Fire Alarm FAQs

In every commercial organisation, fire alarms are one of the most fundamental aspects of fire safety infrastructure.

As well as alerting you and all those on your premises of the presence of a fire and prompting a safe evacuation, it’s also the legal obligation of every business owner that their property has ‘appropriate fire detectors’ in place.

Typically, this takes the form of fire alarms.

In this article, the team here at Millennium Fire Protection will be answering some of the most frequently asked questions relating to fire alarms, ensuring you have all the information you need to keep you and your employees safe while also complying with your legal obligations. 

fire alarm on the ceiling

What are the different types of fire alarms?

There are two main types of fire alarms that you can choose from.

These are:

  • Manual fire alarms – When a person spots signs of a fire, these alarms will need to be manually activated. Normally, this takes the form of a square panel that needs to be smashed or broken by force.
  • Automatic fire alarms – When a blaze occurs, automatic fire alarms will trigger autonomously and without the need for any human intervention.  

How often should fire alarms be checked?

According to the British Standard, fire alarms should be checked by a ‘responsible person’ within your organisation on at least a weekly basis. This is to ensure that the alarms are working correctly and no faults have occurred which could jeopardise an evacuation in the event of an emergency. 

The results of these weekly tests should be officially logged in a fire log book so they can be referred back to if necessary.  

How often should fire alarms be tested?

In addition to the weekly testing that can be done internally, it is also necessary for more in-depth inspections and fire alarm tests to be carried out.

Every six months you must organise for a reputable and qualified fire company, like Millennium Fire, to visit your premises and inspect all fire alarm systems. Once an inspection has been completed, you will then be presented with an Inspection and Servicing certificate which recognises that a suitable inspection has been carried out. 

Why do fire alarms go off for no reason?

A seemingly random chirping or beeping of a fire alarm can be irritating. Normally, if your fire alarm is going off and a fire has not occurred, it is because the batteries are running out or there is a fault with the system. 

Whatever the case, this should never be ignored as it is a sign that the fire alarm may need to be replaced and cannot be relied upon if a real fire breaks out. 

Check out our previous blog for further information on why your fire alarm may be beeping. 

Where to put fire alarms?

While it varies depending on the type of commercial or industrial property you own, on average a fire detection system such as a fire alarm, will need to be installed in either every room or every storey of the building. 

A fire risk assessment will be able to determine exactly how many alarms you need and where to install them. 

How long does a fire alarm last?

On average, a fire alarm will last around 10 years, but this can be longer or shorter depending on the manufacturer. 

It’s recommended that alarms are replaced every 10 years to make sure they’re working correctly, but if your systems are showing signs of faults before this milestone then they need to be replaced immediately. 


At Millennium Fire Protection, we’ve spent more than 30 years providing quality fire alarm systems to a wide range of commercial organisations across Harrow, Ealing, Watford and the surrounding areas. We’re experts in a whole host of commercial fire safety services, so to find out more about what we do get in touch with our team today.