As specialists of Fire Alarm Systems in London with over three decades of experience, it's fair to say we know a thing or two about the advantages and benefits of installing a fire alarm. However, it's not simply sufficient to just install a fire alarm; you also need totest it; so how often should you test your school fire alarm?

Don't Be Caught Off Guard, Check Your Fire Alarm Regularly

Everyone knows a fire alarm needs to be regularly tested, but it's important not to run fire drills so often that people stop taking the alerts seriously, but on the other hand you need to make sure that the fire drills are frequent enough that everyone maintains proper readiness and knows what to do in the event of a fire. So what's the ideal sweet spot, how often should you test you fire alarm?

Fire Alarm Test Or A Fire Drill?

First things first, it's important to recognise the difference between testing your fire alarm and having a fire drill.

How Often Should A Fire Alarm Test Occur?

Testing the alarm is exactly what the name suggests, it's checking that the alarm system is still working, as such there's no need to rehearse an evacuation. This means that the test can be scheduled in advance and the alarm itself only needs to be activated for long enough for the system to be verified to be working correctly.

According to the British Standard regulations, fire alarms should be tested once a week by the responsible person(s). This requirement is found under Article 17 of the 2005 Fire Order Safety Act. However, it's not sufficient to simply test the alarm; the responsible person conducting the test is also obliged to ensure that the fire alarm test log books are kept up to date. This includes information such as how often the alarms are tested, if and when they have been disconnected, whenever any maintenance has taken place, any occasions when the alarms have been triggered, and any faults that have occurred with the alarm and what was done to rectify or repair these faults.

Fire Exit

What About A Fire Drill? How Often Should You Rehearse Evacuation?

On the other hand, a fire drill is a rehearsal evacuation. As such, in order to gain the maximum value out of the exercise, the element of surprise is essential. In a school environment this means that studentsshould be unaware of when a fire drill is going to take place. Ideally fire drills should be carried out at least once a term and during different times of the day.

It's also a good idea to restrict travel to certain areas during fire drills. This helps to keep staff and students vigilant for dangers and mindful about their choice of exit. After all, if your students practice evacuated through one specific exit every time there is a drill, what happens if the fire causes that specific exit to be blocked? As such, it's very advantageous to practice evacuating through all available exits.

Remember Your Legal Responsibilities

In the event of a fire, it is essential that all personnel present understand their responsibilities during the evacuation. The individual designated as a 'responsible person' has a legal responsibility which is of upmost importance. If this responsibility is not correctly followed, there are serious consequences, this can include but is not limited to prison sentences.

What To Do If The Worst Happens?

To say fire can cause significant damage is an understatement. The devastation that fire can cause is often too great for words. After all, it's not just the physical damage you have to be concerned about; a school fire could have a serious impact on the mental health and wellbeing of your students, staff, and those in the wider community. As such, it's essential that you are prepared with a fire plan so that should the worst happen, you can respond in an appropriate manner. However, can you truly prepare for the worst, what should you do in the event of a fire?

If you discover the fire, it's important to raise the alarm. In a school environment, this would be done by activating the fire alarm. After which, it's important to follow the fire plan and escape the building in a swift yet orderly manner using a pre-planned escape route.

On the other hand, if you hear the fire alarm and don't know where the fire is, it is very important to remain calm and try your best not to panic. Follow the fire plan and swiftly exit the building, taking care to remain vigilant of potential dangers. Be aware that the fire could have compromised exists, for example debris could fall and block a path, or the fire could be directly blocking your primary escape exit. In this situation it is very important that you quickly change route to the next closest manner of escape.

Also, remember if you need to open a door whilst evacuating during a firealert, first touch the door with the back of your hand. If it feels warm; do not open the door. A warm door means that the fire is on the other side; in this situation you should seek an alternative method of escape.

Fire Alarm Systems London From Diamond Fire And Security (UK) Ltd.

With over 30 years of experience providing installations for localauthorities, educational properties, and housing associations Diamond Fire And Security (UK) Ltd. is the ideal choice for schools located in London, Bedford, Bedfordshire, or Milton Keynes. We can provide a range of systems including both conventional andsophisticated fire alarms and all of our installations are guaranteed parts and labour for Two Years.

If you would like to make an enquiry or if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch and speak to a member of staff. You can contact us by calling 01234 825018, or you can contact us by email by sending any questions you have to us at


Company Info

Head Office

Diamond Fire & Security (UK) Ltd.

29 Lincroft Oakley Bedford MK43 7SS

Tel:+01234 825018