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Responsible Person convictions due to lack of maintenance of fire systems

Tuesday 25th April 2017

928 Fire Safety Order article breaches (from articles 8, 9, 13, 14 and 17) since 2009.

John Briggs, Head of Training and Fire Risk Services for the FPA, discussed the maintenance of fire systems for the responsible person (or facilities manager) earlier today (25/04/17) via webinar*. During this he noted the number of Fire Safety Order article breaches (from articles 8, 9, 13, 14 and 17) that have led to convictions, which was a total of 928 since 2009.

Article 17 is the maintenance of premises, which is the duty of the appointed ‘Responsible Person’ and from the total of 928 convictions 123 were related to breaches of this article.

“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.”


- The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, Part 2 Article 17

Maintenance is critically important for fire protection systems and needs to be performed regularly to ensure they are working at all times in efficient order. Some examples discussed were emergency lighting, fire extinguishers and fire detection and alarm system maintenance.

Emergency Lighting Maintenance

Emergency lighting is required to have daily visual inspections and monthly and yearly simulated power failure tests.

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

Fire extinguishers require monthly user visual inspections, annual servicing and inspection by a competent person and testing performed on certain class types of extinguisher every five and ten years.

Fire Detection and Alarm Maintenance

This is arguably the most labour intensive of all of your main fire safety maintenance requirements, but it must be performed to ensure you are obeying the law. The user, the ‘Responsible Person’, must inspect the panel daily for any faults or errors, test call points weekly/monthly, ensure detectors and call points are not obstructed and record all appropriate tests and information in a log book. There are also more periodic inspections (no less than six months) that must be performed with your fire alarm maintenance provider and then a full annual inspection (which can be spread over the year, normally quarterly) by your fire alarm maintenance provider.

Third Party Certification

John also discussed the advantages of third party approval, from such organisations as BAFE. By using a third party certified provider he highlighted that there would be proof of competence, guaranteed quality and demonstration of due diligence.

For your fire protection requirements, including maintenance of your systems and provisions, use a third party certified, BAFE registered company. You can search free here to find competent companies near you to help meet your fire safety obligations.

*FPA Webinar Maintenance of Fire Systems available to view to all FPA members at www.thefpa.co.uk

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