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Maintenance Schedule

Routine maintenance, testing and inspection is needed so that you know safety equipment will work when it is needed. Some of the checks in the below table can be completed by yourself but you are likely to need to call in a service provider for other, such as for fire extinguishers and alarm systems.

How often?

What needs to be done?

Whenever you use the building

As part of your opening up routine,  look around the building and check that things like fire extinguishers are in the right place.

Check the security fastenings on fire exits have been removed.

Secure doors open where needed for safety (such as inward-opeing entrance doors) or remove curtains or other coverings that are obstructing fire exit routes, if this is necessary.

Equipment such as toys and electrical appliances should be quickly checked over before use.

As you leave the building, make sure that everything has been put away correctly and nothing has been damaged. Extinguish any candles and unplug electrical equipment. You should also check that all lights are off and the building is secured.  All windows and doors should be closed.

Weekly

Test the fire alarm. Choose a different part of the system (for example a smoke alarm or call point as appropriate to the system) each week.

If you use battery powered torches, test that these light up.

Open all fire exit doors and make sure they open easily and are free from obstructions on both sides.

Monthly

Look to see if safety equipment is in the right place, such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits. With fire extinguishers, look to see if the tamper seal has been broken and that the pressure gauge is OK (not all extinguishers have a pressure gauge so this can be skipped but the tamper seal should still be checked).

Test emergency lighting for about ten minutes, checking that it remains lit and shows no sign of failure, such as flickering or dimming.

Check all doors along exit routes open without the use of a key and all fire exits are clear of obstructions.

Walk around the premises - both inside and out - and ensure that there are no new hazards or maintenance issues that need to be corrected.

Six-monthly

Have lifts serviced by a reputable company (or at a different interval if this is suggested by the lift maintenance company).

Check the self-closing mechanisms of self-closing doors and the release mechanism of automatic fire doors. Check the intumescent strips and smoke seals on fire doors.

Have Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm Systems tested by a competent service company.

Annually

Have fire extinguishers tested and inspected by a competent person - you should get a certificate that shows that this equipment has been checked.

It is recommended that portable electrical equipment is 'PAT' tested to check the safety of the equipment.  This often needs to be carried out annually for some equipment, but others might be more, or less, frequent.

Heating systems need to be serviced (for gas systems, this must be done by a gas installer registered on the Gas Safe register (CORGI in Northern Ireland and Channel Isles) and who is competent to work on non domestic systems).

Check that exit signs are in the right place and show the correct arrows and symbols.

Inspect any grounds and memorial stones, checking that trees and fences are in good condition.

Check wooden seating for signs of rotting, woodworm and other problems.

Ensure that your Risk Assessments are reviewed and updated as needed, along with all other paperwork such as the Health and Safety Policy.  While this is not mandatory, it is worthwhile reviewing everything once in a while to ensure that it remains relevant and correct.

5-yearly

Replace battery packs in fire alarm system controllers, emergency lighting equipment and other standby supplies unless the service company suggests a different frequency.

It is suggested that you have a survey of the building covering the fabric of the building, structure and other aspects of the building. This is usually part of the Quinquennial inspection carried out by many denominations. This should include electrical installation checks.

The fixed electrical wiring should be inspected and tested to ensure that it remains safe.  Some installations might need to be tested more frequently, while others less so.

In addition to this, some pieces of equipment might also need to be serviced, for example an organ.  It is commonly recommended that parts of organs, like the blower and humidifying equipment, should be serviced every six months or as recommended by the service company. Although this might not be required for safety, not servicing such equipment has the potential to cause a safety hazard (such as the blower motor overheating, which may lead to a fire).

The advice of a reputable company should be sought for equipment such as sprinkler systems and fire pumps, smoke ventillation systems, air conditioning systems and certain work equipment (including lifting equipment).

Record keeping

You should keep a record of what testing and maintenance you do and when. With fire safety equipment, this is known as the 'fire log' but this can be combined with other items in a general 'safety log' book.  Records are kept to prove that these checks have been made (which is often known as 'Due Diligence').  However, this paperwork need not be onerous, and a simple diary can be used and retained.

You simply need to make a note of who did what and when. You should also make a note of anything that did not work correctly or needs to be repaired or otherwise made serviceable again. This work should be done as soon as possible, such as the next day for a defective fire detector. The person carrying out this work should sign off the log book once the repair has been completed.

Where an external company is called in (such as for the fire extinguishers, a lift or a gas heating system), a certificate or report is usually produced.  This must be checked carefully to make sure that no repair works have been identified.  These documents must be kept in a safe place, with some people preferring to display a copy of certificates in a suitable place.

Spare parts

It is recommended that you keep a stock of spare parts somewhere safe. All these items can be used for simple maintenance tasks by anyone who competent and able to do them safely.  A typical list of parts would include:

  • Fire alarm glasses, which are available from your fire alarm installer
  • Emergency torch bulbs and batteries (where used)
  • Smoke alarm batteries (where required)
  • Fuses, fuse wire and lamps / light bulbs
  • 13A mains plugs and a selection of fuses
  • Gaffer (duct) tape and insulating tape
  • Hazard warning barrier tape (non-adhesive)
  • Some basic tools (screwdriver, pliers and so on) and some screws

This kit would be used firstly to make a temporary repair or perhaps replace a fuse when it is blown.  Sometimes, you might need to make something safe, for example taping over a damaged mains socket or cordoning off a damaged manhole cover. Lamps in emergency torches need replacement from time-to-time and a stock of spares is needed.

Other tools, keys and equipment might be needed, and this depends on your building.  However, the above might not need to be kept in the building if it can be readily accessed by someone who lives nearby.

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