User responsibilities in the testing and maintenance of the fire alarm system

In a case of a fire alarm, and not only, the following rules are the general User Responsibilities for Fire Systems.

  • The responsible person is required under BS5839 to undertake certain tasks with respect to the testing and maintenance of the Fire Alarm System.
  • The responsible person is also required to liaise with the building maintenance personnel to ensure that their work does not impair or otherwise affect the operation of the Fire Alarm System, and to ensure that a clear space is maintained in the vicinity of detectors, and call points (break glass units) remain unobstructed and conspicuous.

Routine Testing

  • The responsible person should also ensure that the following routine testing is carried out. If there is a link to a remote monitoring centre it will be necessary to advise the centre prior to a test.
  • On larger systems it may be necessary to isolate building services interfaces to avoid disruption to the occupants.
  • In any case the panel should provide audible and visual indication that parts of the system are isolated. This may take the form of a light on the main control panel.

Daily testing
Check that the panel indicates normal operation and that any fault is recorded. Also check that the recorded faults have been dealt with.

Weekly testing
Every week, a different Manual Call Point should be operated to test the ability of the control equipment to receive a signal and sound the alarm. The results should be recorded in a log book.

Biannually (previously quarterly) testing
The system should be checked by a Fire Alarm service organisation. This may be the system installer or an approved maintenance company, and is normally arranged via a maintenance agreement which specifies the number of visits and the level of service. The agreement should also cover non-maintenance visits, eg. call outs to attend faults etc.

The standard specifies a number of maintenance tasks which include a visual inspection of the installation to ensure that there are no alterations or obstructions which could effect the operation of the system, and functional checks to confirm the operation of the system. Any defects should be recorded in the log book and reported to a responsible person. A certificate of testing should also be completed and given to the responsible person.

Annually testing

  • Each device on the system should be tested for correct operation as before.
  • Any defects should be recorded in the log book and reported to the responsible person.
  • A certificate of testing should be completed and given to the responsible person.

Action by user following a fire

  • Advise the servicing company to arrange for the system to be tested by them.
  • A certificate of testing should be issued to confirm the system operation following the inspection and any remedial work that is necessary.

Action by the user after any false alarm

The user can assist the servicing company in the identification of false alarms by observing the following:

  • Always make a note of all illuminated indicators and messages displayed at the control panel
  • Try and identify the activated device, i.e. Do not reset the panel until the area of the incident has been inspected
  • Record any other incidents occurring at the same time which could affect the system, e.g. Power supply failure, building works etc.
  • The service organization will be more likely to trace the false alarm if the above information is available.

Action by the user following a fault

  • When a fault is reported by the control panel, the user should note all illuminated LED’s and the circumstances at the time the fault occurred, and report to the servicing company.
  • The service company will be able to advise if the system is still able to respond to a Fire Alarm or whether extra vigilance should be observed until the fault is rectified.
  • Faults should, under no circumstances be left unreported.

These are the generally accepted guidelines by Rafiki, Aico, and other Fire Alarms manufacturers, and they are also commonly accepted for all the domestic, commercial and industrial properties in UK. It is also our recommendation to all our visitors and customers to mind these basic rules(which should also be printed/posted especially at the workplaces).  Read more about the Rafiki advices for Fire Alarms, some of the guidelines provided by Rafiki(intelligent fire technology) – check out the Rafiki series of industrial/commercial fire alarm systems (like the Rafiki Twinflex), found at The Conventional and Analogue Fire Alarms. For more details about the fire alarms, visit the Fire-Detect website(see a list of articles about the fire alarms here and here).

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