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Fire Alarm FAQs

Here at Fire Action, we have put together the most frequently asked questions we receive about fire alarms and their maintenance. If you need further assistance with your fire alarms or any of our other services, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

How many fire drills are required by law each year?

You must perform one fire drill per year to comply with UK law. You must also record the results of the drill to inform your fire safety and evacuation plan.

What is a fire alarm system?

A fire alarm system is a number of devices that work together to warn the occupants of a building that carbon monoxide, fire and smoke are present and to evacuate immediately. The alarm system will typically combine auditory and visual warnings to bring attention to the emergency.

How often should I test my fire alarm?

You should test your fire alarm once a week at a set time. Warn people inside the building that this is a regular test and that no evacuation is required. The elected fire officer for the building/company will be informed if the alarm is genuine.

What is a spot type smoke detector?

A spot smoke detector uses a small amount of radioactive material to ionize the air between two differently charged electrodes. When smoke is present, the resulting connection between the electrodes will set off an audible alarm.

Why do I need a fire alarm service contract?

To comply with BS-5839, which is an obligation to complete a fire risk assessment of your premises. You will also be fulfilling your legal requirements to insurers.

What is BS-5839?

British Standard 5839 (otherwise known as BS-5839) is a code of practice set out by the British Standards Institution. It details the guidelines for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire alarm and fire detection systems in non-domestic premises.

What are the benefits of a service contract?

It will give you full compliance with your insurance requirements and fulfil legal obligations, as well as providing peace of mind.

What businesses and organisations need a fire alarm service contract?

Every business, company, firm and organisation requires a fire alarm system by law. For reasons of safety, no one is exempt.

Why do I need a minimum of 2 visits per year?

Two visits per year is the recommended minimum to comply with BS-5839. During the visit, your engineer will check the detection, sounders, batteries and more.

What work does an engineer carry out on their visit?

The engineer will guarantee every call point and sounder is operational. A minimum of 50% of the detection devices must also be in good working order. Auxiliaries such as the backup battery must be in good condition, too.

Will an engineer’s visit disrupt my business?

This will depend on the nature of your business and the location of your fire detection and alarm system. It is possible that disruption will occur. However, our engineers are conscientious in their work and can adapt their practices to accommodate many issues, including sound issues.

What proof will I be supplied with at the end of the service contract?

When your contract is terminated you will receive a certificate and report detailing our visits. This can be used for insurance purposes.

Do I need an annual fire alarm service contract?

You are required to have a fire alarm service contract under BS-5839.

How long do fire panel backup batteries last for?

Depending on the location and ambient temperature of the fire panel, you can expect 4-5 years before the battery needs replacing.


Has your question been answered? If not, simply contact the friendly team at Fire Action today. Call 0800 030 6076, email or use our quick contact form. We’ll be happy to help with your enquiry.

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