Fire Alarms Cheltenham

Frequently Asked Questions ​(FAQs)

UK fire alarm system requirements

Based on the questions we generally get asked about fire alarms, maintenance, and service inspections we have put together this helpful FAQ guide. 

However, before upgrading, modifying, or installing a new fire alarm we highly recommend you consult a fire protection professional that can conduct a fire risk assessment and specify the right solution.

Call 01242 508 164 or email to speak to one of our helpful fire protection engineers.

Is it essential to install a fire alarm system in a commercial building?

Commercial buildings are required to have ‘an appropriate fire detection system’ in place to detect, alert and notify occupants to take action in the event of a fire. Smoke alarms are one of the essential safety features commercial properties should have.

It is recommended that all commercial buildings undergo a comprehensive Fire Risk Assessment conducted by a qualified professional. Midwest Fire Protection can conduct Fire Risk Assessments, specify and supply fire protection equipment and offer bespoke servicing agreements to ensure all equipment is compliant and in good working order.

What are the main types of fire alarm systems?

There are four main types of fire alarms, Conventional, Addressable, Analogue and Wireless. These systems can all include serval types of detectors, heat, smoke, carbon monoxide, multi-sensors and manual call points.

Many fire protection providers tend to specialise in one type of fire alarm system, which limits their technical expertise by supplying and installing equipment from one manufacturer. Midwest Fire Protection is an independent provider that means that we are not tied in to one manufacturer.

Type of detectors

Fire Alarms Cheltenham – Type of detectors.

What standards should fire alarm systems comply too?

The appropriate British Standard for the installation of fire alarms in commercial premises is BS 5839-1. The standard details guidelines for the design, installation, commissioning, maintenance and servicing for fire detection and fire alarms systems.

How often should a fire alarm be tested?

Ideally, the fire alarm system should be tested once a week. This test can be conducted by the companies appointed fire marshal/warden or depending on the size of the premises by an appointed fire protection company. Before the testing, the occupants of the building must be warned that it is pending regular test and that there is no need to evacuate and if the system is linked into at ARC (Alarm Receiving Centre), they will need to be notified of the test time and not to alert the emergency services.

However, a fire alarm system should be inspected at least every 6 months by an experienced fire protection professional.

Fire Alarms Cheltenham

Fire Alarm Cheltenham – alarm testing

Why do I need a fire alarm service contract?

The BS 5839-1 standard provides guidance stating that a competent person* (an experienced fire protection professional, who has received sufficient training and has acquired experience and knowledge within the fire protection industry) conducts regular fire alarm and detection systems inspections and provides a fully documented servicing agreement.

*A competent person is usually either a fire protection engineer or fire technician from a third-party fire protection specialist company.

How often should fire alarms be inspected?

The time frame between subsequent visits by a competent person (usually a third-party fire protection professional) should not exceed 6 months however, there is a specified time period of 12 months in order to inspect all of the equipment. This means that inspections can be scheduled into as many visits as is required to ensure that 100% of the fire equipment has been checked in the 12 month time period.

Even though all equipment could be inspected in 1 visit, it is still necessary to conduct site visits once every 6 months. These 6 monthly inspections are known as periodic inspections.

What is the life expectancy of a fire detector?

10 years is the standard life expectancy of an optical detector however, some manufactures claim their product has an extended life span. When installed or replaced detectors need calibrating according to their environment and are susceptible to degradation bases on the environment conditions, they are sited in. For instance, detectors sited in dusty environments will require replacement sooner.

Do you need to upgrade, modify or install a new fire alarm system?

As independent fire protection professionals, we are not tired in to one typical fire alarm manufacturer. This means we are best placed to specify and install the correct solution to suit your building’s needs.

Fill in the form below for a quote or request a call back to discuss your requirements with a Fire Protection Engineer.