Fire alarms are an essential safety feature in any building, because they are designed to detect and alert people to the presence of a fire. However, fire alarms need to be tested and maintained like any other system to ensure they are working correctly. In this blog, we will take a closer look at how often fire alarms should be tested and the available types of tests.
Several different types of tests can be performed on a fire alarm system, including:
- Visual inspections involve physically inspecting the fire alarm system to ensure that all the components are in good working order and are properly positioned and aligned.
- Functional tests involve activating the fire alarm system and checking if it functions correctly. This can be done manually by pressing the test button on the fire alarm panel or automatically by using a testing device.
- Sensitivity tests involve measuring the sensitivity of the fire alarm system to ensure that it will detect a fire at the appropriate level. This can be done using a testing device that simulates the presence of smoke or heat.
So, how often should these tests be performed? The frequency of testing depends on the type of building and the specific requirements of the local fire code. In general, fire alarms in residential buildings should be tested at least once a year, while fire alarms in commercial and industrial buildings may need to be tested more frequently, such as every three to six months.
In addition to testing the fire alarm system itself, it is also important to test the other components of the fire safety system, such as sprinkler systems and emergency lighting. These systems may need to be tested more frequently than the fire alarm system, depending on the specific requirements of the local fire code.
It is important to note that trained and certified professionals should only perform fire alarm testing. Attempting to test a fire alarm system without proper training can be dangerous and can potentially cause the system to malfunction.
In conclusion, fire alarm testing is an essential part of maintaining the safety and functionality of a fire alarm system. The testing frequency depends on the type of building and the specific requirements of the local fire code, but it is generally recommended to test fire alarms at least once a year. It is essential to have fire alarm tests performed by trained and certified professionals to ensure that the system is functioning correctly and to minimize the risk of malfunctions.