Fire & Life Safety America provides fire alarm system inspection and testing services for all brands of fire alarm systems based on the requirements of NFPA 72 including local requirements dictated by the AHJ (Authorities Having Jurisdiction). Fire alarm inspection, testing and maintenance meeting the minimum requirements of the NFPA 72 standard are critically important to ensure fire alarm systems work as intended when called upon. These electronic systems suffer can be sensitive to common day use and just as any other building systems and FLSA’s standardized processes and procedures will increase the reliability of systems while helping owners to plan maintenance issues to reduce spend as opposed to dealing with more costly repairs that tend to pop up as emergency issues.
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Conventional fire alarms are systems that consist of zones hardwired to the main fire control panel. These systems create the ability to allocate fire alarms per each section of the building. It also assists in monitoring if an alarm is not functioning properly. Conventional fire alarm systems are typically installed in small buildings such as small offices or retail stores. When in alarm the system will alarm individually when they detect smoke or heat.
Addressable fire alarm systems are also known as “intelligent or smart systems.” These fire alarms monitor the fire alarm components in a building. Addressable alarms allow you to choose between automatic and manual alarms. Each alarm installed in this system has its own address, which allows you to see which alarm is working and which are failing. Addressable fire alarms systems are more expensive because of the monitoring features. Addressable fire alarm systems are a typically required for large high-rise buildings, complexes and campuses. Addressable fire alarm systems can be customized in a variety of ways, including:
In some settings, a hybrid alarm system is beneficial. It combines the hardwired zone features of a conventional fire alarm system with the addressable loops of the addressable fire alarm systems into a single panel. This combination of technology can meet the needs of the building better than either the addressable or the conventional alarm systems.
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The inspection, testing and maintenance requirements of fire alarms systems is found in Chapter 14 of the National Fire Protection Association’s Code NFPA 72. The purpose for these requirements is to ensure that the fire alarm system is operating properly in accordance with the design requirements.
Visual inspections of fire alarm components are to be performed weekly, monthly, semi-annually, and/or annually in accordance with the schedules in table 14.3.1 of NFPA 72. These schedules can change depending on the local jurisdiction and the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). Some of the most common visual inspections can include:
The proper testing of the fire alarm components when compared to visual inspections are scheduled to be performed less frequently. There are a few components that require semi-annual testing, but most of the components require testing annually according to table 184.108.40.206 of NFPA 72. Similar to the inspections, the testing schedule can change per the discretion of the local AHJ (Authorities Having Jurisdiction. The test and inspection of the fire alarm components can include:
The maintenance of fire alarm systems is often overlooked if in the event a system is operating without a fire alarm panel that reports trouble signals or false alarms. If neglected this can become a problem. Without the proper fire alarm maintenance plan, small issues can lead to big issues and result in unnecessary repairs. Maintenance of fire alarm components should be conducted in accordance with the manufacturer’s published instructions. The frequency or schedule of maintenance is dependent on the type of equipment and environmental conditions. Cleaning of fire alarm system components is also dependent on the environment where the component is installed and according to manufacturer’s guidelines. If any component is replaced or repaired, testing may be required according to the AHJ or table 220.127.116.11 of NFPA 72.