Radio Recommendations… find out more

Fire Safety Legislation. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order… find out more

Radio recommendations

The following recommendations are applicable.

a) In the absence of any relevant British, European or International Standard, components of a radio-linked system should comply with the Loss Prevention Certificate Board test standard, LPS 1257.
b) Radio-linked systems should comply with all recommendations of this standard except that:
1) all radio-linked components should be supplied from at least two independent power supplies. These can be either:
i) the normal mains supply plus a reserve battery (primary or continuously charged secondary); or
ii) a primary battery plus a second primary battery; or
iii) a primary battery plus a secondary battery.
NOTE Where primary batteries are specified, capacitors with an appropriate specification may be used as an alternative.

2) components, other than control and indicating equipment, may utilise batteries to provide the normal power supply;
3) Power supplies incorporating one or more primary batteries should give at least 30 days warning of impending failure of each battery. This should be indicated as a low battery warning condition at the control and indicating equipment;
4) At the point at which the power supply(ies) to any radio-linked component can maintain the component in normal operation for no more than 7 days, and, in addition, in the case of the fire alarm devices, 30 min in the alarm condition, a fault warning should be given at the control and indicating equipment;
5) Power supplies should have a minimum, normal operational life of three years over the temperature range of +15ºC to + 35ºC before the low power condition is signalled;
6) Any fault giving rise to loss of communication with a radio-linked component should be indicated at the control and indicating equipment within two hours of occurrence of the fault.
c) Cable of antennae that are external to components of a radio-linked system should be monitored for open and short circuits. A fault condition should be given at the control and indicating equipment within 100s of the occurrence of such a condition.
d) Cables of antennae that are external to components that form part of the critical signal path should satisfy the recommendations of 26.2. However, cables that do not comply with 26.2b) may be used provided they are routed through areas of low fire risk, or are protected against exposure to fire by burial in at least 12mm of plaster or by separation from any fire risk by materials that would afford a fire resistance of at least 30 in if tested in accordance with the relevant part of BS 476.
e) Antennae should be so arranged that special tools are required for disconnection or removal of the outer housing.
f) Facilities for automatic silencing of radio-linked fire alarm sounders should comply with the recommendations of 16.2.1h).
g) Unless the visual indication at the detector of initiation of a fire alarm signal is manually reset at the control panel, it should remain illuminated for not less than 20 min after initiation. The illumination may then automatically extinguish.
h) A fault indications should be given within 100 s at the CIE if no valid radio transmissions are received from any of the radio fire devices for two hours.
i) After 30 s of continuous interference to the transmitted signal that can compromise the performance of the fire detection and alarm system, a fault indication should be given at the CIE within a further 100 s.
j) Installation of a radio-linked system should only take place after a comprehensive radio survey has been undertaken to ascertain the following:
1) there are no other sources of radio transmission that could interfere with, or block radio communication between the control and indicating equipment and other components of the system;
2) there is adequate signal strength for communication both to and from components as appropriate in all areas of the building(s) in which radio-linked components are to be located. This should take into account the minimum acceptable signal level defined by the manufacturer in respect of the level of background radio ‘noise’ at the time of the survey;
3) where the system is networked it should be established that the communication conditions described in item 2) are achieved throughout the network;
4) records of signal strength readings for each radio device taken at the time of the survey, and of the background noise level, should be kept for future reference.
k) Only radio survey test equipment that has been approved by the manufacturer and regularly calibrated should be used to carry out the survey. A record of the date of calibration and the date when the next calibration is due should be marked on the survey equipment.
l) At the time of commissioning and after the installation of all equipment including remote antenna(e), the following records relating to the radio data should be recorded:
1) the system coding (i.e. system address) which should where possible be unique to avoid the possibility of interference from similar systems on the same frequency;
2) details of the signal level being received at each of the receiver units. This data should include the received signal levels of all the radio devices and the background noise level. In the case of a networked system (i.e. multiple panel system), this should also include the signal levels for the radio-links between panels. In addition to other servicing recommendations in other parts of this standard, this should be undertaken at each routine service visit.
m) The signal levels recorded should be within the specifications set by the manufacturer of the radio system. If not within the specification, appropriate remedial action should be undertaken;
n) A copy of the signal levels should be kept on site with the system log book.
o) Where a network of CIEs is used, the system specification should define whether there is to be:
1) on master CIE at which all controls and indications where available, with other panels not having controls or indications; or
2) a supervisory CIE at which essential indications are available and possibly some controls are also available, with other CIEs also having some controls and indications.
Dependent on the choice of system configuration, CIEs with an appropriate specification should be selected.

Fire Safety Legislation
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order

It replaces fire certification under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 with a general duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable :

  • The safety of employees,

  • In relation to non-employees to take such fire precautions as may reasonably be required in the circumstances to ensure that the premises are safe

  • A duty to carry out a fire risk assessment

The main duty holder will be the “responsible person ”

The duties on the responsible person will be extended to any person who has, to any extent, control of the premises .

It will set out the matters to be taken into account in carrying out a risk assessment

The general principles to be applied in implementing fire safety measures

The special measures to be taken in relation to dangerous substances

The Order will amend or repeal other legislation concerning fire safety .

Following the fire risk assessment the employer must where necessary in order to safeguard the safety of employees in case of fire and to the extent that it is appropriate, provide:-

Emergency exit routes and doors;

The final emergency exit doors must open outwards and not be sliding or revolving;

Emergency lighting to cover the exit routes where necessary;

Fire-fighting equipment, fire alarms and where necessary fire detectors.

Fire Exit signs, fire alarms and fire fighting equipment MUST be provided with pictograph signs – Health and Safety (Safety Signs & Signals) Regulations 1996.

Employers MUST provide employees with fire safety training following the written risk assessment.

An emergency plan may have to be prepared and sufficient workers trained and equipped to carry out their functions within any such plan.

All equipment and facilities such as fire extinguishers, alarms systems and emergency doors should be regularly maintained and faults rectified as soon as possible. Defects and repairs must be recorded.

Employers MUST plan, organise, control, monitor and review the measures taken to protect employees from fire whilst at work and if more than five employees, then a record must be maintained.

Employers MUST appoint an adequate number of competent persons to assist them to comply with their obligations e.g. a competent assessor to conduct fire risk assessments or a competent instructor to provide fire safety training.

Persons shall be regarded as competent where they have sufficient training, experience, knowledge, and other qualities properly to perform their functions to conduct the fire risk assessment.

If employers intentionally or recklessly fail to comply they will be guilty of an offence.

There are a number of other technical and specific Regulations.

N.B. The above brief extracts of Fire Safety Legislation do not constitute the actual Regulations to which reference should be made. Fire Service International Ltd accept no responsibility for any person failing to refer to the Regulations or their enforcing authority.

These are just a few of the questions that need to be considered by a “competent person” doing a fire risk assessment:-

1.  Does furniture cause only an acceptable fire risk?

What constitutes an “acceptable” risk?

2.  Are there sufficient exits for the number of people present?

How many exits are “sufficient” and what is the occupancy factor – the limit on the number of people to be present

3.  Are all escape routes adequately lit?

What is “adequate ” illumination for an escape route?

4.  Are all vents and service ducts etc suitably protected where appropriate to prevent the spread of fire, heat or smoke?

What is “suitable” protection and where and what is “appropriate”?

5.  Is there sufficient fire fighting equipment of the correct type?

What is “sufficient” and what is the “appropriate” type?

6.  Have all staff received adequate training from a competent person?

What is “adequate” training and who is “competent” to deliver it?