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The Top 5 Things You Should Know About The Test & Inspection of Fire Alarm Systems

Lives are at stake! Your fire alarm system will only operate properly if it is maintained and some impairments will not be obvious without testing!

Here are the Top Five Things You Should Know:

1. NFPA 72 requires all functions controlled by a Fire Alarm Control Panel to be functionally tested as per Table 14.4.3.2.

“Verify correct receipt of alarm, supervisory, and trouble signals (inputs); operation of evacuation signals and auxiliary functions (outputs); circuit supervision, including detection of open circuits and ground faults; and power supply supervision for detection of loss of ac power and disconnection of secondary batteries.”

2. NFPA 72 requires single station smoke detectors to be functionally tested and have sensitivity testing as per Section 14.1.2 and Table 14.2.3.2.G (1) and (2).

“The inspection, testing, and maintenance of single and multiple station smoke and heat alarms and household fire alarm systems shall comply with the requirements of this chapter.”

3. Where two or more strobes are visible in one area, they must be synchronized as per NFPA 72, Chapter 18.

“More than two visible notification appliances or groups of synchronized appliances in the same room or adjacent space within the field of view that flash in synchronization.”

4. Must use correct test method/device as per Manufacturers Published Instructions to functionally test alarm initiating devices as per NFPA 72, Table 14.4.3.2.

“Test all system functions and features in accordance with the equipment manufacturer’s published instructions for correct operation in conformance with the applicable sections of Chapter 26.”

5. Five year extension is possible under specific conditions for sensitivity testing of smoke detectors (must be approved in writing by the AHJ1), NFPA 72 Section 14.4.4.3.

“Sensitivity testing shall be checked within 1 year after installation.

“Sensitivity testing shall be checked every alternate year thereafter unless otherwise permitted by compliance with 14.4.4.3.3.

“After the second required calibration test, if sensitivity tests indicate that the device has remained within its listed and marked sensitivity range (or 4 percent obscuration light gray smoke, if not marked); the length of time between calibration tests shall be permitted to be extended to a maximum of 5 years.”


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