In any place of business, ensuring the safety of your employees and customers is of paramount importance. Functioning and well-maintained fire alarm systems are vital and will help provide peace of mind to everyone in the building.
Regular inspections should be arranged to ensure that standards are kept, allowing you to continue your business uninterrupted.
How Often Should Your Fire Alarm System Be Inspected?
A minimum 2 inspections are required- Annual and semi annual inspections as laid out below.
According to Florida Statutes and National Fire Alarm codes, commercial buildings should have their fire alarm system inspected once a year at a minimum. It’s essential to hire an authorized and professional fire alarm company to conduct extensive and proper inspections.
An inspection also differs from testing, with testing requiring a certain amount of downtime to ensure that the fire alarm system is functioning correctly. Instead, an inspection focuses more on visually inspecting for issues such as leaking or surface damage.
According to the National Fire Protection Standards published by the National Fire Protection Association, here are some guidelines:
Quarterly Inspections: Carry out visual inspections of your equipment to ensure that it is all in prime operating condition. Also check for any physical damage that could affect your alarms.
Semi-Annual Inspections: Every 6 months, do more extensive tests on your fire protection systems. This should include visual, physical, and mechanical tests and inspections of all your fire protection systems, not just the alarms.
Annual Inspections: At least once a year, you need to do a complete inspection of the entire fire protection system. This includes checking smoke and heat detectors, annunciators, batteries, output relays and activations, and all switches. This inspection is about more than just making sure your alarms have flashing lights and working sound.
Unless you have a sprinkler system as part of your fire alarm system, you aren’t required to do quarterly inspections. However, you are required to complete both semi-annual and annual inspections no matter what kind of fire alarm system you have in place.
Those with sprinkler systems will be required and expected to do quarterly, semi-annual, and annual inspections.
More About Fire Alarm System Inspection
The last thing a business owner needs is for a fire to break out without the necessary measures in place. With a working fire alarm system that complies with both state and local codes, you will have less to worry about.
If and when you do have to file an insurance claim, having proper documentation of regular tests and inspections can reduce the chances of your claim being denied. However, most insurance companies won’t consider your own, in-house inspections sufficient.
This is where you will need the help of a licensed and certified fire alarm company that will inspect and test your fire alarm system. These inspectors can be trained professionals certified by system manufacturers, recognized by national organizations, affiliated with registered organizations, or an employee of a testing laboratory.
With their knowledge and expertise, licensed and certified fire alarm companies will help ensure all the necessary systems and components are functioning. This can include:
- Smoke and heat detectors
- Manual pull stations
- Notification appliances
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Communication equipment
Inspectors will also check on the power supply and transponders of the control panel, with the right readings being displayed. The signals used for emergencies also have to line up.
Depending on the needs of the business or building, there may be more tasks involved in the overall inspection.
If a problem is detected, what can you expect moving forward? For starters, devices that have been in use for a prolonged period might need a replacement.
Common factors like humidity, corrosion, changes in temperature, and even voltage fluctuations can affect your fire alarm systems as well, so a certain degree of damage is to be expected. In addition, damaged components will have to be replaced to ensure everything is working correctly.
In most cases, having regular inspections and testing will help you stay on top of any issues. Knowing when to replace your fire alarm system or carry out repairs and maintenance will help you get the most out of them while staying safe.
There is simply no room for error when it comes to fire alarm systems. Constant testing and inspections will keep you on the safe side, and ensure that everyone is alerted in the case of an emergency. Be sure to hire experts to keep everything in order-that is a small price to pay compared to the unimaginable damage of a disaster not detected properly.