In all commercial buildings, the fire alarm test must be carried out each week.
But you already knew that…
Now, this can be more cost-effective if the test is carried out by the responsible person on site rather than having a contractor carry this out each week.
The problem here is that not many people are confident enough with their fire alarm to put the system in ‘test’ and carry out the test.
Fire Alarm Panel being put into test mode for the weekly Fire Alarm test.
So with this in mind, I’d like to share 5 dos and 5 don’ts and a ‘Top Tip’ or two to help you keep your testing efficient, unobtrusive and compliant.
But before I dive in, we received a question from one of our clients about their Weekly Fire Alarm test being too disruptive:
“Is there a way to carry out the weekly fire alarm test without having the sounders go off?”
The straight-up answer is; No. The Sounders will go off if a call point is activated, even when the panel is in test.
But there are a number of things that can be done to minimise the disruption.
Have a member of your team help you out with the weekly tests. One person to activate the call point, then one person standing at the panel ready to reset it once activated.
This way the sounders won’t go off for too long.
Engineers from WFP Fire & Security, performing weekly Fire Alarm test
The Top 5 Things To Do When Carrying Out Your Weekly Fire Alarm Test
The Top 5 Dos
#1 – If your system is being monitored, you will need to contact your ARC (Alarm Receiving Centre) to notify them that you will be carrying out this test.
#2 – Again if you have monitoring, make sure you have done point #1 above and then request a report from your ARC to make sure they received the signal etc.
#3 – You must ensure that you keep a written record of each test on site. The best way to do so is to record each test in a logbook. Click here if you would like us to send you one.
#4 – Your weekly fire alarm test must be carried out during working hours. Even though this could end up being a little disruptive to those in the building at the time, it’s important that everyone can hear it from all areas. If the alarm can’t be heard in all areas, this must be reported to your trusted maintenance provider. They should then carry out a decibel survey to ensure that all areas of the building are covered.
#5 – If any faults show up on the panel or there are any issues when testing, you must report these to your trusted maintenance provider.
Here’s Engineer Paul showing how to carry out the weekly Fire Alarm Test on an Ampac panel.
The Top 5 Donts
You’ve got a handful of Fire Alarm Weekly Test dos, but what about the don’ts that must be avoided? Here y’are:
#1 – Don’t get this mixed up with Fire Drills, these should still be carried out and for this, your team must not be notified it’s happening.
#2 – When everyone knows it’s happening, don’t let them stick earplugs in, they must not alter their environment specifically for the test as this should be treated as a real-life simulation. Your building users should be able to hear the sounders loud and clear when carrying out their standard daily activities.
#3 – Don’t just test the same call point every week, this must be switched up weekly. A different call point should be tested each week. If you have 10 call points on your site, you should have tested them all by the 10th week. Once they all been tested, you start again and rotate to test them again.
#4 – Don’t mistake this test with your bi-annual maintenance visit from your trusted fire alarm maintenance provider. They should carry out a full test of the system during the year along with a minor test. These tests will not only check the call points, but also the detectors.
#5 – Don’t be the only person on your site that knows how to carry this out. Make sure there is a team of you that are capable and comfortable carrying out this weekly test. This way, when you are not in, one of your colleagues may jump in and take the reigns for the weekly testing that week.
Carry out the weekly test at the same time each week and inform your building’s occupants that the fire alarm is being tested and the Sounders will go off for 30 seconds or so.
This way your team will be expecting this and will get used to it happening at the same time each week.
How can you react to something when you don’t know what it sounds like?
A fire alarm is designed to be disruptive and annoying so that when you hear it, you get up and move. It’s a life-safety system that you are testing to keep you and your team safe. If there is a fault with it and you are not testing it every week, you might not find out about it until the next maintenance visit. Which could be up to 6 months away.
Fire Alarm Test Video
Here’s another walkthrough on carrying out your Weekly Fire Alarm Test on a Kentec Panel.
Do you already carry out your weekly test? Or perhaps you didn’t know you had to carry this out weekly. You may find our Table of Duties Guide useful, it’s free and in pdf format, so you can print it off and stick it up easily. You can get your Free Guide by clicking here.
If you still have questions about your weekly Fire Alarm test, feel free to get in touch. We are more than happy to help and offer our expertise and advice. Our email and phone number are below.