Does Your Fire Alarm Need A Service?

UK fire alarm regulations only state that your fire alarm system must be ‘adequately maintained’, however BS 5839 recommends that a fire alarm system should be inspected by a competent person at least every 6 months and the government recommends following this standard.  In fact, if you work out of large premises, a quarterly service is recommended, as there are many more components to your fire alarm system, and therefore more opportunities for something to go wrong.

Veriserv offer a full fire alarm service programme which complies with British Standard 5839. You can be confident that we will keep your fire alarm in good working order and compliant to current legislation.

Single systems or multi-site, we can service any make or type of fire alarm system, providing you with certification for your records.

Why is fire alarm servicing important?

There are two main reasons to keep your fire alarm in working order:

  1. To alert occupants in the event of fire and so prevent loss of life
  2. To prevent false alarms

Whilst the first reason may seem obvious, the second reason is less well known.  The fact is that false alarms account for a huge number of fire brigade call-outs.  This incurs a lot of expense and, more importantly, could mean that the fire brigade is otherwise occupied when a real emergency arises.  The fire brigade has now imposed charges for call-outs at premises which have a high number of false alarms, as an incentive for businesses to keep their fire alarms better maintained.

Fire Alarm Testing

When our technician has completed the service of your fire alarm system, he will test it to check that it is working correctly and ensure that the bells/sounders reach the required decibel sound levels.

Have you already got a maintenance regime in place?

Are you not happy with this service?

Veriserv can test your systems and provide you with a report to detail any deficiencies. We are happy to take over existing systems after agreeing any system improvements that may be required to bring these systems up the required standards.

If you have any concerns about your fire alarm system, please call 01543 225306, or fill out one of our contact forms to arrange a free assessment of your premises, with one of our fully trained engineers.

The types of fire extinguishers and the importance of them to reduce the risk of fire

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO), business principles and responsible people have a duty to protect people in the event of a fire.

The responsible person would generally be the owner, landlord or business director or even a member of staff who is delegated with responsibility for fire safety.

Fire extinguishers are essential equipment to help fight a fire should one breakout. A visual inspection should be carried out together with a periodic maintenance programme. A competent person who is qualified by training and has the experience to undertake the inspections and maintenance should carry out regular visual inspections of all the fire extinguishers within a property.

BS5306:3 Code of Practice for Fire Extinguisher Service and Maintenance provides recommendations on how to conduct a visual inspection. The points are as follows:

  • Each extinguisher is correctly located in the designated place;
  • Each extinguisher is unobstructed and visible;
  • The operating instructions of each extinguisher are clean and
    legible and face outwards.
  • Each extinguisher has not been operated and is not obviously
    damaged or has any missing parts.
  • The reading of any pressure gauge or indicator fitted to an
    extinguisher is within operational and safety limits.
  • The seals and tamper indicators of each extinguisher are not
    broken or missing.

There are four classes of fire extinguishers – A, B, C and D – and each class can put out a different type of fire.

  • Class A extinguishers will put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as wood and paper.
  • Class B extinguishers are for use on flammable liquids like grease, gasoline and oil.
  • Class C extinguishers are suitable for use only on electrically energised fires.
  • Class D extinguishers are designed for use on flammable metals.

If you employ 5 or more people records should be kept and it is a legal requirement to maintain a permanent record of all servicing, maintenance and inspections which could be audited by the Fire Services Inspectorate.

We can review your existing provision for extinguishers and provide you with a suitable service and maintenance programme to ensure you comply with current fire regulations. We can also carry out a full fire risk assessment of your business premises if required. This would, for example, include Fire Alarm Systems, Escape routes, Extinguishers and signage.

Please call 01543 225306 or fill out one of our contact forms to arrange a free fire risk assessment of your premises, to discuss your fire prevention needs, or to arrange a maintenance programme. Speak to one of our fully trained engineers today.

How frequently should I PAT test my appliances?

Employers, landlords and people that are self-employed are required to run PAT testing on portable appliances. There isn’t a rule on the frequency of PAT testing which the Health & Safety Executive has set out, the main reason for this is that different situations require different measures.

It is up to each individual to determine and asses when the testing should be carried out to keep their workforce, tenants and themselves safe.

