Has your Fire Alarm Battery been tested

Has your fire alarm battery been tested recently ? All fire alarms systems have some sort of backup power to maintain alarm functionality if for any reason the mains power fails. For most systems this reserve power would be provided by a backup battery.

For all fire alarm systems it is imperative that the backup battery is tested during routine maintenance.

The battery shown below was removed from a customers fire alarm system by a Veriserv engineer during periodic maintenance of the system.

Fire alarm battery fault

There are various faults that can effect batteries however this fault is clearly visible in the form of swelling and distortion. This battery has become swollen as a result of overcharging which has been caused by a faulty voltage regulator within the fire alarm panel and excessive current has flowed into the battery after the battery has reached full charge. The constant current will cause decomposition of the electrolyte within the battery and lead to premature aging. At high rates of overcharge a battery will progressively heat up and as it gets hotter it will accept more current, heating up even further. This is called thermal runaway and it can destroy a battery in as little as a few hours.

A Veriserv engineer replaced this battery and repaired the faulty panel to prevent the new battery suffering the same fate.

Operators and owners of non domestic premises have a duty under the Health & Safety at work Act 1974 to provide a safe place of work. In practice this means that all non domestic premises should have a working fire alarm system which is being properly maintained. Veriserv can provide design and installation services together with a suitable on going maintenance regime.

British Standard BS5839 sets out the code of practice for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems in non domestic premises. Section 25.4 states that the following recommendations are applicable: a) The standby supply should comprise of a secondary (rechargeable) battery with an automatic charger, b) The battery should be of the type having a life of at least four years under the conditions of use likely to be experienced in the fire detection and fire alarm system.

A Veriserv engineer would check the age of the battery and carefully calculate the specification of a replacement where necessary.

Veriserv are accredited to NSI Gold standard and can provide guidance if you are un sure of your duties or need some reassurance as to the condition of your fire alarm system. We can also carry out a mandatory Fire Risk Assessment for your premises to make sure any potential fire hazards are identified and addresses.

For more information please contact us on 01543 225306 or complete our on line form.

Other sources of information;

Fire Industries Association (FIA)

National Security Inspectorate (NSI)

British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE)

Health & Safety Executive (HSE)