A properly functioning fire alarm system is often times the difference between a small fire that causes minimal damage and a catastrophe. Not only do fire alarm systems give you an opportunity to detect fires in its early stages – they also alert building occupants to the potential threat of a fire. Long story, short – fire alarm systems save property and they save lives.
As such, your fire alarm system needs to be maintained and inspected on occasion to make sure it’s working the way it’s supposed to work. These inspections usually need to fall in line with the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) standard 72. NFPA 72 lays out the specific guidelines and sets the standards for fire alarm systems and how they should be inspected and tested.
Naturally, this brings up a lot of questions for business owners – questions we’re going to hopefully help answer today. Here are some things you should know about fire alarm inspections and what to expect when they occur. Let’s jump right in!
How often should inspections be performed
We recommend that you get your system inspected annually. According to the NFPA guidelines – you need to have your control panel and audible alarms inspected every year. Sensors, batteries, and pull stations only need to be inspected semi-annually. It just makes sense to get everything done at once. Plan it for the beginning of the year so it’s off your plate and you don’t have to worry about it.
What’s the process?
While it might seem like a complicated process on it’s face – fire inspections are mostly a common-sense thing. Inspectors are trained to make sure nothing looks out of the ordinary or that nothing has changed since the last time the system was inspected. They’ll look for things like making sure fire extinguishers are full and the like.
They’ll test the alarm itself to make sure it’s working, inspect the power supply, check the transponders and make sure they’re programmed to show the correct zones and address. They’ll make sure the system uses the appropriate signals when it is activated as well as the batteries. They’ll check on the light bulbs in the alarms themselves and will also check on the pull stations to make sure there aren’t any physical defects.
How long and how in-depth the inspection in largely depends on your system, its scope and the last time it was inspected. At the end of the day though – it’s vital that you get your system inspected. Inspectors aren’t here to punish you – they’re here to help you in the event of an accident. If your system is due for an inspection – give us a call and we’ll be happy to help. Good luck!