A fire alarm is a vitally important part of nearly any building. As such, it is important that fire alarm system maintenance is a priority for any business owner, building superintendent or facility manager. The fire alarm provides 24-hour a day protection for building occupants, contents and visitors. Unfortunately, since the alarm is seldom used, problems are quite often overlooked until there is a need for the alarm. Because of this, the best way to ensure the alarm is properly maintained is by creating and utilizing a fire alarm maintenance checklist as outlined by NFPA, ULC, Ontario Fire Code and CSA.
Know Your Type of Alarm
Before you can put together a fire alarm maintenance checklist, you need to know as much as possible about the particular alarm installed in your building or facility. The optimal way to determine the maintenance requirements of your alarm system is to have a certified fire protection provider prepare a full audit of your equipment and help you create the fire alarm maintenance schedule that best suits your needs.
Common Problems With Fire Alarms
The problems that can occur with a fire alarm will vary wildly from one system to another. Find out where your power source is located and also determine if your back-up batteries to the fire panel are being maintained in case of a power outage. These are common problems that may creep up. Another problem that can occur is when an alarm is located in a dusty, smoky or greasy area. In these instances, pollutants in the air can get in the alarm housing and cause the alarm to falter.
Regular Maintenance of Fire Alarms
Part of your fire alarm maintenance checklist will include regularly testing the fire alarm to make certain it is operating correctly. Many alarms have a test button that lets you know if the sound system is working properly. Consider a live testing where you trip the alarm and allow the building occupants the chance to practice escape from the building. This type of fire drill is laid out in the Ontario Fire Code, Section 2.8.3.
Know When to Repair & Replace Your Fire Alarm
A fire alarm maintenance checklist will include all areas of the alarm system. You will check out different devices each month to ensure your fire alarm system is in good working condition. If you encounter a defective piece of equipment during that inspection, make sure to have your service company make the necessary repairs.
Get started on the road to fire safety with our downloadable smoke alarm maintenance template: