Effective fire detection and alarm systems are a key component of fire risk management for any commercial, public or multi-occupancy premises.
Fire regulations require businesses to be able to provide evidence that their system is fit for purpose and is designed, installed, commissioned and maintained in accordance with the relevant British Standards by a competent contractor.
Fire certificates are no longer issued by the Fire Service. The emphasis is now placed on the responsible person designated by the owner or occupier of every relevant property, to conduct a fire risk assessment.
Where a fire detection and alarm system is required, the onus is on the responsible person to be able to prove it is fit for purpose.
The most effective way of achieving this is to contract a third party certificated contractor such as NSI Fire Gold and Fire Silver approved companies.
NSI also approves companies involved in the installation of fixed gaseous suppression systems and the maintenance of portable fire extinguishers.
NSI is approved to inspect to the technical requirements of the BAFE Fire Protection Industry Modular Scheme SP203 for fire detection and alarm systems and fixed gaseous suppression systems and SP101 for the maintenance of portable fire extinguishers.
All companies with five employees or more must produce a documented fire risk assessment to establish that all the correct measures have been taken regarding fire prevention and detection.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, emphasise the importance of preventing fires and reducing risk. It is the responsibility of businesses to ensure the safety of employees and visitors alike.
The designated responsible person must conduct, or employ a suitably qualified person to conduct a fire risk assessment and implement and maintain a fire safety plan.
A set of guides have been produced by the Communities and Local Government department. These advise you of how to conduct a fire risk assessment and put in to place any fire precaution or prevention measures.
- Guides Introduction & Checklist
- Fire Safety Guidance Booklet - Scotland
Fire and other authorities may wish to have sight of the risk assessment.
As part of the fire risk assessment, the inspecting authorities require evidence that a system is 'fit for purpose' and is installed and maintained by 'competent persons'.
The BAFE SP203 Scheme through NSI provides the accepted certification that can be used in conjunction with the fire risk assessment as evidence for the relevant authorities.
CFOA's Policy for the Reduction of False Fire Alarms
The Chief Fire Officers' Association (CFOA) re-launched its Policy "The Reduction of False Fire Alarms & Unwanted Fire Signals" at the Fire & Rescue 2008 Conference in Liverpool on 28 August 2008. This tougher version replaces the previous policy document that was concerned only with remotely monitored alarms.
The Policy takes into account the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and the inconsistent approach from fire and rescue services to the previous version. The Policy now focuses on all fire detection and alarm systems instead of alarms only received through Alarm Receiving Centres.
CFOA state that the Policy is intended to provide "a framework for a partnership between the responsible person of the protected premises, the fire alarm service provider and the fire and rescue authority, to ensure that the obligations, responsibilities and actions of all the parties will be clear and well understood.
CFOA also endorses the use of UKAS accredited third party certificated companies for fire protection products and related services stating that "third party quality assurance can provide confidence, both as a means of satisfying you that the goods and services you have purchased are fit for purpose, and as a means of demonstrating that you have complied with the law".