The Benefits of Remote Monitoring For Fire Safety Systems
Protecting people and assets is paramount to any business, and consideration of managing the safety aspects of your estate, such as controlling fire detection, suppression, access and the evacuation of occupants, is essential.
The legislation Surrounding the Maintenance of Fire Safety Systems
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that the maintenance of smoke control systems is essential;
“where necessary in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons the responsible person must ensure that the premises and any facilities, equipment and devices provided in respect of the premises under this order are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”
This is further supported by British Standard BS 9999 for fire safety in buildings, specifically BS7346-8 for smoke control systems, and BS 5839-1 for fire detection and alarm systems. BS 9999 and BS 7346-8 go as far as to specify the service periods for smoke control systems, which include weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual testing.
Maintaining Fire Safety Systems
|Fire Detection & Alarm
|Daily||✔ User||✔ User|
|Weekly||✔ User||✔ User|
|Monthly||✔ User||✔ User|
|3 Monthly||✔ User||–|
|6 Monthly||–||✔ Maintainer|
|12 Monthly||✔ Maintainer||✔ Maintainer|
|5 Yearly||✔ Electrical||✔ Electrical|
So, why is it important to maintain fire safety systems, including smoke control, fire detection and alarm systems?
Firstly, by maintaining fire safety systems there is a reduced risk of faults and serious errors occurring. Regularly scheduled maintenance ensures the system remains compliant and works as intended and when required. This is critical as in the event of a fire, stay put policies rely on the smoke control system to work effectively to provide safe access for firefighters. If the system is not properly maintained, it is no longer compliant. Many insurers also stipulate that as part of your policy and for it to remain valid, you must maintain your fire safety system at the recommended intervals.
Errors and faults within the fire safety system can of course occur between these recommended intervals. This is why the use of remote monitoring systems is becoming ever more popular amongst facilities and building managers.
What is remote monitoring and why utilise it?
Remote monitoring provides the functionality to notify facilities and building managers of any faults or incidents within the fire safety system. Event notifications are triggered and processed immediately and, for email or SMS, can be routed to any number of recipients based on the event types including fire, pre-alarm, fault, disable, in test, technical alarm and security. Having the ability to quickly notify on-site teams is essential for keeping occupants safe and the vital fire safety systems in working order.
The Benefits of Remote Monitoring
24/7 Fire Safety System Monitoring
Despite the recommendation for weekly and monthly testing, faults and failures within a fire safety system can occur between these timescales and often go unnoticed. This is particularly problematic as if a fire were to occur during this period the system would not be in working order. Remote monitoring is active 24/7, granting immediate notification and diagnostics of any issues or failures within the system. These issues can then be fixed within suitable timescales so that the system is working as intended, remains compliant and most importantly, provides the protection as intended.
Reduction in False Alarms
Since all events are sent immediately, users can reduce the number of false alarms by investigating the cause of the alarm before it is escalated, preventing any unnecessary (and potentially disruptive) evacuation or engineer call-outs.
Visibility of Multiple Sites
Remote monitoring is particularly beneficial to managers of multiple sites and within hotels, education, healthcare and commercial sectors; making their portfolio of properties easier and less time consuming to manage by delivering any fire alarm and smoke ventilation activity through a single platform.
Improved Testing Efficiency and Diagnostics
In many cases, budget pressures and lack of personnel can lead to testing being overlooked or avoided. Remote Monitoring provides facilities and building managers with the ability to remotely test components to quickly diagnose any potential issues. This can also save the engineers time as they do not have to manually check the component on each floor of the building.
By having the ability to access the health status of the fire safety system around the clock, building managers can be assured that everything is in working order. Furthermore, the visibility of the system on a single platform can make it easy for the responsible person to fix an issue in an efficient and stress-free manner.
Regular maintenance and health checks of a fire safety system will ensure that it remains compliant with the Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety 2005). This also helps uphold the validity of the insurance, ensuring that, not is the building physically protected, but financially protected from potential losses.