How Often Do Fire Safety Checks Need to be Carried Out?
March 28th, 2022
Last updated: October 12th, 2022
If you run your business from a commercial building then you have a responsibility to perform regular fire safety checks. Keeping your employees and any visitors to the building safe is crucial, it is the right thing to do and it is also a legal obligation.
So, how often do fire safety checks need to be carried out, and are there circumstances where you might choose to perform more safety checks than the minimum required?
Fire alarm systems should be checked every six months, or quarterly, depending on the size of the commercial building. This is in line with fire regulations BS5839. Dry & wet risers and extinguishers should be tested bi-annually, too, along with carrying out fire drills.
Other fire safety checks might be required more regularly, and can even be done by your own internal team, as explained below.
Wondering how often should fire safety checks be done? Well, actually, there are things that you can do every single week. This may be a specific staff member’s responsibility, but each week there are some simple checks you can perform within your business without the need for external help.
- Check that the fire alarm system is working, and all fire equipment activates when it is tested.
- Visual checks that fire extinguishers aren’t damaged, sprinkler system water supplies are in place, and escape routes aren’t blocked.
You may choose to keep a record of all of these checks, and as part of your fire risk assessment it is usually a good idea to prove that you have been thinking about your fire responsibilities and checking and testing your equipment.
As well as the weekly checks, there are some checks for which once a month is usually sufficient. These don’t take a great deal of training to be able to carry out but it is a good idea to get a member of staff with a strong knowledge of fire safety to do so. BS regulations often state that the tests should be performed by a “competent person”.
Monthly checks include:
- Check the pressure on your fire extinguishers is correct.
- Check that your emergency lighting system is working as expected.
- Test all fire doors and check that they are working, with no faults or obstructions.
- Test carbon monoxide detectors and flag any issues.
Professional Checks (Bi-Annual or More Frequently)
As we’ve already mentioned, a professional and competent person should perform the legally-required maintenance, at least every six months. It is a good idea to get an experienced professional to perform these checks, and whoever does so should ideally be qualified to a high level in fire safety.
Bi-annual professional checks should include:
- A maintenance company can service and maintain your fire alarm system to the BS5839-1 standards.
- Fire dampers should be checked and maintained to ensure they are effective.
- Dry and wet risers should be maintained to BS990:2015
- All fire fighting equipment on site should be tested for damage and effectiveness.
Why You Shouldn’t Neglect Your Fire Safety Responsibilities
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005 dictates that all fire safety equipment should be maintained by a competent person. This means that when it comes to technical maintenance such as testing fire extinguishers and alarms, you need an accredited professional to carry out the work.
Your commercial building could be visited by fire safety officers, and you can receive a fire safety notice if you have not complied with regulations. Potential recourse includes:
- An alterations notice. This is issued when there are potential fire safety risks that haven’t been addressed.
- An enforcement notice. This means there is a serious risk and action hasn’t been taken.
- Prohibition notice. Access to the building might be restricted due to risk.
- Financial or criminal penalties. It is possible that you can face charges for not keeping the building safe.
The regulations and restrictions in place have been put in place for a reason, they are there to help you to keep people safe. Don’t put equipment, or worse, people, at risk due to not taking the proper fire precautions.
Contact Robinsons Facilities Services
Robinsons Facilities Services have vast experience in working with fire safety systems. From providing you with a fire risk assessment to performing testing and installation of fire safety equipment, we’re always happy to help.
We have knowledge of every different design of fire safety equipment and can work with you to ensure a high quality of service, maintenance and inspections to keep your premises safe and compliant.
Get in touch with us today, call 01423 226578 or make an enquiry.