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Preventing false fire alarms in the workplace

​How can I stop my automatic fire alarm system going off by mistake?

A few simple rules, along with normal good housekeeping practices, can help to keep false fire alarm activations to a minimum.

During routine testing:

  • if the fire alarm system is connected to a 112 or 999 automatic dialling unit, transmission for the alarm shoud be prevented (for instance by disconnection) before the routine test is carried out, since under normal conditions 112 or 999 test calls are not permitted
  • where transmission of signals to a remote manned centre is installed and the transmission of this signal is to be prevented during the test, a visual indication of their state should be given at the control equipment.  If the link to the remote manned centre is to be used during the test then it is essential to notify the centre before undertaking the test
  • the occupants of the premises should be notified of any test of the system that may result in the sounders being operated, and ideally again once the test has been completed

During renovation work:

  • staff or visiting contractors should be made aware that the building is protected by an automatic fire alarm system
  • staff or visiting contractors should not undertake any activity which may generate heat, smoke, flames or sparks without prior authorisation of a responsible member of the managerial staff
  • no renovation work involving the generation of dust or paint spray should be carried out in any area protected by an automatic smoke alarm system unless proper precautions have been taken to protect the smoke detectors against the entry of dust
  • if your system is monitored, you should inform your monitoring company if you are having any renovation work done

Warning:

If you have protected your smoke detectors against dust with plastic or paper covers during renovation work:

  • the operation of these smoke detectors will be impaired by this action and alternative manual surveillance must be carried out whilst the system is out of action 
  • a responsible member of the managerial staff of the premises should ensure that the covers are removed and the system reinstated, as soon as all work has been completed and residual dust has been removed
  • an operational test of the fire alarm system by a qualified person is highly recommended, following any redecorating or building work in a protected area

 

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