Changes in legislation and best practice
British Standard (BS) 5839 has been revised. On 1st September 2017 BS 5839 was updated and the changes could affect school premises.
The main changes to the Code of Practice that cover the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire alarms and detection systems in non-domestic premises are:
- Fitting protective covers to call points is now recommended. If this is not done the school is required to issue a Variation Notice.
- A means of safe electrical isolation must be incorporated into the system.
- Video fire detection technology has now been recognised as a specialised fire detection technique, especially for more high-risk locations.
- Multi Sensors units now should ‘be physically tested by a method that confirms that products of combustion in the vicinity of the detector can reach the sensors and that the appropriate response is confirmed.’
- Annexe E sets out provisions to further reduce the occurrences of false alarms and the concept of ‘Unwanted Alarms’ has also been introduced.
- ‘Place of Ultimate Safety’ is addressed with the requirement for the provision of manual call points on escape routes, storey changes and those leading to open air and ultimate safety – whether those routes are designated a fire escape route, or not.
Although it is not explicitly clear that these provisions are retrospective it would make sense to incorporate some or all of them when your school’s fire alarm system is upgraded or expanded.
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