,
then rotate your hoover and hand to Hoover 360 degrees.
9) Make a note of the zone and the device location that caused the alarm.
9b) If this is the third false alarm within a short period of time contact your Fire Alarm maintenance company.
10) Type in the code or turn the test key at the panel.
11) Turn the key to position or press Reset.
False alarms can be caused by many reasons.
The most common reasons are:-
•Excessive use of powders.
•Excessive use of sprays.
•Badly installed systems.
If you have any doubts or worries about your system, contact your Fire Alarm maintenance company.
The British Standards 5839-1 States:
Section 6. Maintenance
44 Routine testing
Although modern fire alarm systems may incorporate a high degree of monitoring, so that faults are indicated automatically, it is still necessary for the responsible person nominated by the user to ensure that fault indications at the panel are identified for appropriate action. It is also vital for a regular test to be carried out to ensure that there has not been any major failure of the entire system, or a significant part of the system.
Routine testing of the system also provides an opportunity for occupants of the building to become, and remain, familiar with the fire alarm signal(s) that the system produces. In systems with staged alarms that incorporate an 'Alert" and an "Evacuate"signal, both signals needs to be operated on the occasion of each test to ensure that occupants are aware of the existence of both signals and their different meaning.
44.2 Recommendations for weekly testing by the user
When testing the fire detection system, there may be a need to isolate ancillary outputs.
The following recommendations apply:
a) Every week, a manual call point should be operated during normal working hours. It should be confirmed that the control equipment is capable of processing a fire alarm signal and providing an output to fire alarm sounders, and to ensure that the fire alarm signal is correctly received at any alarm receiving center to which fire alarm signals are transmitted. It is not necessary to confirm that all fire alarm sounder circuits operate correctly at the time of this test.
NOTE 1 It is essential that any alarm receiving center is contacted immediately before, and immediately after, the weekly test to ensure that unwanted alarms are avoided and that fire alarm signals are correctly received at the alarm receiving center.
NOTE 2 The user needs to take into account of the manufacturer's recommendations. particularly when battery powered devices are being tested, e.g, within radio-linked fire alarm systems.
b) The weekly test should be carried out at approximately the same time each week; instructions to occupants should then be that they should report any instance of poor audibility of the fire alarm signal.
In systems with staged alarms incorporating an "Alert" and an "Evacuate" signal, the two signals should be operated, where practicable, sequentially in the order they mold occur at the time of a fire (i.e. "Alert" and then "Evacuate").
c) In premises in which some employees only work during hours other than that at which the fire alarm system is normally tested, an additional test(s) should be carried out at least once a month to ensure familiarity of these employees with the fire alarm signal(s).
d) A different manual call point should be used at the time of every weekly test, so that all manual call points in the building are tested in rotation over a prolonged period. There is no maximum limit for this period (e.g. in a system with 150 manual call points, the user will test each manual call point every 150 weeks). The result of the weekly test and the identity of the manual call point used should be recorded in the system log book [see 40.2d)l.
e) The duration for which any fire alarm signal is given (other than solely at control and indicating equipment) at the time of the weekly test by the user should not normally exceed one minute, so that, in the event of a fire at the time of the weekly test, occupants will be warned by the prolonged operation of the fire alarm devices.
f ) Voice alarm systems should be tested weekly in accordance with the recommendations of BS 5839-8.
45 Inspection and servicing
It is essential that the system is subject to periodic inspection and servicing so that unrevealed faults are identified, preventive measures can be taken to ensure the continued reliability of the system, false alarm problems are identified and suitably addressed, and that the user is made aware of any changes to the building that affect the protection afforded by the system.
Periodic inspection and servicing needs to be carried out by a competent person with specialist knowledge of fire detection and alarm systems, including knowledge of the causes of false alarms, sufficient information regarding the system, and adequate access to spares.
This will normally be an outside fire alarm servicing organization; care needs to be taken to ensure that, if, for example, in-house employees are used for this task, they have equivalent competence to the technicians of a typical fire alarm servicing organization. Competence of a fire alarm servicing organization can be assured by the use of organizations that are third-party certificated, by a UKAS-certificated certification body, to carry out inspection and servicing of fire alarm systems.
