Paramount For Insurance Requirements

By: Roy Buckingham

Fire Brigade Policy is set to change drastically and many businesses will find that they must pay to have their current alarm system replaced in order to meet their insurance requirements and to get Fire Brigade response in the event of a fire.

Even if you have recently had a brand new Fire Alarm installed to BS5839, unless the installer had BAFE accreditation, you may still find your insurance refusing to pay for fire damage.

The fact is that until an incident occurs, you will have no idea whether or not the alarm system you have chosen and paid for will do the job of protecting property and human life.

One way to be sure that your fire alarm is of the very best standard is to ensure that you choose a company who has BAFE SP203 accreditation.

What is BAFE?

Established in 1984, the British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE) is a non-profit making organisation, operating independent third party schemes of approval for fire protection systems and services.

There are a number of Standards but the one which relates to Fire Alarms is BAFE SP 203. To have this accreditation means that a company has been vetted by BAFE and that nothing will be left to chance. The design, installation and maintenance of the fire system will be of the very highest integrity.

BAFE SP203 has 4 modules which means that companies only have to become listed for the area or areas in which they operate. A company who only installs, for example, would register for the requirements of the installation section only, whereas a company who designs and commissions would register for the design and commission modules. This way, the scheme is flexible and its integrity is not compromised. The four modules are:

&bullDesign&bullInstallation&bullCommissioning&bullMaintenance

When you are choosing a fire alarm installation company, make sure that you check that they are accredited for all of the modules. If not, you could find yourself having to use as many as 4 different companies to meet your insurance requirements and guarantee Fire Brigade response.

Legislation with regard to fire alarms will be changing shortly.

The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is introducing the need for a Unique Reference Number (URN) to be quoted whenever they are requested to attend to a fire alarm activation. These URNs can only be issued if a system is installed and serviced by a BAFE accredited company.

This is because, at the moment, Fire Brigades waste a lot valuable time and resources by having to attend to what turns out to be a false alarm. The CFOA believes to a degree that this is because of the poor standard of installation by non-regulated Fire Alarm companies.

By making it a pre-requisite that the Fire Alarm company demonstrates that it maintains the highest standards in all aspects of its operation, they believe they will virtually eliminate false alarm time wasting.

Put simply, if a fire alarm is not certified and maintained by a BAFE accredited company, the CFOA will not issue the URN and the Fire Brigade will not respond.

Another little known fact is that this requirement will be enforced retrospectively within the next few years for all fire alarm systems.

This BAFE certification for existing fire alarm installations can only be undertaken by a BAFE accredited company. Because it is probable that the whole system will need to be pulled apart to undertake the inspection, this could also prove to be very costly.

The inspection will include every detail of the system from basic design to the cabling and installation to ensure that it complies fully with all the relevant Standards.

By choosing a BAFE accredited company to install and maintain your Fire Alarm system, you can rest assured that you will not fall foul of legislation and the inevitable huge cost that will occur if you do not choose a BAFE accredited company.

BAFE accredited companies give the assurance that you will be given the most professional advice and the highest standard of installation and service.

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