You should bear in mind a few different factors when determining how often you should have your appliances tested:

  • Stationary equipment is less likely to get damaged than hand help types of appliances therefore the type is a factor to consider to determine the frequency. Class I appliances have a greater risk over Class II.
  • How often the appliances are used. This may be common sense but appliances that are used more should be test more often. Appliances that aren’t used so often will obviously incur less damage and have a lower risk.
  • If appliances aren’t properly maintained / serviced, then PAT testing should be more frequent. Problems could go unnoticed which could cause a potential risk to somebody.
  • The location of the equipment is also an important factor to consider. Is it outdoors, construction sites, hazardous atmospheres etc.)
  • If the equipment is on hire, then PAT testing frequency should be increased to make sure it is safe to run.
  • Manufacturers guidelines & recommendations.
  • If there have been any equipment modification or repairs since the last PAT test.

 

 

The Health and Safety Executive suggest the following intervals for checking portable electrical equipment:

  • Desktop computers, VDU screen every 2-4 years.
  • Photocopiers and fax machines, not hand held and rarely moved 2-4 years.
  • Double insulated Class II equipment, not hand-held and moved occasionally like fans table lamps 2-4 years.
  • Double insulated Class II equipment, hand-held like floor cleaners, kitchen equipment 6 months – 1 year.
  • Earthed equipment Class I like electric kettles, irons 6 months – 1 year.
  • Cables (leads and plugs connected to the above) and mains voltage extension leads and battery charging equipment. 6 months – 4 years depending on the equipment being used.

If you have a question or a concern about a PAT for your appliances, please call 01543 225306, or fill out one of our contact forms to arrange a free assessment of your premises, with one of our fully trained electrical engineers.

Useful references:

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) publish guidance for the maintenance of portable appliances

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) provide useful guidance on Portable Appliance Testing

IET Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment Chapter 15.8

Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 Regulation 5
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, Regulation 4(2)

When should you call an electrical engineer?

It is absolutely critical that your business stays up-to-date with electrical testing. Whether that is fixed wire or portable appliance testing (PAT testing) it is important to make sure you are compliant to protect your employees from electrical fires and to eliminate any opportunity of criminal negligence should the worst happen.

A periodic inspection of the wiring for your business premises reduces the risk of electrical fires and makes sure everything is running as it should be. You should arrange periodic inspections by calling us at Veriserv as we have electrical engineers available every day to assist with this matter. But when else should you call?

  • If there is anything unusual with the electricity

Electricity is of course dangerous and invisible and as a result it is easy for wiring flaws to be missed until a safety hazard occurs such as an electrical fire, sparks from a unit, or a power cut. If you can see lights flickering or dim and brighten or if you have breakers that trip regularly or if you see sparks from a unit you should immediately call an electrical engineer to inspect the issue.

If you see an electrical item has discoloured or is hot to the touch this should also raise suspicion.

  • A burning smell

Whenever you smell burning you should immediately unplug any appliance in the vicinity and call an electrical engineer immediately. Burning smells don’t just have to come from portable appliances but can be an indicator that your building wiring is faulty too.

  • Electricity outlets

We are constantly seeing issues arising with extension leads in businesses. When businesses employee more people, inevitably the power that is required increases and as a result the reliance on extension cables goes up if there aren’t enough wall sockets. Extension leads can put a lot of load on a building’s wiring if they are overused and they can even catch on fire. Call us at Veriserv so we can avoid such incidences from happening and to protect your workforce.

You should call an electrical engineer whenever you feel there is an issue no matter how small you think it is. There can often be many underlying issues when not running suitable diagnostic checks by an engineer and they can quickly turn dangerous.

If you have some concerns about your premises, please call 01543 225306, or fill out one of our contact forms to arrange a free assessment of your premises, with one of our fully trained electrical engineers.

Does your CCTV need a service?

It is crucial that CCTV systems are well maintained to protect employees, customers and anyone else entering a building or premises. CCTV acts as a safeguarding from factors such as break-ins, robbery and to help identify a fire before it is too late. The fact that they are such a worthy component for security and health and safety must showcase the importance of regular maintenance and servicing.

Both external and internal CCTV cameras should be serviced regularly, at least once a year to perform to their full potential and to make sure there aren’t any issues that have been undetected by the operator.

The Ingress Protection (IP) rating of a CCTV camera is designed by the manufacturer to keep water out and to keep it functioning through harsh weather. If a camera is not appropriately serviced and maintained the rubber seals and glands can disintegrate. As a result, water can enter the camera housing and potentially take out the power supply unit (PSU) which supplies all of the other cameras on a site. This in turn would lead to a complete CCTV failure for that premises.

