FAQs

Click on your question to be taken to the answer:

1. How many fire extinguishers should I have? 
2. What type of fire extinguisher do I need?
3. How do I use a fire extinguisher?
4. How do I test my fire alarm system?
5. What test key do I need for my fire alarm system?
6. What do I do if my fire alarm goes off?
7. How do I silence my fire alarm if it goes off?
8. How many fire detectors do I need in my building?
9. How do I test the emergency lights?
10. How do I know if an emergency light is working?
11. Where can I get a test key for my emergency light?
12. How do I know if I have the correct fire safety signs?
13. Do I need a sprinkler system?
14. What happens if a sprinkler system goes off?
15. Do all sprinkler heads go off in a fire?
16. Will we get flooded if sprinklers go off?
17. Do I need to carry out checks on fire doors?
18. How can I make sure escape routes are kept clear?
19. Do I need a fire risk assessment?
20. How often do I need to do a fire risk assessment?
21. Do I need fire safety training?
22. Do I need to train my employees to use fire extinguishers?
23. How often should I conduct fire evacuation drills? 
24. What services do Churchesfire provide?
25. Who do I contact if I have technical issues with the online training?
26. What do I do if I notice that my fire safety equipment is faulty?
27. Who do I contact if I discover a fire?

1. How many fire extinguishers should I have?

The British Standard BS5306-8:2012: Selection and Positioning of Fire Extinguishers will tell you how many fire extinguishers are required to protect your premises. You should also refer to your fire risk assessment to ensure that all the risks are covered.

2. What type of fire extinguisher do I need?

The British Standard BS5306-8:2012: Selection and Positioning of Fire Extinguishers will tell you the different types of fire extinguishers that you will need to protect your premises. You should also refer to your fire risk assessment to ensure that all the risks are covered.

3. How do I use a fire extinguisher?

Fire extinguishers manufactured to modern standards require operating instructions to be displayed on the extinguisher body, in both text and pictograms so this will help you to operate it. However, there is a legal requirement that an adequate number of staff should be trained in how to use fire extinguishers and it is important for some of this training to be practical.

4. How do I test my fire alarm system?

Your fire alarm system must be tested at least once a week to ensure it operates correctly. This is done by operating a manual fire alarm call point with a test key and checking that the alarm sounds in all parts of the premises. The fire alarm system should be serviced by a competent fire alarm technician once every six months. If your alarm is monitored or linked to an Alarm Receiving Company (ARC), always ensure that you contact that company in advance. You need to make them aware when the testing will be taking place, otherwise the fire brigade could end up attending your site unnecessarily.

5. What test key do I need for my fire alarm system?

Fire alarm test keys are usually made from black plastic, but the actual type of key you require will depend on the design of the manual call points that have been installed. Your service provider will supply you with the relevant key to carry out these tests.

6. What do I do if my fire alarm goes off?

React as if there is a real fire – never assume it is a false alarm. Go to the fire alarm panel and check to see where the fire is. Call the Fire and Rescue Service if required. The law requires you to have an Emergency Plan which specifies the actions to be taken if an alarm is raised. Always record the reason for the activation of the alarm in the fire safety log book.

7. How do I silence my fire alarm if it goes off?

Do not silence the fire alarm unless you are absolutely certain it is a false alarm. There are many different types of fire alarm panels in use and the method of resetting them varies. On some panels it is simply a case of pressing a RESET button while others may require you to type in a code number on a digital keyboard. Your service provider must provide instructions on how to use the fire alarm panel.

8. How many fire detectors do I need in my building?

The law requires there to be adequate means for detecting a fire which will usually involve installing a number of automatic detectors linked to the fire alarm system. The number of detectors required and the type of detector for different areas of the premises will be determined by your fire risk assessment. Your fire alarm service provider should also be competent in informing you of your requirements.

9. How do I test the emergency lights?

Emergency lights will provide a low level of lighting on escape routes if the main lighting fails. Every emergency light must be tested once a month to make sure it works. If the lights have been installed correctly they will have a test switch to enable tests to be carried out easily by using a test key. Emergency lighting should be serviced every six months by a competent technician.

10. How do I know if an emergency light is working?

If an emergency lighting unit fails to illuminate on the monthly test then a fault may have developed and you should call a competent technician to investigate.

Emergency lighting units usually have either a red or a green LED visible to indicate that the power supply is on. If the LED is not glowing a fault with the electricity supply or the unit may have developed. A competent technician should be summoned to investigate.

