FAQ

What is a fire alarm system?

A Fire Alarm System is a number of devices that work together to warn the occupants of a building that carbon monoxide, fire and smoke are present and to evacuate immediately. The alarm system will typically combine auditory and visual warnings to bring attention to the emergency.

What types of fire alarm are there?

Addressable, Conventional, Wireless and Air Sampling. Many fire protection providers have only one system offering, limiting their technical solution options but FAFS Fire & Security is a true systems house, enabling us to match and offer a system solution from a selection of the leading manufacturers that best meet you own particular needs.

What work does an engineer carry out on their visit?

The Periodic Inspection requires; the system logbook be checked, a visual inspection undertaken to check whether structural or occupancy changes have affected the compliance of the system (re-siting / replacing / adding devices as required), false alarm incident rates are recorded to ensure compliance with 30.2, battery voltage measured to check it is within the manufacturers recommendations, batteries should be load tested to ensure that they are in good serviceable condition and not likely to fail before the next service visit (25.4b recommends use of batteries with a 4 years minimum lifespan), Control Indicating Equipment (CIE) should be checked, operation of fire alarm devices checked, Alarm Signal Transmission should be checked, all ancillary function of the CIE should be tested, all fault indicators should be checked, all printers should be tested and availability of sufficient printer consumables (printer roles) ensured, radio systems must be serviced in accordance with manufacturers recommendations, manufacturer recommended checks and tests should be carried out across the system. Any outstanding defects should be recorded and reported to the customer, the system logbook completed and an inspection and servicing certificate should be issued. In addition to the tasks specified in the Periodic Inspection the following tasks must be completed once during each 12 month period; testing of every manual call point, examination and functional test of all automatic fire detectors and remote detectors, functional test of every heat detector, smoke detector, optical beam smoke detector, aspirating fire detection system, carbon monoxide detector, flame detectors, multi-sensor detectors etc, full testing of all Control Indicating Equipment, testing of the cause and effect programming by testing one Cause and observing the Effect, testing of the standby power supply capacity to establish it remains suitable for continued service, all further annual checks and tests recommended by the equipment manufacturer.

What is the life expectancy of a fire detector?

The standard life span of an optical detector is 10 years though some specific manufacturers suggest an extended life span. However, detectors need calibrating according to their environment and are highly susceptible to degradation based on environmental factors. For example a detector situated within a very dusty environment will require replacement sooner than a detector in a clean environment.

What is a ‘Special Inspection’?

The appointment of a new Service Provider necessitates a special inspection of the fire alarm system during which they must identify all major areas of non compliance including; inadequate detection, sounders, power supplies, inappropriate cabling and the absence of a zone plan or other suitable diagrammatic representation of the premises.
These non compliances must be reported to the Customer who is responsible for arranging the undertaking of the remedial action.
Where available the Service Provider should also obtain and review all existing records (including Design and Installation Certificates, Operation and Maintenance Manual, Testing Records, as fitted drawings, a Log Book and a record of all variations.

Will an engineer’s visit disrupt my business?

This will depend on the nature of your business and the location of your fire detection and alarm system. However, our engineers are conscientious in their work and can adapt their practices to accommodate many issues, including sound issues.

What are the different colour codes on fire extinguishers?

Fire extinguishers have colour codes labelling the type of extinguisher they are. These are represented on a band at the top of the extinguisher. Their purpose is to make identification easier and faster for the user. Each extinguishing medium is assigned its own colour code: Red for water, cream for foam, blue for dry power, and black for carbon dioxide. A fifth colour, yellow, is added for the new Wet Chemical type of fire extinguisher.

How long do the back-up batteries last for the fire alarm panel?

Dependent upon use, testing and environmental factors, the standard life expectancy of a fire alarm panel battery is 4 years – unless specified otherwise by the manufacturer. Life expectancy of fire alarm panel batteries should be checked under (BS 5839 45.4).

Why are there so many types of fire extinguisher?

There are many types of fire extinguisher because there are many different types of fire. Each extinguisher is designed to be used on a specific class of fire. It is important to use the right extinguisher to ensure that your actions are as effective as possible and don’t further ignite the fire.

Are any fire extinguishers all purpose?

There aren’t any all-purpose fire extinguishers yet however, dry chemical extinguishers can be used on the majority of fires with a few exceptions.

What are the classes of fire?
Class A – fires involving solid materials such as wood, paper or textiles
Class B – fires involving flammable liquids such as petrol, diesel or oils
Class C – fires involving gases
Class D – fires involving metals such as potassium or magnesium
Class E – fires involving live electrical apparatus*
Class F – fires involving cooking oils such as in deep-fat fryers

* Technically ‘Class E’ doesn’t exist. Before this classification system, there was a classification of electrical fires, but since electricity itself is a cause of fire, these types of fires have been incorporated into the main classes. Once you have turned off the electricity the fire becomes the same as any other.