The following information will give you guidance under Article 17 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. It is without prejudice to anything which may be required by an enforcing authority.
You must keep any existing equipment, devices or facilities that are provided in your premises for the safety of people (such as fire alarms, fire extinguishers, lighting, signs, fire exits and fire doors) in effective working order and maintain elements which provide fire separation or prevent the ingress of smoke into escape routes.
You must ensure regular checks, periodic servicing and maintenance are carried out whatever the size of your premises and any defects are put right as quickly as possible.
You, or a person you have nominated, can carry out certain checks and routine maintenance work. Further maintenance may need to be carried out by a competent service engineer. Where contractors are used, third party certification is one method where a reasonable assurance of quality of work and competence can be achieved.
There is no one ‘correct’ format specified for this. Suitable record books are available from trade associations and may also be available from your local enforcing authority. An example can be downloaded by following this link to a fire safety log book.
The following are examples of checks and tests that should be carried out. The examples of testing and maintenance given are not intended to be prescriptive and other testing regimes may be appropriate.
Remove bolts, padlocks and security devices from fire exits, ensure that doors on escape routes swing freely and close fully and check escape routes to ensure they are clear from obstructions and combustible materials. Check the fire alarm panel to ensure the system is active and fully operational. Where practicable, visually check that emergency lighting units are in good repair and working. Check that all safety signs and notices are legible.
Weekly tests and checks
Test fire-detection and warning systems and manually-operated warning devices weekly following the manufacturer’s or installer’s instructions. Check the batteries of safety torches and that fire extinguishers and hose reels are correctly located and in apparent working order. Fire pumps and standby diesel engines should be tested for 30 minutes each week.
Monthly tests and checks
Test all emergency lighting systems and safety torches to make sure they have enough charge and illumination according to the manufacturer’s or supplier’s instructions. This should be at an appropriate time when, following the test, they will not be immediately required.
Check that fire doors are in good working order and closing correctly and that the frames and seals are intact.
Six-monthly tests and checks
A competent person should test and maintain the fire-detection and warning system.
Annual tests and checks
The emergency lighting and all fire fighting equipment, fire alarms and other installed systems should be tested and maintained by a competent person.
All structural fire protection and elements of fire compartmentation should be inspected and any remedial action carried out.
Further guidance on maintenance and testing on individual types of equipment you should refer to the relevant current British and / or European standard.
Keeping up-to-date records of your fire risk assessment can help you effectively manage the fire strategy for your premises and demonstrate how you are complying with fire safety law. Even if you do not have to record the fire risk assessment, it can be helpful to keep a record of any co-operation and exchange of information made between employers and other responsible people for future reference.
In larger and more complex premises, it is best to keep a dedicated record of all maintenance of fire-protection equipment and training.
In all cases the quality of records may also be regarded as a good indicator of the overall quality of the safety management structure. Your records should be kept in a specified place on the premises (for example, in the management’s office), and should include:
- details of any significant findings from the fire risk assessment and any action taken;
- testing and checking of escape routes, including final exit locking mechanisms, such as panic devices, emergency exit devices and any electromagnetic devices;
- testing of fire-warning systems, including weekly alarm tests and periodic maintenance by a competent person;
- recording of false alarms;
- testing and maintenance of emergency lighting systems;
- testing and maintenance of fire extinguishers, hose reels and fire blankets etc.;
- if appropriate, testing and maintenance of other fire safety equipment such as fire-suppression systems and smoke control systems;
- recording and training of relevant people and fire evacuation drills;
- planning, organising, policy and implementation, monitoring, audit and review;
- maintenance and audit of any systems that are provided to help the fire and rescue service;
- the arrangements in a large multi-occupied building for a co-ordinated emergency plan or overall control of the actions you or your staff should take if there is a fire; and
- all alterations, tests, repairs and maintenance of fire safety systems, including passive systems such as fire doors.
Other issues that you may wish to record include:
- the competence, qualifications and status of the persons responsible for carrying out inspections and tests;
- the results of periodic safety audits, reviews, inspections and tests, and any remedial action taken;
- all incidents and circumstances which had the potential to cause accidents and monitor subsequent remedial actions; and
- a record of the building use, the fire prevention and protection measures in place and high-risk areas.
Your documentation should be available for inspection by representatives of the enforcing authority.