How Often Should You Inspect Your Fire Alarm System?
According to research conducted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2021, local fire departments responded to an estimated 1.35 million fires in the United States. These fires caused 3,800 civilian fire deaths and 14,700 reported civilian fire injuries. The property damage caused by these fires was estimated at $15.9 billion.
We understand that with all the tasks and responsibilities associated with the role of a property owner or manager, it might be easy to forget about the life saving purpose a fire safety system serves. Additionally, it might be easier to forget that in order to trust your fire alarm system will always be ready to alert occupants in the event of a fire emergency, it must be regularly tested and inspected
How often should I have my fire alarm inspected?
The short answer: Once a year! … or more.
Although NFPA-72 standards dictate that fire alarm systems should be inspected a minimum of once a year, your local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) might require semi-annual, quarterly, monthly, or even weekly inspections depending on the complexity of your system.
For the purpose of this post, we will cover the two primary types of inspections:
An annual inspection is crucial in ensuring the safety and compliance of your property and its occupants.
During this inspection, a state-certified technician will test each device involved in the initiation and notification sequence of the system. These include:
- Fire Alarm Control Unit(s): The “brain” to which all devices are connected
- Power Supplies: The primary power source of the FACU
- Alternative/Backup power sources: Ensures the FACU remains active should the primary power source fail
- Detection devices: Smoke and/or heat detectors
- Indicating devices: Horns and/or strobes
To test the true functionality of the system and confirm it signals to the monitoring company, the entire system will need to be activated as if an actual fire had occurred. Don’t worry, the technician will not start a trash bin fire, they will simply actuate the devices. Additionally, technicians should assess device damage and cleanliness, along with any building modifications that may cause detection/notification obstructions.
A less intensive – yet important – test comes in the form of a semi-annual inspection – a check-up, if you will!
During a semi-annual inspection, the notification & signaling functions of certain fire sprinkler devices is inspected. These devices include:
Flow Switches – notify the FACU when a continuous flow of water is detected
Tamper Switches – signal to the FACU when a control valve is closed (closed valve = no waterflow to the sprinkler system)
Alternative/Backup power sources – *see Annual Inspection*
Inconvenience Factor… we know.
We at Advanced Alarm & Fire, Inc. understand that these inspections take time away from you and the sounding of horns may inconvenience staff or residents, but we want to remind you that they are imperative for the safety of the occupants and your property. In the event that an accident was to occur, you want to have the assurance – and paperwork to demonstrate – that you did all that was necessary in order to ensure the functionality of your fire alarm system.
Your Partner in Safety
In your next online search for “fire alarm companies Los Angeles”, we hope you’ll keep Advanced Alarm & Fire, Inc. in mind. We are a full-service, UL Certified company. Since 1995, we have designed, installed, and provided ongoing alarm inspection and monitoring services for multiple counties in Southern California. When you’re ready, contact us to discuss your fire alarm inspection and testing needs.