Did you know a fire can double in size and intensity every 30 seconds? Fire alarm systems are one of the first lines of defense when it comes to fighting a potentially devastating fire. A properly maintained fire alarm alerts fire authorities and building occupants, expediting evacuation of the building and dispatch of firefighters. But what does it mean to have a properly maintained fire alarm? Fire alarm systems that are not tested and inspected on a regular basis may have malfunctioning or defective components that can render them noncompliant according to codes and regulations set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Some examples of deficiencies that can result from failure to maintain a fire alarm include but are not limited to:
- Old or expired backup batteries can cause fire alarms to operate improperly or fail, preventing equipment from powering up after a power outage. Batteries should be tested and replaced, if necessary, each year.
- Smoke alarms that are not tested regularly may fail to operate or fall outside of their specified sensitivity range. Smoke alarms must be tested for proper operation annually. Smoke sensitivity tests are mandated by code, and must be tested one year after installation, then again two years after the first test and every two or five years after that, depending on your local authority having jurisdiction.
- Manual alarm boxes, commonly referred to as pull stations, must be tested on an annual basis to assure proper functionality. As a mechanical device, they are subject to wear and tear over time which can lead to a failure to initiate an alarm when a fire occurs.
If inspected right now, would your fire alarm system function as designed, be code compliant, and meet local regulations and requirements? If you’re not sure, click here and consider working with one of Cintas’ trained fire protection specialists to conduct a fire alarm system evaluation and help you establish an inspection program to avoid fines, injuries and lawsuits.