Fire Alarm Weekly Test

A fire alarm service is like a thorough check-up for your entire fire alarm system. However, weekly testing is more like a quick check to make sure your fire alarm is working properly and catch any issues.

Moreover, this weekly testing guideline is based on something called British Standard BS 5839, which is what the UK government suggests we follow when it comes to taking care of our fire alarms.

To conduct your weekly fire alarm test, please perform the following steps:

  1. Schedule the Test:

    • Choose a suitable time when building occupants will not be inconvenienced or alarmed. Consider early mornings or lunch breaks.
    • Notify relevant personnel (security, building management, etc.) about the test schedule to prevent false alarms.
    • Notify your Customers, Staff and any other Tenants or the Landlord if the system is interconnected.
    • Make sure that your Alarm Receiving Centre is made aware of an imminent Fire Alarm Test.
  2. Locate the Control Panel:

    • Locate the fire alarm control panel, usually near the main entrance or in a designated fire alarm room.
    • Make sure the fire alarm control panel is fault free or make sure any known faults are recorded in the log book.
  3. Test the Fire Alarm System:

    • Assess the system’s functionality by activating a Manual Call Point using the Test Key provided.
    • Ensure that all alarm sounders are working, and that the activation is displayed on the Control Panel.
    • If the Signalling Test Switch is not isolating the system, also test the auxiliary devices, like auto-closing doors, shutters, and the heating and ventilation system.
  4. End the Fire Alarm Test:

    • If the tests are satisfactory then Silence the Alarms and then Reset the system.
  5. Report and Record:

    • In the log book, document the test (activate a different Call Point each week for rotation).
    • If any system faults are detected during the test, report them immediately to the management team and maintenance company and record both the test and the fault in the log book.

The Advantages of Conducting a Weekly Test

The advantages of conducting a weekly fire alarm test are twofold: it ensures the safety and reliability of your fire alarm system, and conducting a weekly fire alarm test plays a crucial role in achieving this goal.

Furthermore, this simple yet vital practice offers a range of benefits, from reducing false alarms to early fault detection and enhancing the overall safety and efficiency of your fire protection measures.

They can:

  • Early Issue Detection
    • Conducting weekly fire alarm tests allows you to catch and address system faults early, preventing potential major breakdowns.
  • Reduced False Alarms
    • Regular testing minimizes the chances of false alarms triggered by simple obstructions or minor system issues, saving time and resources.
  • Occupant Safety and Awareness
    • Frequent tests help occupants become familiar with the fire alarm sound and the appropriate response, ensuring a safer environment.
  • Sound and Visual System Check
    • Weekly tests can reveal any deficiencies in sound and visual components that might go unnoticed during less frequent maintenance checks.
  • Enhanced System Understanding
    • Regular testing boosts your confidence and knowledge about your system, empowering you to handle minor issues without the need for costly emergency service calls.

Weekly Fire Alarm Testing Requirements According to BS5839-1

Under the guidelines of BS5839-1, Section 44.2 (2017 edition), specific recommendations for weekly fire alarm testing by the user are outlined. The Responsible Person or a designated individual is assumed to conduct this weekly testing. Here’s a summary of the key requirements:

Weekly Testing Procedure:

  • Operate a manual call point during normal working hours each week.
  • Verify that the fire alarm panel activates with a fire signal and the sounders are triggered.
  • If the system is linked to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), the monitoring system should be set to test mode before activating the call point, taken off test mode upon completion, and confirm that the ARC received the fire signal during the test.

Consistent Test Timing:

  • Ideally, conduct the weekly test at approximately the same time each week (e.g., Tuesdays at 10:00 to 10:30 am).
  • Inform building occupants of the regular test schedule and encourage them to report any issues related to audibility.
  • In systems with staged alarms (Alert and Evacuate signals), operate both signals sequentially, reflecting their order during a fire incident.

Additional Testing for Off-Hours Occupants:

  • In premises where some employees work outside the normal weekly test period, perform additional tests at least once a month to ensure familiarity with the fire alarm.
  • For instance, if there are night shift employees, conduct a test during their working hours.

Rotation of Manual Call Points:

  • Use a different manual call point each week to test all call points in the building over an extended period.
  • Record the results of the weekly test and identify the manual call point used in the system logbook. For example: “Call Point Asset 12, Location: Warehouse, Tested on 20/06/2023.”

Sounder/Alarm Activation Duration:

  • Ensure sounders/alarms are activated for a minimum of 5 seconds, but typically not exceeding 60 seconds.
  • This duration helps occupants distinguish between a test and an actual fire alarm, promoting appropriate responses and evacuations in case of a real fire.

Need Assistance with Weekly Testing?

If you’re unsure about how to carry out your weekly fire alarm tests, you have options.

  1. Professional Training:
    • We offer on-site training to guide you through the process of completing your weekly fire alarm tests.
  2. Outsourced Testing:
    • If you prefer, we can provide a convenient weekly testing service. Our expert engineers will handle the testing on your behalf.

For more details, please view our Fire Alarm Maintenance page or contact us.

Should you have any other questions or concerns regarding your fire alarm system, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team today. We’re here to help.

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Reviewed: 30/08/2023 Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.