What you need to know About Commercial Fire Alarm Inspection

Having a fire alarm inspection is important in ensuring all existing alarms are compliant with the National Fire Alarm and Signalling Code.

It is necessary to regularly inspect a building’s fire alarm system so that the building occupants are kept safe. These inspections will identify areas in the facility that need repairs or replacement.

Also, businesses are protected after a fire occurs by proving their system complies with their local governing authorities as well as their insurance provider on fire protection requirements.

If you want to avoid a malfunctioning system when there is an emergency, there are a few things that you need to know.

What takes place during the fire alarm inspection and test?

Technicians must inform the local fire alarm department and/or monitoring call station of their scheduled test. They do so to avoid raising a false alarm.

The technicians will perform tests at the site to check that all the systems components are in good and working condition. These include elevators, fire alarm panels, strobes, and many other things that may vary based on the type of system and needs of the building.

Items that are inspected and tested are:

  1. Input power and backup batteries
  2. Fire alarm panel to be free of any trouble conditions
  3. Smoke and heat detectors
  4. Air handler shutdown
  5. Electrically controlled door locks
  6. Flow and tamper switches
  7. Annunciators
  8. Audible and visual outputs (horns, strobes, and speakers)
  9. Elevator Recall
  10. Firefighter handsets
  11. Phone lines and/or cellular alarm reporting

These tests are important because they help identify any areas that might compromise and affect the overall system’s function. Also, they ensure that all NFPA regulations are met.

How long does the inspection take?

Depending on the size of the facility, if it is small, then the inspection can last up to an hour. Larger facilities take more time. If there are complex systems and multiple buildings, then it could last a few days. You need not rush the technicians as the tests have to be thorough.

Types of Commercial Fire Alarms

  1. Conventional Fire Alarms involve several different zones, hardwired to a central control panel. Each zone is comprised of multiple devices so that if an alarm is detected by any device in that zone the firefighters will know which area of the building to go to. Some older buildings may have this type of system, but many have been replaced by addressable fire alarms.
  2. Addressable fire alarms are also known as intelligent systems. Each device has its own unique address which allows for the devices to individually communicate events to the fire alarm control panel. This type of system offers the most accurate form of fire detection by pinpointing exactly where the fire is in the facility. Most modern buildings have this type of system.
  3. Hybrid fire alarms combine both conventional fire alarms and an addressable fire alarm into a single panel. This will typically be found where a building initially had a conventional fire alarm system but has had parts of that system repaired and replaced over time without undergoing a complete system change.

When considering installing a new commercial fire alarm, it is vital to choose one compatible with your space.

How often should commercial fire alarms be inspected?

Safety technician needs to test the fire alarm control panels, alarm communication equipment, remote annunciators, and initiating devices. The tests need to be conducted between 6 months to one year. There should be sensitivity tests for smoke detectors every two years.

Employees need to be alerted of any tests taking place inside the building. Also, they need to be familiar and well trained with the establishment’s fire drill procedures.

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2451 County Road 813 Alvin, TX 77511