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Step-by-Step: Checking your Smoke Alarm and Sprinkler System

Did you know that a recent study concluded that 3 out of 5 home fire deaths resulted from properties without working smoke alarms? That is why it is imperative to not only install a fire protection system into your home, workplace or other commercial building, but to also ensure that it is in proper working order. Having a smoke alarm or sprinkler system that doesn’t work is just as bad as not having one at all...if not worse because it offers you a false sense of security.

Ensure that your dwelling or commercial building is as safe as it can be by regularly checking your smoke alarm and sprinkler system to better guarantee it will do its job in the event of a fire. Follow these simple but important steps to thoroughly check both your smoke alarm and sprinkler system.

Test Smoke Alarms

  1. Alert family members, coworkers and others nearby that you will be testing your smoke alarms. The high-pitched sound that comes from smoke alarms could frighten children and hurt the ear drums of nearby infants. Be sure everyone is aware a testing is about to occur and make plans accordingly.
  2. Find the location in your home or building that is the furthest away from the smoke alarm itself and station someone there to find out when the alarm goes off if it is able to be heard throughout the entire structure. If this is not the case, additional smoke alarms should be added to ensure there is not one area that will miss the warning should smoke or a fire occur.
  3. Begin the test. Press and hold the test button on the smoke detector. A loud-ear piercing siren should begin to sound if the smoke alarm is in proper working order. If the sound is weak, or worse...if there is no sound at all...you need to replace the batteries and repeat the test.

*Tip: If it has been more than 6 months since you last replaced the batteries, replace them anyway, no matter the outcome of the test. This will help to better protect you and those around you in the long run.

Test Sprinkler System

  1. A good rule of thumb is to check your sprinkler system every six months when you test your smoke alarms.
  2. Begin by locating the control valve and ensuring that it is turned ON! By turning it off you will cut off the water flow to your entire home or other building, also cutting off the water to your sprinkler system. Make sure the area around the valve is free of any obstructions to be sure your valve is not cut off by any outside force other than you.
  3. If your sprinklers are connected to an alarm, inform the fire department that you are going to do a test.
  4. Find your water flow test control valve, also labeled main drain, inspector test or test and drain.
  5. Slowly turn the test control valve on. Let the water run for about one minute. You might hear an alarm at this point. If you do not hear anything, including a flow of water, notify your sprinkler system company immediately to make a repair.
  6. Slowly turn the control valve off again and notify the fire department or central alarm that the test is complete.

For any additional questions or information, visit our Fire and Life Safety Blog!

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