Is testing your fire alarm system incorrectly putting you, your tenants, and your commercial building in danger? Fire alarm systems are essential – and challenging to install and maintain – components of commercial buildings. These systems are responsible for notifying building occupants and the appropriate authorities during a fire. Testing them regularly is essential to guarantee that they will function properly when it matters. It is also vital for proper testing for property managers to be aware of when and how the test will take place and prepare backup measures if a real emergency occurs while the test is being conducted.
It is necessary to put the account “on the test” with the central monitoring station before performing any fire alarm or sprinkler test. Because of this, the fire department and any other first responders who might be called won’t be sent to an alarm that doesn’t pose a threat. False alarms result in a significant waste of resources for emergency services agencies. Building owners may be susceptible to fines if the personnel is dispatched to a facility that is not in danger.
It should be no surprise that government jurisdictions have penalized individuals and organizations that mistakenly inform first responders of a fire. In 2012, there were over two million false alarm calls. Therefore, this number alone should have prompted such a decision.
While building owners and managers should do everything in their power to reduce the number of false alarms, they should also be conscientious about when and how they place a fire alarm into “on test” status, either themselves or through a contractor who is responsible for the test. This is because setting the alarm into “on test” status can have serious consequences. It would help if you took extra precautions to ensure that no unauthorized individuals activate this mode. Doing so causes the monitoring station to disregard all “alarm, trouble, and supervisory” signals from the property for a predetermined amount of time and prevents it from sending help to the location.
Even though the system is being tested, the fire alarm will continue to ring to tell inhabitants about a fire; however, it will not correctly notify first responders. Because of this, it is of the utmost need to make preparations for alternative means that broadcast an announcement to the outside world whenever testing is carried out.
Suppose anyone can test the system without prior knowledge. In that case, this creates the possibility that unauthorized contractors or untrained staff could disable the life safety system, which would ultimately put everyone in the building in danger and result in a massive liability if any emergency occurred. And in other circumstances, placing a system “on the test” could provide somebody the opportunity to purposefully harm property, such as by starting fires or destroying sprinkler heads to bring about flooding.
Testing your fire alarm system is extremely important to the safety of your building. This testing should follow stringent regulations regarding who carries it out when finished and what precautions are in place to protect people and property in an emergency. In addition, the operation should never be started before contacting the building owner and any other key management staff.
Brazas Fire can assist you if the process of testing your fire alarms is currently disorganized or appears to be confusing. We are more than delighted to describe the appropriate procedures and how we may ensure that testing and maintenance are always carried out appropriately. Brazas Fire can be reached at 505-889-8999.