Fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, fire alarms and even fire curtains, on the whole, do not have an indefinite lifespan. Instead, they require regular servicing and maintenance to ensure their upkeep and fire safety credentials.
For instance, the insides of extinguishers are prone to rust and corrosion. Welds, seams and seals can be weakened over time and fall prey to prolonged exposure to rust and pressurisation. In addition, it is also important to consider the physical damage that fire safety equipment often endures, for example, vandalism or defacement. In the same way, fire alarms and their batteries are at risk of becoming redundant.
Fire Safety Equipment: What are the Legal Requirements
Following the implementation of the Fire Safety Order 2005, it became the onus of employers to ensure that all employee, when at work, are aware of fire safety measures, including safe evacuation routes, and what to do in the event of a fire.
This Fire Safety order also made it legal that annual inspections, or more frequent inspections depending on the nature of your work, of all fire safety equipment, are to be completed by a competent person whose job it is to identify equipment that requires repressurising, replacing, fixing or have indeed reached the end of their life and need to be removed.
Additionally, monthly visual inspections of any fire fighting, protection or safety appliances and kit should be carried out in-house by employees or the employer. These inspections should ensure that:
● The reading of pressure gauges or indicators that are fitted to fire extinguishers are within safety limits
● Seals and tamper indicators of each extinguisher/equipment are not broken or missing.
● Equipment is in its designated place and all are aware of its whereabouts
● Equipment is unobstructed, visible and easy to reach
● Operating instructions of all equipment are clean and legible
● Equipment has not been operated and is not obviously damaged or has any missing parts
It is also a legal requirement for an employer to ensure that a fire risk assessment is carried out. Undertaking a risk assessment allows key areas to be highlighted when it comes to fire safety and how you can best protect those who may be in danger. This will enable you to recognise what steps need to be taken to rectify certain issues in order to limit the risk to those working in the business. Such risk reductions might include fitting fire curtains or fire-suppression appliances.
Fire curtains are an excellent workplace solution to offer all round fire safety and fire protections: Official fire safety regulations state that all properties must not only provide occupants/employees with a clear and effective escape route but also, where required, provide a way of restricting a fire to a small area in order to contain the spread.
Fire Curtains and Fire Safety Equipment Service and Maintenance
Fire Curtains are the perfect way of complying with these fire safety regulations, whilst also allowing for large open plan office spaces which are popular and key for efficiency. Such spaces exclude separative walls, which act as a barrier restricting a fire’s blaze and often stopping it in its tracks.
Including walls would compromise the daily activity of the company, but to be without can often deem such a structure not fire safe. Fire curtains in these situations provide the all-inclusive solution. They can be installed in the ceiling so that they are not obtrusive in any way, whilst allowing for large open spaces that also comply with fire safety regulations.
However, as per fire extinguishers and fire alarms, BS 8524 requires that fire curtains require servicing, inspecting, testing and maintaining by a ‘competent person who is able to check and confirm that barrier assemblies are operating and performing effectively when required’ and that all such tests are accurately logged. Similarly, it recommends that maintenance, servicing and testing are conducted in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Coopers Fire offer specialist fire curtain servicing in their aftercare packages, tailored to your specific requirements. This is the best way to ensure that fire curtains will operate as expected in the event of a fire.
Whether it is fire curtains that have been tested to UL or BS EN standards, here at Coopers Fire we help designers to replace non-loadbearing fire walls and doors, fire doors, fire rated glazing, and sprinklers to achieve modern, open plan environments in line with stringent fire safety regulations.
Smoke or fire curtains are not only discreet and sleek when stored, to the point they are invisible, but offer very reliable protection between you, your employees and a fire, thus allowing you that all important piece of mind.