Fire alarm systems are expected to help protect people, property, and assets. But you can’t tell if they’re fully operational just by looking at them. As with any other system, electronics and other components can degrade over time and compromise the system’s operation. Dust, dirt, and other contaminants can cause problems with smoke detectors. Such things as vandalism, remodeling, and improper maintenance procedures can also damage fire protection equipment. The good news is that with proper testing, inspection, and maintenance you can keep your fire alarm system at optimum operating performance. In addition to ensuring protection, keeping your system in good condition reduces expenses by preventing unbudgeted emergency repairs and costly false alarms.
Where to start. Knowing the system’s age and maintenance history helps you determine the steps you must take to maintain its operational readiness. Systems under five years old should require little effort to maintain. Periodic system testing and inspection by the qualified specialists at SDS Security can detect many such problems.
Systems between five and ten years old may experience component breakdown caused by harsh, but normal, environmental factors. Voltage fluctuations, temperature, and humidity may cause system failure or nuisance alarm problems.
Systems between ten and fifteen years old can still provide appropriate life-safety response. However, systems in this category need close attention, even with proper maintenance procedures in place. If the system has had a history of poor maintenance or none at all, it’s likely that failure of components and improper monitoring of system components will occur.
Systems approaching 20 years of age may be beyond their technological life expectancy. The system may continue to work satisfactorily if properly maintained, but you need testing and inspection by trained specialists to ensure proper system response will occur in an emergency.
The steps. The maintenance activities for fire alarm systems can be summed up in five steps.
Test and calibrate alarm sensors, such as flame and smoke detectors, per manufacturer specifications. This requires knowing about the different sensors—and their testing requirements, failure modes, and re-installation requirements.
Simulate inputs and test the annunciators. This requires specific knowledge of the system under test.
Set sensitivity. This requires an understanding of the particular system, the specific application, and fire detection theory.
Coordinate with fire department to test the input to their system.
Check the battery for corrosion and expiration date, then take appropriate action, if necessary.
Call us at (972) 612-0938 to walk you through the process or have a fire licensed technician test your system for safety.