How Often Should a Fire Alarm Be Tested?

Fire alarm systems are one of the most fundamental safety features of every business. 

According to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it is a legal requirement for every commercial organisation to have an ‘appropriate fire detection system’ in place and often this will take the form of fire alarms. 

As part of this, fire alarm testing is essential in order to ensure the fire alarms are working properly and are effective if an emergency does occur. 

In this article, the team here at Millennium Fire Protection will take a look at how often a fire alarm should be tested, outlining everything you need to know about the process to keep you and your employees safe while also ensuring you comply with your legal obligation.      

The different types of fire alarms 

There are two main types of fire alarms that can be found on commercial premises- these are:

Manual fire alarms 

These fire alarm systems have to be triggered manually by a person when they spot flames or smoke. Usually, this takes the form of a square panel that needs to be broken by force, which will then trigger the fire alarm sound to alert occupants that they need to evacuate. 

Usually, when a manual, addressable fire alarm has been triggered, the fire alarm panel will indicate which alarm on the property has been activated, meaning the location of the blaze can be quickly and easily identified. 

Automatic fire alarms 

In contrast, automatic alarms require no human intervention whatsoever. 

When a fire breaks out, the automatic system will detect the presence of smoke or heat and automatically trigger the property’s alarms. This means that evacuation can happen sooner as there is no need for a person to discover the blaze before the alarm is raised.   

How often should fire alarms be tested?

No matter what type of fire alarm systems your business has in place, it’s important that they’re regularly tested to ensure they are working properly. 

The British Standard outlines that fire alarms must be tested every week in commercial premises to ensure that they’re working properly and no faults have occurred. The results of these tests should also be formally recorded in a fire logbook so that they can be referred to when necessary.   

In addition to these weekly tests, it’s also necessary for fire alarm systems to be more thoroughly inspected by a professional fire company every six months. Following the completion of an inspection, you should be awarded an Inspection and Servicing certificate that indicates the test has taken place. 

Who is responsible for testing fire alarms?

On a weekly basis, fire alarm tests should be carried out by a ‘responsible person’ on the premises. While often the occupier or property owner will take on this responsibility, they can also designate the task to someone they deem responsible and who will reliably conduct the testing. Often, this will be the same person who has taken on fire warden responsibilities. 

Additionally, for the bi-annual test a professional, specialist individual should be conducting the inspection. 


At Millennium Fire Protection, we’ve spent over a decade keeping properties safe across Harrow, Ealing, Watford and the surrounding areas. This includes a comprehensive fire alarm maintenance service that will ensure you comply with your legal responsibilities while also keeping everyone inside your property safe. To find out more about how we can help you, contact our expert team today.