Fire alarms serve as the first line of defense against one of the most significant risks your business faces. As such, you must ensure they remain functional, making regular testing necessary. Here’s an overview of how often they should be tested, what this entails, and when to replace them.
Chapter 14 of the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code establishes general requirements for annual fire alarm testing. However, your local jurisdiction responsible for enforcing fire codes may have different guidelines. Some businesses will have to test their alarms more frequently, depending on where they’re located and the nature of their operations.
Testing is a thorough process that needs to be performed by a certified technician. All alarm devices must be activated to ensure they are functioning properly. This includes all notification devices such as bells, horns, and strobe lights. Communications must then be tested to ensure that the proper authorities are notified in case of an emergency.
Fire alarm relays will also be tested to check if they’re working correctly. They’re responsible for tasks, such as closing fire doors in an emergency, turning off the air conditioner to prevent circulation, and switching off music systems so alarms can be heard. The results will then be written down and recorded for future reference.
Knowing when to update your fire alarm system is critical for protecting your employees and property. An aging system is one of the first indications it’s time for a replacement. Older models don’t have all the modern technology that newer ones are made with. Additionally, parts may no longer be available for repairs.
Also, as your business grows and you gain more employees, you’ll want to make sure you have the right amount of fire alarms for the number of people and rooms in the building. Finally, if testing reveals system failure, an upgrade is required as soon as possible.