One of the provisions included in the Fire Safety Act of Singapore is the regular maintenance of the fire protection system within the building as long as it’s not a conservation building built before 1969. This means that it is the responsibility of both the building management and the fire protection system provider to keep the equipment and fire alarm systems calibrated all the time.
Detailed below is the guideline for proper fire protection system maintenance.
Effectivity of the Fire Protection System
The fire protection system will only work if the fire alarm systems function properly on the stage of the fire at which it operates. This simply means that the occupants within the building should be able to evacuate on time while it is still early, and the building personnel and fire fighters are on their way to control the fire. A complex fire protection system, however, isn’t made up of just a few interconnected parts, but the automatic fire alarm systems used in most modern buildings consist of heat or smoke detectors, alarm panels, alarm bells, manual call points, extinguishing panels, sprinklers, battery or charger, and DECAM panel or station for monitoring and transmission.
False Fire Alarms
One downside of using an automatic fire protection system in Singapore is the common recurrence of false alarms which could interrupt daily operations if it is an office or business or disturb occupants if it is a residential complex. To manage false alarms, the common causes must be identified and managed. Besides smoke and fumes which can trigger the fire alarm systems, false alarms can also be caused by pranks, damage to the fire protection system, and faulty parts. These problems can be addressed by considering the possible causes of false alarms and designing the fire protection system in a way that it still functions properly but will minimize those disturbances. The building owner and management should also be familiar with the fire protection system and keep records of false alarms, so it can be addressed in the next inspection.
Even the most sophisticated fire protection system is not free from common problems that come with complex designs especially in a multi-story building in Singapore. That is why there are recommended maintenance and inspection schedules that must be followed to ensure the safety of the occupants. This should be done even without any incidents of false alarms or genuine emergencies recently. Daily checks are required from the building owner or management as well as the weekly, monthly, and annual tests done by the contractor or fire protection system provider you are partnered with. The daily inspection will be able to detect minor problems while weekly tests are designed to ensure that the monitoring station and power source are okay. Monthly tests are simulations of fire that will pinpoint possible problems within the different parts of the fire protection system, while the annual tests include cleaning and calibration of at least 20% of the system.