Fire alarms usually degrade in quality over time. A fire alarm’s performance can also be compromised by dust, dirt, or vandalism. If you’re remodeling your space, fire alarms can be compromised by debris and accidents.
So, inspection, testing, and maintenance can help you overcome these issues and guarantee that your fire alarm system works well.
How a Fire Alarm System Degrades Over Time
If your fire alarm system is under five years, it won’t really require too much maintenance. If it malfunctions, it’s most likely due to poor installation or voltage transients. The most common issues that fire alarm systems this old encounter are problems caused by environmental factors. For instance, humidity, temperature, and voltage fluctuations can create false alarms.
If your system is older than ten years but younger than 15, it can still offer reliable protection if it was maintained well. However, if it wasn’t taken care of all those years, the system will likely malfunction at any time.
Lastly, a system that is about 20 years old is risky and might be reaching the end of its usefulness. If it was properly maintained, it might have a couple more years left; if not, it’ll likely be useless soon.
How to Maintain a Fire Alarm System
Maintaining a fire alarm system is generally easy, especially once you’ve gotten in the habit of doing it. Here are some things you should not forget:
- Regularly check that the system is working fine. If you find any faults and failures, write them down and fix them promptly.
- If your system has more than 13 zones, you need to test more than one zone every week.
- Test one detector call point and smoke and flame detectors every week. Don’t forget to calibrate alarm sensors.
- Assess that the automatic release of fire doors is properly working. Also, check for any disconnection of alarm sounders and transmission signals per week.
- Record a weekly report of issues and system defects, so you can inform the appropriate person that fixes the issues.
- Check alarm functions, control equipment, alarm sounders, and links to independent monitoring companies every quarter.
- Examine batteries and connections every quarter, and make sure that there are no obstructions around detectors.
- Inspect cable fittings and equipment to ensure that they are secure, protected, and undamaged every year.
- Guarantee that a competent individual reviews your system every year to ensure that quarterly maintenance is carried out and detectors are operating well.
- Acquire a certificate of testing once all inspections and corrections detailed above have been made.
The National Fire Protection Association has a National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code that serves as a guideline for installing, maintaining, and testing fire alarm systems. Local authorities and insurance companies also publish recommended codes for life safety systems.
Remember that standards are usually set for minimum fire alarm maintenance and safety. You may want to take stringent measures, depending on the conditions your fire alarm system operates. Be sure to implement proper care on your system to ensure it functions properly for many years to come.
Legacy Fire Services LLC, is a fire protection company built on a foundation of traditional trade-proven practices coupled with a progressive approach to cost-saving designs and utilization of innovative new products available in the ever-changing fire protection industry. We specialize in consultation, design, installation, service, and inspection of overhead fire protection systems and fire extinguishers. Call us at 775-432-2336 for inspections and maintenance!