False alarms undermine the reliability of your warehouse fire and security system, and can lead to financial losses due to the cost of actioning an appropriate response and potential disruptions to productivity. Therefore, while false alarms will always remain a possibility, it is advisable to minimise instances of this type to the greatest possible extent.
To assist you in implementing an effective false alarm prevention strategy, we have identified the following core concerns for you to consider while designing, updating or reviewing your own warehouse security system.
A proper warehouse fire and security system maintenance regime is essential for a variety of different reasons. However, in terms of preventing false alarms, ensuring that the system is well maintained by conducting annual or bi-annual inspections or technician checks will cut down the need for service calls and reduce false alarms.
Applying good maintenance practice will also help to draw attention to minor issues such as broken components or inadequate lubrication. If left unattended, minor issues such as these can lead to more serious problems, including false alarms caused by malfunctioning equipment or even worse compromise security or fire safety. 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.
2 Trained and Certified Installers
Never be tempted to 'economise' by allowing an uncertified contractor to install your warehouse fire and security system. Properly trained and certified installers will know the best practices, and should be able show you certificates which verify that they have an adequate amount of experience or have undertaken relevant professional training.
The team at Contact Fire & Security have been successful in achieving the high level of excellence within our profession necessary to obtain NSI (National Security Inspectorate) Gold Award status, BAFE and LPS1014 standards. These award apply to the installation of Fire Alarms, CCTV, access control, alarms and more, and means that you can have total peace of mind that all the services we provide are completed in accordance with the British and European Standards.
Additionally, Contact Fire & Security is a member of the FSA (Fire and Security Association), the leading trade association dedicated to companies that design, install, supply, maintain and monitor a range of fire and security systems. Membership of this association assures our clients that we adhere to the high standards and strict code of conduct as outlined by the FSA.
3 User Training
User error is one of the most common causes of false alarms in a warehouse security and fire prevention setting. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that all users have been adequately trained in order to be able to operate all user interfaces correctly.
This applies both to regular system operators and anyone who may be required to operate equipment - even if only on rare occasions. To support training, it is worth considering using detailed signage located near control equipment for staff members to use as a reference.
4 Regular Scheduled Inspections
Annual or bi-annual inspections and regular tests of your security and fire alarm monitoring equipment is an essential component of an effective false alarm avoidance strategy. Regular visits by a technician will also enhance user confidence in the system, and also provide an opportunity for additional user training or 'refreshers'.
BS 5839 recommends weekly fire alarm tests to ensure your system is functioning correctly. These tests should be recorded in your log book. Under the regulatory reform(fire safety) order, it is a legal requirement for managers and building owners to take responsibility for the fire safety within their property, this means that a designated ‘responsible person’ is charged with keeping an accurate record of all details pertaining to fire safety on the premises.
5 Updated Call/Responder Lists
A properly maintained and updated call/responder list facilitates appropriate management of any false alarms as they occur. Ensure that any changes in staffing are reflected in the list immediately, for example if a member of staff leaves or if responsibility for monitoring alarms is transferred between team members.
Also, consider which type of monitoring is most suited to the specific requirements of your premises. At Contact Fire & Security, we offer the following types of intruder alarms; Dual Signalling Paths, Digital Communicators, and BT Redcare.
Depending on which system you choose, it is possible to alert receiving centres and/or emergency services in the event of a break-in or intrusion. 24/7 monitoring is available with all the systems we offer, however in order to connect an alarm system to the police it must have been installed by an NSI or SSAIB approved contractor.
6 System Reviews and Updates
In order to confirm the ongoing validity of any intrusion or fire alarm, it is essential to regularly review and assess your warehouse fire and security system. This will both alert the warehouse owner or manager of any malfunctioning equipment, and identify any opportunities to replace existing equipment with newer technology capable of fulfilling the relevant function more effectively.
At Contact Fire & Security, we monitor all developments in fire and warehouse security technology closely. Alongside our strong links with all major technology developers and producers, this enables us to supply our clients with the very latest equipment as it becomes available.
To enable you to get maximum benefit from this, we offer comprehensive on-site fire and security system assessments. These visits are completely free of charge, and are followed up by a detailed report outlining the most suitable technology currently available for your requirements.
At Contact Fire & Security, we specialise in advising warehouse owners or managers about how to implement all of the strategies mentioned above, and can create bespoke solutions dependent on the requirements of your premises.
In order to take advantage of this service, please don't hesitate to contact us to book an appointment for a member of our team of highly qualified assessors to visit you at your warehouse. They will talk through your options and requirements with you before creating a tailor-made system to meet your needs, however complex they may be.