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Fire Detection and Alarm Systems

fire alarm

For many facilities, a fire detection and alarm system provides additional security for protecting people, products, documents, and equipment. The right system will provide early detection while preventing false alarms and system discharges that cause unnecessary work interruptions and downtime. To ensure continued efficient and effective operation of a system, a program of regular inspection, testing, and maintenance is required. A variety of national, state, and local codes applies, depending on the type of facility, occupancy, and hazard classification. Insurance companies also have their own specific requirements.

The following National Fire Protection Association (NFPA publication serves as the basis for detailing minimum requirements: NFPA 72 – National Alarm Code (1999 Edition)

The 4 basic requirements for compliance are:

  • Monthly System and Component Inspection
  • Annual Testing and Maintenance
  • Recordkeeping
  • Training and Education for Personnel

Monthly System and Component Inspection

A facility owner is required to have the detection and alarm system visually inspected on a monthly basis to assess the system’s operational condition. This is intended to provide reasonable assurance that the system is ready for use and operable, and that no changes have been made that will impair operation.

fire detection

Annual Testing and Maintenance

All systems are required to be tested and maintained annually per code requirements and manufacturer’s standards. Generally, most systems require annual maintenance. However, there are certain components that need to be tested as part of the monthly inspection. Refer to NFPA 72 for details.

Major areas of annual testing include:

  • Control panel function
  • Checking batteries for charge and corrosion
  • Testing all manual stations for operation
  • Testing all detectors for operation, including sensitivity testing for all smoke detectors
  • Testing all audiovisual devices for operation
  • Testing central station or fire department monitoring connections

Recordkeeping

A facility owner is required to maintain as-built installation drawings, operation and maintenance manuals, and a written sequence of operation for the life of the system. All records of inspections, tests, and maintenance must be retained for a 2-year period.

Training and Education

To enhance the effectiveness of a detection and alarm system, all personnel working in a protected area must be trained in its operation and how to respond in case of an alarm. Secure Fire & Safety will develop and administer a customized training program for your employees that will meet OSHA requirements and provide peace of mind in an emergency.

Please give our professionals a call at 414-257-4222, or use our contact form to email us your area of interest, and we will contact you directly.