Fire Alarm Testing
Fire alarm systems are a crucial component of preventing loss of life in the event of a fire. We know that businesses are legally required to install a fire alarm system.
But did you know you are also legally required to test your fire alarm system?
To put it very simply, testing your fire alarm is like having an inspection done on your car. It verifies that your car’s systems are performing like they should and makes you safer. Likewise — fire alarm system testing verifies that your fire alarm system is performing like it should. If you get pulled over and do not have an up-to-date inspection sticker, you’ll get a ticket. In the same way, if your building is inspected and you haven’t recently tested your fire alarm systems, you’ll get a ticket.
Your fire alarm system is built to satisfy the requirements of your local building department, fire inspectors, International Fire Code, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code, and even your insurance carrier. What you may not know is that each of these codes require regular maintenance on your fire alarm systems in the form of fire alarm testing.
Can I test my own fire alarm system?
As a building or business owner, you want to have someone who is familiar with your fire alarm system perform the tests on it. They will be able to recognize if the system is impaired and will also know the best method for fixing it. But that doesn’t mean that just anyone can perform your fire alarm testing. Fire codes require that your fire alarm testing be done by a qualified, state-licensed inspector.
How often do I need to test my fire alarm system?
This depends on the code your fire alarm system was designed to satisfy. Annual and semi-annual are the most popular requirements. Though sometimes insurance companies require quarterly inspections (depending on the type of business.) At any rate, consistent testing ensures your fire alarm system is working as it should and that each device is operating at the time of testing. In addition, testing helps prevent false alarms. This saves both fire department resources and your business money in false alarm penalty charges.
As you may know or can guess fire alarm systems can be expensive. With that being said, you want to protect and properly maintain a costly investment. You wouldn’t purchase a vehicle and not have routine maintenance done on it, right? Also, you want to make sure the company servicing and testing your fire alarm system is well qualified. With every test, the system owner should receive a copy of the test that details what exactly was tested. Copies of standard inspection and testing forms can be found at www.NFPA.org.