To have a complete CCTV failure opens the doors to huge threat in terms of security and safety. Maintaining and servicing your CCTV system should be a top priority just like your fire alarm system is for fire safety. No business should have to experience a full CCTV failure and with a simple periodic service you can be rest assured that your system will perform to its full potential.

Our Veriserv engineers are very experienced in all aspects of CCTV, whether you have an office complex, or an industrial factory we can advise and help maintain your system.

During a periodic service, we shall advise you where any possible future failure may occur, and recommend any remedial works to ensure that your CCTV meets your needs.

Our mission is to provide every single customer with an outstanding service that is fit for purpose and delivered by experts to reduce risk

If you know you are due a service, or have some concerns about your premises, please call 01543 225306, or fill out one of our contact forms to arrange a free assessment of your premises, with one of our fully trained engineers.

How often should fixed wire testing be conducted?

The vast majority of workplaces require an Electrical Installation Condition Report at the very least every 5 years for commercial properties and 3 years for industrial.

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) produced guidance note 3 which incorporates the 18th edition IET wiring regulations to BS 7671. It is section 3 of this guidance which covers Electrical Periodic Inspection and Testing.

Veriserv are the experts in fixed wire inspection and testing and we can survey your premises, examine previous reports, look at your maintenance regime and recommend the correct frequency of tests to make sure your business is safe and compliant. Business electrical units should be correctly maintained to stay compliant.

As an example the following places of work require a full 5-year Electrical Installation Condition Report.

  • Hotels / restaurants
  • Education sector – Schools, Colleges, Universities / Hall of Residence
  • Care homes
  • Hospitals
  • Commercial buildings such as offices / retail
  • Science laboratories

There are places of work however which require an Electrical Installation Condition Report every 1 to 3 years with more frequent inspections being carried out.  This is the cases where areas are exposed to high temperatures, moisture and dust.

As an example the following places of work all require fixed wire testing every 1 to 3 years:

  • Swimming pools / sauna / leisure centres
  • Theatres and places of entertainment.
  • Medical locations in hospitals
  • Caravan parks
  • Fish farms
  • Laundrettes
  • Petrol stations
  • Caravans
  • Spa Hotels

If you are unsure about your fixed wire inspection and testing and when it should next be carried out within your business, simply fill out our contact form to book your free assessment, or call 01543 225306 to speak to a member of our team.

How can I reduce the risk of theft and protect my staff from intruders?

The risk of a break in is always a concern for any business owner and how to reduce the risk of theft should be question that is always being asked. It isn’t until it’s too late when a lot of businesses realise the real costs associated with a break-in from assets stolen to physical property damage.

Most people automatically think of intruder security alarms when they think of ways to reduce the risk. Veriserv provide high-quality monitored security alarms to any business in any sector/industry. They are one of the most successful visual deterrents for burglars helping you to reduce the risk of theft.

Our alarms are connected to a 24/7 NSI approved monitoring centre. This means that you can enjoy the peace of mind that your business is always protected no matter what time of day it is 365 days a year.

All of the security systems that we fit come with a back-up battery which will automatically power the unit should the event of a power failure occur. It is important to periodically check the batteries are operating and change them regularly to maintain full operation.

We offer state of the art key holder response and Police response monitoring packages which means the emergency services can be immediately notified in the event of an alarm activation be it from an intruder or fire.

We offer maintenance for your security installation and a 24/7 callout for all of our contract customers.

Contact to us today for a free no obligation security assessment to protect your business and staff. Stay safe, compliant and risk free. Simply fill out our contact form to book your free assessment, or call 01543 225306 to speak to a member of our team.

Are you prepared should a fire break out?

Keeping your staff and customers safe will always be of paramount importance for any business and the risk of fire is one of real concern.

Our fire safety products and services offer the very best fire prevention and protection, giving you the peace of mind should there ever be a need for them.

We understand that protecting your business from the threat of fire is a huge concern and this can be achieved with 24/7 monitoring of single or multi-site locations through an NSI Fire Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). We can protect your assets as well as your staff and customers to the highest degree.

Veriserv are an NSI certificated company which signifies that we are compliant with BAFE (British Approvals for Fire Equipment). We have an exceptional standard of workmanship and are a one-stop shop for all fire & security needs.

We will provide you with a ‘value for money’ fire alarm solution which is installed to the highest of standards.

Whether you are a small, large, a single or multiple site business we have the fire detection systems for your needs.

