Fire and security systems are there to protect lives and assets, but all too often, maintenance of these systems is substandard, putting you and your business at risk.
If you are responsible for non-domestic premises, you will have engaged with an alarm maintenance provider. They will inspect your system at regular intervals, you will pay them an annual fee, and the relationship may continue for many years.
But are they telling you everything you need to know?
Here are 5 questions you should ask your alarm maintenance provider to keep yourself well-informed:
- Is the company third party certified?
This means that an independent expert, (the third party), has assessed the business and found that it has met certain standards. The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) is the most widely recognised mark of approval in security and fire safety, and NSI Gold is the highest standard awarded. Alarm maintenance companies should be able to provide you with a copy of their certification. Make sure the certificate is relevant to the type of alarm system being maintained, as there are separate schemes for fire alarms and security systems.
- Can you have a copy of the engineers’ maintenance report?
If the maintenance company is third party certified, they should be providing you with this report as a matter of course. It may be electronic or hard copy, but either way, you need to get it as it will tell you what checks have been carried out on the system, and what the results were. In relation to fire alarms, the maintenance provider should carry out a 100% test of all the devices once per year, with intervening periodic inspections testing a portion of these. This should all be documented on the report. The report should be retained on file by you, as proof of servicing, and you should always satisfy yourself that you understand what has been noted on the report. It may include important recommendations, and highlight anything that needs remedial action.
- Is the system still fit for purpose?
Since the original system was installed, the building usage may have changed; it may have been extended, or repartitioned. All these factors impact on the system’s operability, whether it be a fire alarm, CCTV, or intruder alarm system. You should discuss any changes with the maintenance provider.
- What is the age of the system and what is the manufacturers’ recommended life span?
This is particulalry relevant for fire alarm systems, as typically fire alarms will need upgraded after 10 – 15 years, with detectors changed as a minimum. If you are about to purchase a new alarm system, always check what the manufacturers recommended life span is so you can evaluate the total cost of ownership. It is worth checking that the system still complies with applicable legislation, for example the Equality Act.
- Can you see evidence of the engineers’ competency?
This is very important as it will ensure that the engineers working on your system are trained and are competent – imagine the potential risk of an inexperienced person working on your fire alarm in particular! The Fire Industry Association provides certificated training for engineers and is used extensively by professional maintenance companies.
Diamond Systems has over 30 years’ experience and are NSI Gold accredited for both fire and security alarm systems.
If you would like a quotation for alarm maintenance from Diamond Systems, please get in touch on 02890 207 207 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.