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Do you know everything you need to know about the maintenance of your fire detection systems?

Making sure that fire detection systems are working correctly can save your life. It’s recommended that employers or building owners run tests on their fire detection systems weekly, every six months and annually. However, the manufacturer’s guidance should always be followed when it comes to each test, as each system may require a different testing method for safety reasons.

Weekly Tests

Fire alarms must be tested weekly during normal working hours to make sure the fire alarm signals are working normally. This also ensures that the fire alarm signal is correctly received at the alarm receiving centre.

For the test, employers should follow these requirements:

  • The fire alarm should not exceed one minute so that, in the unlikely event of a fire at the time of the test, employees will be warned that it’s not a test
  • The test should be carried out at the same time, and not on a Friday, ensuring any faults can be resolved in normal working hours
  • An additional test should be carried out monthly for employees who work outside of normal testing hours to ensure they’re familiar with the process

Six Month Tests and Annual Tests

Some recommendations are applicable every six months, these tests include more a detailed look into all alarms, detectors and fire doors.  It’s also recommended that the system log book is examined and any faults recorded have received appropriate attention. A visual inspection should also be made to check whether structural or occupancy changes affect the compliance of the system.

There are a number of tests that should be carried out annually, as well as the six month and weekly tests. These tests include full testing of all manual call points, all automatic and remote fire detectors, heat detectors, smoke/gas detectors and fire detection systems.

Certification and Record Keeping

  • Records of all tests should be kept ensuring issues are captured and tracked through to resolution
  • On completion of any work, outstanding defects should be reported to the Responsible Person and a record made on the servicing certificate
  • On completion of the acceptance, a certificate should be in accordance with the model form H6 Maintenance certificate of BS5839

We’re happy to assist in reviewing what you have, and each requirement, based on your specific asset database. We are a specialist technical asset management consultancy, providing independent technical and digital solutions across the built environment.

Our ELIAS technology provides clients across the globe with wholistic and dynamic asset management and compliance solutions.

Keep up to date with industry best practice and legislative changes via our website. Alternatively, you can contact one of our technical team members who will be happy to help you further.

Further reading

Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety)

BS5839 S6:P45.3


The above guidelines are relevant with UK legislation and intended to steer building owners, operators, occupiers and maintenance providers with greater levels of knowledge of the obligations placed upon them.