Fire alarm systems are usually incorporated into buildings to protect life and/or property. The most
appropriate system will depend on the type of building, the ease of egress in an emergency and the type of occupancy.
Your fire-warning and/or detection system should be supervised by a named responsible person, given enough authority and training to manage all aspects of the routine testing and scrutiny of the system. The control and indicating equipment should be checked at least every 24 hours to ensure there are no specific faults. All types of fire warning systems should be tested once a week. For electrical systems a manual call point should be activated (using a different call point for each successive test), usually by inserting a dedicated test key.
This will check that the control equipment is capable of receiving a signal and in turn, activating the warning alarms. Manual call points may be numbered to ensure they are sequentially tested. Testing and maintenance of the system should be carried out by a competent person. It is good practice to test the alarm at the same time each week, but additional tests may be required to ensure that staff or people present outside normal working hours are given the opportunity to hear the alarm.
Six-monthly servicing and preventive maintenance should be carried out by a competent person with specialist knowledge of fire-warning and automatic detection systems. This task is normally fulfilled by entering into a service contract with a specialist fire alarm company. It is good practice to record all tests, false alarms and any maintenance carried out.
All emergency escape lighting systems should be regularly tested and properly maintained to an appropriate standard. Most existing systems will need to be manually tested. However, some modern systems have self-testing facilities that reduce routine checks to a minimum. Depending on your type of installation you should be able to carry out most of the routine tests yourself. The test method will vary. If you are not sure how to carry out these tests you should contact your supplier or other competent person.