Annual inspections of a building’s fire alarm system ensure a safer working/living environment for all occupants of the building. Maintaining annual fire alarm system inspections will also assure the compliancy of the facility.

Fire alarm system inspections must be conducted by a trained and certified fire protection professional per NFPA Standard 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.

Here’s what you can expect if your annual fire alarm system inspection is coming up soon.

Before the inspection

Before the scheduled fire alarm inspection, you may want to notify all occupants of the building. It’s important to do this so that occupants of the building don’t think an actual fire is occurring.

Arranging to have an employee designated to meet the tech upon arrival is also helpful. This employee should know the location of the system’s components and the monitoring company’s phone number and facility’s account number.

Technician arrives

A Fire Systems tech will arrive on site and make contact with the customer. Any information needed to complete the annual fire alarm inspection is then gathered from the designated employee. This information is particularly important if the tech has never been to the facility before.

The tech will then discuss preferences in regard to the sound portion of the fire alarm test. Some customers prefer to plan the sound test portion of the inspection. The customer will always be asked when they’d like for this portion of the testing to happen.

Place system on “test”

The first step of the fire alarm system inspection is to test the fire alarm panel, which acts as the “brains” of the entire fire alarm system.

The technician will locate the fire alarm panel and look for the monitoring information if not already given. This information is typically written on the panel. The monitoring company will then be called, and the system put on “test.” This is done to avoid having the fire department called during the inspection.

Test the audio/visual devices

The testing of your fire alarm system begins after placing the fire alarm system on “test.” The notification appliances are tested first. Notification appliances include any part of the system intended to notify building occupants of a fire emergency (horns, strobes, speakers, etc.).

If the customer chose to conduct the sound test first, the tech will pull a pull station to activate the horns and strobes. He will then walk the entire building to ensure all audio/visual appliances are operating properly.

If the customer chose to conduct the sound test done last, the tech can simply bypass all of the horns and strobes so they won’t make noise. The tech would then begin testing pull stations, smoke detectors, and other devices.

All devices are noted as working properly, or not, using a report or the panel.

Test the detection devices

The automatically actuated detection devices of a fire alarm system include the smoke detector, heat detectors, and duct detectors. Other automatically actuated detection devices include supervisory devices like water flow switches and tamper switches. Manually actuated detection devices would include manual pull stations. Testing of these detection devices is critical to the early detection of fire.

The smoke detector is tested by placing a specialized cup over the detector while an aerosol smoke is sprayed into the chamber.  Duct detectors are tested in the same way. If a fire were to occur in a building’s duct system, the smoke in the ducts would be first detected by the smoke detectors located just outside of the duct system.

Pull stations are tested by being pulled as would normally occur during a fire and then reset by use of a key or screwdriver.

Flow switches and tamper switches are tested to verify that they are fully operational. Flow switches detect water movement in the piping system. The detection of water activates the fire alarm system. Tamper switches detect if a sprinkler valve has been closed.  A trouble signal is sent to the fire alarm control panel if this occurs.

Not all buildings have heat detectors (more common on industrial equipment).  These devices are tested using heat, typically from a heat gun depending on the application.

Check batteries

The batteries that operate your fire alarm system’s control panel are very important. Batteries only last so long. An inoperable control panel is an inoperable fire alarm system, leaving a building at risk of fire.

To test your system’s batteries, the tech will go to every panel and power supply and run a load test on all of the batteries to make sure they are still in an acceptable range.  Once they fall below 65 percent capacity, they have to be replaced.

Conducting the fire alarm system inspection

Once complete, the tech will either re-enable everything and then perform the sound test if not already conducted or put everything back online and make sure the panel returns to “normal.”

The monitoring company is contacted after the control panel is returned to normal. This is done to let them know the inspection is complete and the system can be put back online.

Review findings

The tech will again meet with the designated employee of the facility at the completion of the fire alarm system inspection. The tech will sign paperwork, go over any deficiencies, and answer any requests or questions the customer may have. It is at this time that the tech will also return badges, keys, or anything else were given for access to the building.

The technician scans this paperwork on-site and immediately emails it to the office.

Receive inspection report

The inspection report is sent through for billing once received by the division managers.

The customer will receive an email in the following few days after the visit with the inspection reports from every division that was on-site, the deficiency reports, and the quotes to repair those deficiencies.

How do I choose a fire protection company for my fire alarm system inspections?

The Fire Systems team of technicians are trained to inspect and service all types of alarm systems. Our software system keeps track of when inspections are due. You never have to worry about being delinquent on required inspections.

Fire Systems performs inspections for all brands of fire alarms. These include: Notifier, FireLite, Silent Knight, Simplex-Grinnell, Siemens, Honeywell, and Edwards/EST.

Fire Systems offers 24-hour emergency service and 24/7 monitoring for your fire alarm systemWe can provide training in the proper use and maintenance of your system as well.

When you call Fire Systems, Inc., we put you in contact with an individual specifically trained to address your fire protection needs. Call us today at 770-333-7979 or visit our website.