Everything you need to know about fire alarm inspections

Oct 30, 2019 | Fire Protection System, Fire Safety Tips, Fire Systems Inspections

A properly functioning fire alarm system can be the difference between a small fire that causes minimal damage and downtime and a large fire that puts your assets, your property, and human life at risk. Not only does a fire alarm system detect a fire in its early stages, but it alerts you or other building occupants of the potential threat.  In order for the fire alarm system to work as intended, it needs to be properly and regularly inspected in compliance with the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) standard 72. NFPA 72 lays out the specific guidelines for what components of fire alarms with what methods and at what frequencies they should be inspected and tested. Fire alarm inspections are also required to be performed by a qualified individual like the trained professionals at Keystone Fire Protection Co.  October is fire prevention month and we know the best way to prevent fire is to have a working alarm system.  Do you have a fire alarm system? Has it been inspected recently? Continue reading to find out if your fire alarm system is being inspected according to NFPA standards.  

How often should you perform fire alarm inspections

Visual inspections are required to occur at frequencies determined by NFPA 72, Chapter 14, Table 14.3.1.  

  • Control panel: All control panel components need to be inspected upon initial installation, reinstallation, and annually after that. 
  • Sensors: All sensors or initiating devices such as heat or smoke alarms need to be inspected upon initial installation, reinstallation, and either quarterly or semi-annually depending on the type of initiating device.  For example, radiant energy fire detectors need to be inspected quarterly while heat detectors need to be inspected semi-annually.  
  • Batteries: All battery types need to be inspected upon installation or reinstallation. However, battery inspection frequency depends on the type of battery.  Lead-acid and primary batteries need to be inspected monthly, but sealed lead-acid and nickel-cadmium batteries only need to be inspected semi-annually.  
  • Pull Stations: Pull station alarms need to be inspected semi-annually.  
  • Audible alarms: Audible alarms must be inspected annually.

What is the process for performing fire alarm inspections? 

Inspections are meant to take a “common sense” approach where a trained professional visually inspects the fire alarm system components and makes sure nothing looks out of the ordinary or changed since the last time the system was inspected.  Keystone Fire Protection Co. technicians typically do fire alarm system testing at the same time as a fire alarm inspection, in order to properly, physically test the function of fire alarm system components. A trained professional will inspect your fire alarm system in a systematic manner.  At the control panel they will look at the power supply and the transponders, making sure it is programed to show the correct zones and address. If a smoke detector is activated in the library, the fire alarm panel should read the corresponding address. Technicians will also ensure the system uses appropriate signals like supervisory, trouble, etc.  Next they will look at the batteries. They will check that the power supply is in its correct circuit and that the batteries are both appropriate battery type for the system as well as labeled with month and date of manufacture. Visual alarms will have bulbs checked. The audible and pull stations will be checked for any physical defect. 

As October winds to a close and fire prevention month is almost over, it is a great time to reflect on your fire protection systems, especially with the holidays right around the corner.  Many fires start due to decorations, candles, and cooking. In these instances, it is important to have a reliable fire alarm system. Contact Keystone Fire Protection Co. today to complete your fire alarm inspection by one of our trained and licensed technicians.  Keystone will make sure your fire alarm system is functioning properly and give you peace of mind.  


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