Testing your Fire Alarms — The Right Way
Posted On: May 21, 2015

The key to fire prevention measures is the installment of fire alarms in and around your home. What’s even more crucial is ensuring that they are functioning properly regularly. If a fire does erupt in a certain area of the home, the only thing that’s protecting those inside is the alarm going off.

A survey conducted by the Firefighter Association revealed that the most common cause of fire related injury, apart from the fire itself, are faulty alarm systems that failed to alert the residents. Given that fire alarms are legally required, its maintenance and upkeep should be as well. Homeowners as well as building managers must ensure the proper functioning of fire sensors, alarms, and the entire notification system they are connected to, in order to ensure the safety of all residents, and themselves from a lawsuit.

The Process of Testing Fire Alarms

The method of testing whether fire safety measures are working correctly is quite simple as well as incredibly important. Should a fire break out, not only does it pose significant threat to the structure of a building but also fatal risk to the lives of all, both in and around the building.

The first step involved is to ensure that every heat and smoke detector is powered adequately. If these detectors operate on batteries, they must be changed on a regular basis because they remain switched on 24/7. If they are connected to an electrical panel, it too must be tested to ensure that power is being supplied. This is perhaps the most obvious step, but as mentioned above the primary causes of injuries and fatalities are dead batteries in safety systems.

The second step in alarm testing is to ensure that all alarms and speakers connected to the detectors are functioning as well. Some alarm systems notify via speakers installed in the common area, while other systems are connected to ringing bells. The notification setting can be traditional fire alarm sound or they can simply be a bell simulation, the important part is that they must be functioning.

These very speakers are used by firefighters to communicate with the residents who are trapped inside. They provide guidelines on how to survive and prevent the fire from spreading further. These speakers are relatively new and have been launched in the market within the past few years. They have been proven most useful in large building as well as residential units.

Finally, the third step involves the main panel, on which the entire fire safety system is mapped. This particular panel is responsible for pinpointing the exact location of a fire when it erupts. If the alarm goes off in a specific area of the building and the panel fails to show where, the fire could spread to 10 more rooms before the firefighters manage to stop it. This is the precise reason why it is extremely important to ensure the proper working of the main panel. Monthly checks must be performed in order to do so.

While conducting this overall testing process, consider scheduling a mandatory simulation or fire drill for all the residents of the building. This will make sure all the fire escape routes are known by all those concerned.


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Contact Info
San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association
8925 IH 10 West
San Antonio, TX 78251
(210) 699-9400

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