Fire Safety Advice
The following guidance notes have been taken from and are available to view and download for free on the NIFRS website from fireSAFE, in the Guidance Documents section.

Section 2 Guidance on Fire Detection and Fire Warning Systems

The fire alarm system is required to be monitored and tested by a nominated responsible person. The responsible person should have sufficient information and training in order to carry out all aspects of routine testing and supervision of the system. Regular tests are vital to ensure that there has not been any major failure of the entire or a significant part of the system. It is essential that if the alarm is linked to an alarm signal receiving centre, it is contacted immediately before, and immediately after, any tests to ensure that unnecessary attendance of the fire and rescue service is avoided and that an assessment of whether fire alarm signals are correctly received at the alarm receiving centre.

• Inspect the alarm panel daily for normal operation of the system (this does not have to be recorded). If any defects are found then record in the log book and report it to a responsible person. It should be ensured that any faults recorded have received appropriate attention.

• Every week a different manual call point should be operated (same time each week) during normal working hours. In premises where employees work out of these hours, an additional test should be carried out at least once a month to ensure familiarity with the sound of the fire alarm. There is no maximum limit for the period of time it takes to test the system in rotation.

• Automatic door releases that are connected to the fire alarm system should be tested weekly in conjunction with the fire alarm test, checking that all doors are being released and close fully onto the door rebates.

• If emergency generators are used as standby power, simulation of power failure to activate generators on load for at least one hour each month will be necessary. Where vented batteries are used as standby power, carry out a visual inspection of batteries and connections including electrolyte level.

• Quarterly and annual inspections and tests can only be undertaken by a competent person with the relevant technical knowledge and training. This may be done by the installer, a qualified in-house maintenance person or some other competent person.

Regular visual inspection of manual call points and fire detectors is required to ensure that:

• Manual call points are unobstructed and conspicuous.

• A clear space of 500mm is maintained below each automatic fire detector and is not impeded by any other means, ie, accumulation of dust in detector head or layers of paint.

False alarms should be recorded and positive action taken to manage the problem.

Categories of False Alarms:

• Unwanted alarms.
• Equipment false alarms.
• False alarms with good intent.
• Malicious false alarms.