11. Where can I get a test key for my emergency light?

There are a number of different types of test keys available. The type you require depends on the type of test switch that has been installed. Test keys are usually made of metal with prongs at the end. Your service provider will supply you with the correct key for your emergency lighting.

12. How do I know if I have the correct fire safety signs?

Each premises will require fire safety signs in order to comply with fire safety legislation (Fire Safety Order 2005, British Standards BS 5499 and BS EN ISO 7010). Signs may be required to tell employees what to do if a fire breaks out, where emergency exits are located and to remind people not to wedge fire doors open. Other signs may be needed to assist in ensuring that all occupants are aware of specific hazards and risk control measures. Fire safety signs must continue to be effective if lighting fails or during the hours of darkness so they may need to be of the photo-luminescent type or used in conjunction with emergency lighting. The type and number of safety signs required will be determined by your fire risk assessment.

13. Do I need a sprinkler system?

Fire sprinkler systems are usually installed as a requirement of Building Regulations, insurance companies or following a fire risk assessment. More and more new buildings are installing sprinklers – including domestic properties. Installation of sprinklers can reduce insurance premiums.

14. What happens if a sprinkler system goes off?

The only time a sprinkler head will go off is if there is a fire – there have been very few occasions where sprinklers have activated without a fire. Upon activation the reduction in pressure will set off an alarm (if linked to the alarm system) or the alarm gong situated on the outside of the premises.

15. Do all sprinkler heads go off in a fire?

No, this is a myth! Unlike the Die Hard Movies, only the sprinkler head affected by the temperature will operate. Fire Sprinkler heads have different colours – Red, Yellow, Green or Blue, dependent on the heat rating.

16. Will we get flooded if sprinklers go off?

Fire Sprinklers will continue to activate until the system is turned off. Only the sprinkler head activated due to the heat will release water so the likelihood of flooding is minimal.

17. Do I need to carry out checks on fire doors?

Fire doors should be checked regularly to make sure they are in good condition and the self-closers completely close the doors. You should also check the door is a good fit in the frame, all hinge screws are tight and fire seals are in good condition. Most fire doors require a notice to remind people to keep them shut.

18. How can I make sure escape routes are kept clear?

All escape routes, including staircases and corridors, should be checked weekly to make sure they are unobstructed. Doors on exit routes, especially doors leading to the outside, should also be checked to make sure they are not obstructed and can be opened easily. They should never be locked with a key while people are in the building.

19. Do I need a fire risk assessment?

With very few exceptions, since the introduction of the Fire Safety Order in 2005 the law requires all commercial premises to have a fire risk assessment. Where five or more people are at work the fire risk assessment must be in writing. Even if there are fewer than five people at work it is advisable to put the assessment in writing to prove it has been carried out.

20. How often do I need to do a fire risk assessment?

The law requires fire risk assessments to be reviewed regularly. There is no set frequency for this but if your fire risk assessor has suggested a review period then you should take this into account. The review frequency is based on the nature of the premises and what it is used for. The Fire and Rescue Service usually expects most assessments to be reviewed annually.

21. Do I need fire safety training?

The law requires that all employees need fire training in what to do if a fire breaks out. New employees, including part-time workers and agency staff, should receive basic induction training on their first day.

22. Do I need to train my employees to use fire extinguishers?

A very large number of fires that break out in commercial and industrial premises are quickly extinguished by employees using fire extinguishers before they develop into serious incidents which can result in loss of the building and its contents and threaten the livelihood of the business. The law requires you to have a sufficient number of employees trained to use fire extinguishers and you must give them refresher training at intervals.

23. How often should I conduct fire evacuation drills?

All employees should take part in an evacuation drill once a year which means you might need to carry out two or more drills per year. Some premises, e.g. residential care homes, may require more frequent evacuation drills but this will be determined by the fire risk assessment

24. What services do Churchesfire provide?


We provide for the provision of fire protection equipment including the maintenance of fire extinguishers, fire risk assessments, staff fire training together with the design, installation and maintenance of, fire alarms, emergency lighting, fire mains and fire sprinkler systems.

25. Who do I contact if I have technical issues with the online training?
 
 
Our customer service teams will be able to assist you – they are available Monday – Friday 0830-1700. Please ensure that you read the instructions carefully prior to completing the course.
 
26. What do I do if I notice that my fire safety equipment is faulty?
 
 
Call Churchesfire – it’s not worth the risk. Our customer service team will be able to advise you of the next steps and send a technician out to site to assist if required.
 
27. Who do I contact if I discover a fire?
 
 
Call 999 and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service.