We:

  • Design to BAFE Standards
  • Carry out a technical survey and install your fire detection system
  • Commission and handover the system to you in a professional manner
  • Maintain all fire detection systems – not just those that we have installed

Not maintaining fire systems correctly could put yourself at risk as well as your employees and customers. Once we have handed over a fire system to you we will always offer a fire system maintenance agreement. This will provide you with total peace of mind by ensuring full compliance to current regulations.

We understand that both end users and building contractors want to work with businesses that they can fully trust. Veriserv always complete projects on time and within the agreed budgets set out by our clients.

Whether you require a new fire detection system installation or just need a product to be maintained correctly to stay compliant simply fill out our contact form to book your free assessment, or call 01543 225306 to speak to a member of our team.

Is Fixed Wire Inspection & Testing in the UK a Legal Requirement?

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 is an act of statutory legislation which places responsibility on employers in the UK to ensure, so far as is practicable, the health and welfare for everyone at the workplace which includes employees, members of the public, visitors and contractors.

Within the Health & Safety at Work Act there are areas which cover legal requirements for specific areas and this is where Fixed Wire Inspection & Testing comes in. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 cover all electrical systems within all occupied spaces.

Best practice guidance for complying with the regulations have been published by bodies other than the Health & Safety Executive. For this case Fixed Wiring Inspection & Testing includes:

  • British Standard BS7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations, IET Wiring Regulations
  • IET Inspection & Testing Guidance Note 3
  • HSE Electricity at Work – Safe working Practices
  • HSE memorandum of guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

The latest version of the regulations, which were first published in 2018, are known in the industry as the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations, which came into effect on 1st January 2019. All electrical installations following this regulation must be installed / maintained following BS 7671:2018. The purpose of the regulation is to prevent death or personal injury to any person from electrical causes in connection with work activities. Failure to comply to BS 7671:2018 obviously means an employer could be potentially exposed to legal action should an incident occur.

 

 

An employer or duty holder can demonstrate compliance with the regulations in respect to their electrical installation in the form of an up to date Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) which has been checked and completed by a qualified electrical engineer. Today, many insurers wish to see evidence of a company being compliant and this can be easily carried out by reading the EICR report.

Make sure you are compliant with your electrical installations and employ Veriserv as your contractor for all your electrical fixed wire inspection and testing.

If you require fixed wire testing, or any electrical testing within your business, simply fill out our contact form to book your free assessment, or call 01543 225306 to speak to a member of our team.

Protect your Staff and Property from Electrical Fires

Protect your Staff and Property from Electrical Fires. As an owner of property used for business it’s likely you have thought about the risks of fire and what preventative measures should be employed, but have you thought about how to protect your staff and property from electrical fires ?

The risk of fire caused by an electrical fault can be hidden from normal view and less obvious to detect for someone who has responsibility for the safety of persons  in a non domestic situation. This is one reason why it is important to have your electrical systems inspected and tested by a competent person and in accordance with BS 7671. Below are three examples of where overheating, with the potential to cause fire, have occurred. All three examples were found by a Veriserv engineer whilst carrying out inspection and testing prior to delivering an Electrical Installation Condition Report to our customer.

This first example is an electrical wall socket that had been overheating. It did become obvious as a fire actually started and was thankfully spotted and extinguished before it spread. It was then left in a live condition before being picked up during the electrical inspection and testing by Veriserv.

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) produce Electrical Inspection & Testing Guidance Note 3 to BS7671. Section 2.5.2g states that fire barriers, suitable seals and/or protection against thermal effects should be provided if necessary to meet the requirements of BS 7671 to minimise the spread of fire.

In this example a live electrical cable has been touching the moving mechanical parts of an isolator switch and has rubbed through the insulation causing overheating and the risk of electric shock. This was found by Veriserv during a visual inspection of the isolator.  IET Guidance note 3 2.5.1c states that cables and cable management systems should be designed and installed taking into account the mechanical stresses that users of the installation will make upon the installation.

In this example a cable connection within the electrical distribution board had become loose and overheated. As this is a relatively modern board manufactured using fire resistant material, and the overheated parts are contained within a closed compartment, this fault it is unlikely to cause fire to spread.  Older equipment however may be higher risk as more susceptible to combustion or the spread of electrical fires.

Make sure you employ a qualified electrical engineer to periodically inspect your electrical installation. For more information or to make an enquiry please contact Veriserv Limited.