45.2 Recommendation for quarterly inspection of vented batteries All vented batteries and their connections should be examined by a person competent in battery installation and maintenance technology. Electrolyte levels should be checked and topped up as necessary.
NOTE In many large premises and sites, in-house maintenance personnel may be competent to carry out this task.
45.3 Recommendations for periodic inspection and test of the system Some fire detection and fire alarm systems and components include features that permit functions to be automatically monitored, and faults or warnings to be annunciated, or otherwise made available to authorized persons. In such cases, the recommendations for routine testing under this sub clause and in
45.4 may be modified to omit testing which is declared to be unnecessary by the equipment supplier, provided it can be demonstrated that the automatic monitoring achieves the same objective as the appropriate test recommended in this sub clause and/or
45.4.The recommendations in this clause should be carried out by a competent person (see 3.11). The period between successive inspection and servicing visits should be based upon a risk assessment, taking into account the type of system installed, the environment in which it operates and other factors that may affect the long term operation of the system. The recommended period between successive inspection and servicing visits should not exceed six months. If a risk assessment shows a need for more frequent inspection and servicing visits, then all interested parties should agree the appropriate inspection and servicing schedule. If this recommendation is not implemented, it should be considered that the system is no longer compliant with this part of BS 5839.
The following recommendations are applicable.
a) The system log book should be examined. It should be ensured that any faults recorded have received appropriate attention.
b) A visual inspection should be made to check whether structural or occupancy changes have affected the compliance of the system with the recommendations of this standard for the siting of manual call points, automatic fire detectors and fire alarm devices. Particular care should be taken to verify whether:
1) all manual call points remain unobstructed and conspicuous;
2) any new exits have been created without the provision of an adjacent manual call point;
3) any new or relocated partitions have been erected within 500 mm horizontally of any automatic fire detector [see 22.3g)l;
4) any storage encroaches within 300 mm of ceilings, such as to obviate compliance with 22.31);
5) a clear space of 500 mm is maintained below each automatic fire detector [see 22.3n)], and that the ability of the detector to receive the stimulus that it has been designed to detect has not been impeded by other means;
6) any changes to the use or occupancy of an area makes the existing types of automatic fire detector unsuitable for detection of fire or prone to unwanted alarms;
7) any building alterations or extensions require additional fire detection and alarm equipment to be installed.
c) The records of false alarms should be checked in accordance with 30.2i). The rate of false alarms during the previous 12 months should be recorded [see 30.2i)l. Action taken in respect of false alarms recorded should comply with the recommendations of 30.2j).
d) The standby battery should be disconnected and full load alarm should be simulated.
e) Batteries and their connections should be examined and momentarily load tested with the mains disconnected (other than those within devices such as manual call points, detectors and fire alarm sounders of a radio-linked system), to ensure that they are in good serviceable condition and not likely to fail before the next service visit. Vented batteries should be examined to ensure that the specific gravity of each cell is correct.
f) The fire alarm functions of the control and indicating equipment should be checked by the operation of at least one detector or manual call point on each circuit. An entry should be made in the log book indicating which initiating devices have been used for these tests.
g) The operation of the fire alarm devices should be checked.
h) All controls and visual indicators at control and indicating equipment should be checked for correct operation.
i) The operation of any facility for automatic transmission of alarm signals to an alarm receiving center should be checked. Where more than one form of alarm signal can be transmitted (e.g. fire and fault signals), the correct transmission of each signal should be confirmed.
j) All ancillary functions of the control and indicating equipment should be tested.
k) All fault indicators and their circuits should be checked, where practicable, by simulation of fault conditions.
l) All printers should be tested to ensure that they operate correctly and that characters are legible.
It should be ensured that all printer consumables are sufficient in quantity or condition to ensure that the printer can be expected to operate until the time of the next service visit.
m) Radio systems of all types should be serviced in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer.
n) All further checks and tests recommended by the manufacturer of the control and indicating equipment and other components of the system should be carried out.
o) On completion of the work, any outstanding defects should be reported to the responsible person, the system log book [see 40.2d)l should be completed and a servicing certificate should be issued (see Annex G).
