Are You Up to Date?

July 1, 2013 By In Fire Safety Comments Off on Are You Up to Date?

18 months ago, Dave’s company moved into a new office building. He had everything checked and updated according to fire safety regulations. He’s relieved to have that load off his mind. Everyone is safe and protected, and he’s pretty sure that he’s still complying with the law a year and a half down the line.

Well… not quite. Thankfully this is a hypothetical situation, because in fact Dave would actually be putting his property and employees seriously at risk.

Fire safety equipment takes time and money to install; it’s required by law. But it doesn’t end there. Regular maintenance  is also required in order to comply with British Standards legislation. This may seem simple enough, but for example up to 60% of dry risers are not currently maintained in accordance with the British Standards. If your fire safety equipment isn’t properly maintained, it can make your insurance invalid. On top of that, nobody wants to discover that the fire safety equipment on hand is faulty when a fire breaks out!

So what does the law say? And how can you keep up to date?

British Standards for Fire Safety

British Standards use a system of letters and numbers to denote certain laws and codes of practice:

BS 9990:2006
BS 5306-1:2006
BS 5306-3:2009
BS 5306-8:2012
BS 5839-1:2013
BS 5839-6:2013
BS 5266-1:2011

At a glance they may look nonsensical, but in fact these numbers relate to codes of practice for Fire Safety under British Standards. They cover the requirements of design, installation, testing and maintenance for fire safety systems (take a look at BS9990:2006 as an example). As you can see, there is a lot of information attached attached to each British Standards code and keeping up to date can be a job in itself!

Keeping on track

Here are some of the British Standards requirements to keep on top of regarding fire safety:

  • Hose Reels need to be inspected and serviced annually to ensure that they will work properly in case of an emergency (BS 5306-1).
  • Dry and Wet Risers have to be visually checked every 6 months, and have a full pressure test done every year (BS9990).
  • Fire Alarm Systems need to be checked weekly and serviced at a minimum of 6-monthly intervals (BS5839-1).
  • Emergency Lighting has to be checked annually (BS5266-1).
  • Fire Extinguishers must be serviced annually and discharge-tested at set intervals (often 5 years) (BS5306-3).

All these checks have to be carried out by a ‘competent person‘, which is clearly defined in law and in practice means a specialist external organisation like Argos Fire. As you can see, there’s a lot to keep on track with. The good news is that you don’t have to do it all yourself; for property owners in Devon and the South West area, there is help at hand! At Argos Fire we are well versed and up to date in fire safety and protection requirements, and can help you stay within the regulations. What’s more, we have a team of fully trained and accredited technicians that can come in and do all the work.

If you’re a business owner (like the hypothetical Dave), it might also be helpful to take a look at the government information on workplace fire safety, on the Communities and Local Government website.

If you want to further discuss keeping up to date with fire safety regulations, we’d love for you to get in contact.

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