What Is a Fire Alarm System?
A Fire Alarm System is a system designed to detect smoke or fire in a building. It will also alert occupants of the building to evacuate the building and to notify the fire department in the event of an emergency.
Does my Fire Alarm System need to be inspected and tested? Why?
Yes, all Fire Alarm Systems need to be tested annually. NFPA 72 (National Fire Protection Association) is the code that governs Fire Alarm Systems in the United States. It requires annual testing of your Fire Alarm System. This is the guide that your local Fire Marshall and Insurance Company goes by. It references all of the standards of testing.
Additionally, a Fire Alarm System is a collection of electronic components that sits in your building 24 hours, a day 7 days a week. The only sure way to ensure all of the electronic devices are working properly is to inspect and test the system.
What is done during an annual Fire Alarm Inspection?
A state licensed technician will arrive on site to visually and manually inspect ALL smoke detectors, pull stations, horn and strobe devices, fire panel and any other parts associated with the fire alarm system. Batteries are also load testes and communication with the monitoring service (if present) is verified.
Note: If a sprinkler system is present a separate inspection is required.
Can I test my own system?
In Montana, a state license is required to perform Fire Alarm testing in all commercial or public buildings. Most insurance companies require documentation from a licensed or certified company.
What are the possible consequences of not testing or maintaining your Fire Alarm system?
Importantly, loss of life or injury. Increased damage to your property if a fire goes undetected. Damages could also include the possibility of a fire or shutdown by the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction/Fire Marshall) for not complying with current fire code NFPA 72.
In some instances insurance companies may also deny claims due to failure to test or maintain the fire alarm system.
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