45.4 Recommendations for inspection and test of the system over a 12 month period
In addition to the work recommended in 45.3, it is recommended that the following work be carried out every year.
NOTE 1 The work described may be carried out over the course of two or more service visits during each twelve month period.
a) The switch mechanism of every manual call point should be tested, either by removal of a frangible element, insertion of a test key or operation of the device as it would be operated in the event of fire.
b) All automatic fire detectors should be examined, as far as practicable, to ensure that they have not been damaged, painted, or otherwise adversely affected. Thereafter, every detector should be functionally tested. The tests used need prove only that the detectors are connected to the system, are operational and are capable of responding to the phenomena they are designed to detect.
c) Every heat detector should be functionally tested by means of a suitable heat source, unless operation of the detector in this manner would then necessitate replacement of part or all of the sensing element (e.g. as in fusible link point detectors or non-integrating line detectors). Special test arrangements will be required for fusible link heat detectors. The heat source should not have the potential to ignite a fire; live flame should not be used, and special equipment might be necessary in explosive atmospheres.
d) Point smoke detectors should be functionally tested by a method that confirms that smoke can enter the detector chamber and produce a fire alarm signal (e.g. by use of apparatus that generates simulated smoke or suitable aerosols around the detector). It should be ensured that the material used does not cause damage to, or affect the subsequent performance of, the detector; the manufacturer's guidance on suitable materials should be followed.
e) Optical beam smoke detectors should be functionally tested by introducing signal attenuation between the transmitter and receiver, either by use of an optical filter, smoke or simulated smoke.
f ) Aspirating fire detection systems should be functionally tested as described in 45.4d), with each sampling point, or group of sampling points, in the pipework of the system treated as a point detector.
Note that not all test products may be appropriate for the purpose.
g) Carbon monoxide fire detectors should be functionally tested by a method that confirms that carbon monoxide can enter the detector chamber and produce a fire alarm signal (e.g. by use of apparatus that generates carbon monoxide or a gas that has a similar effect on the electro-chemical cell as carbon monoxide).
WARNING Carbon monoxide is a highly toxic gas, and suitable precautions should be taken in its use.
NOTE 2 It should be ensured that any test gas used does not cause damage to, or affect the subsequent performance of, the detector; the manufacturer's guidance on suitable test gases should be followed.
h) Flame detectors should be functionally tested by a method that confirms that the detector will respond to a suitable frequency of radiation and produce a fire alarm signal. The guidance of the manufacturer on testing of detectors should be followed.
i) In fire detection systems that enable analogue values to be determined at the control and indicating equipment, it should be confirmed that each analogue value is within the range specified by the manufacturer.
j) Multi-sensor detectors should be operated by a method that confirms that products of combustion in the vicinity of the detector can reach the sensors and that a fire signal can be produced as appropriate.
The guidance of the manufacturer on the manner in which the detector can be functionally tested effectively should be followed.
k) All fire alarm devices should be checked for correct operation. It should be confirmed that visual fire alarm devices are not obstructed from view and that their lenses are clean.
l) All unmonitored, permanently illuminated filament lamp indicators at control and indicating equipment should be replaced.
m) Radio signal strengths in radio-linked systems should be checked for adequacy.
n) A visual inspection should be made to confirm that all readily accessible cable fixings are secure and undamaged.
o) The cause and effect programme should be confirmed as being correct.
p) The standby power supply capacity should be checked to establish it remains suitable for continued service.
q) All further annual checks and tests recommended by the manufacturer of the control and indicating equipment and other components of the system should be carried out.
On completion of the work, any outstanding defects should be reported to the responsible person and a record of the inspection and test should be made on the servicing certificate.
NOTE 3 Since stimulus of the sensing element through introduction of the phenomena or surrogate phenomena which the above detectors are designed to detect forms part of the test, use of a test button or a test magnet (for example) or compliance with
45.41) does not satisfy the recommendations given.