Are your smoke detectors up to the job?

Keeping your colleagues and premises safe and secure from fire is a huge part of running any business – whether you work in a huge industrial building or a small-scale office.

Under the Fire Safety Order 2005, any business must be equipped with the right fire safety equipment, including a working fire alarm system.

Our clients often tell us that having a fire risk assessment in place and checking it’s up to date can be time consuming in addition to their core business. But all companies who employ more than five people are legally obliged to have a fire risk assessment and to review it regularly.

For many years we have been guiding businesses through the process, keeping them safe, legal and informed. We can make the process stress-free and straightforward. And more importantly, it can save lives and save you money in the long run.

During a risk assessment in 2016, I recommended to a client they replace their 20-year-old smoke detectors on their fire alarm system as they may not work effectively if a fire broke out.

They contacted their fire alarm service provider who reassured the client their system had recently been tested and was safe. However, I explained that the smoke detection tester works by forcing a synthetic smoke into the head of the detector and the engineers would have no way of telling if the devices had been contaminated with dirt over the last 20 years. I advised their system may still not function with real smoke. But the customer was satisfied with their service provider’s explanation and chose not to upgrade their smoke detection system.

Unfortunately, a fire did break out at the client’s premises recently and one of the smoke detectors didn’t work.

Last year Synergy Fire Engineering carried out some small-scale testing of smoke detection systems in high airflow environments, such as server rooms. We took the opportunity to test five 20-year-old smoke detectors, which had been removed during a refurbishment project. Out of the five devices, two didn’t work at all and the remaining three took a at least three times as long to activate than newer devices.

This is a stark warning to double check your fire alarms and to take the advice outlined in your fire risk assessment.

Our team here at Synergy Fire Engineering has more than twenty years’ experience in the fire and security sector, working in partnership with organisations of all shapes and sizes to ensure people are safe while they work. For more information about how we can help you carry out a fire risk assessment, or test your existing smoke detection equipment, please get in touch via  Telephone: 0843 658 1310 or 07584 089269 or Email: [email protected]