Essential Fire Alarm Maintenance ProceduresElyse Aufmann
Every building should have some kind of fire alarm system in place, whether it’s a suburban house, downtown apartment, or everyday work environment. However, simply having the alarm system isn’t the end of fire prevention. In fact, it’s only the beginning. There are essential fire alarm maintenance procedures that need to be followed regularly to ensure a safe environment for all.
Check Alarms Daily
This is something plenty of people don’t do, but it’s an important step in proper fire alarm maintenance. On a daily basis, preferably early on in the day, you should test the alarms to make sure they are working correctly.
Have the alarm’s owner manual with you so you can keep track of each and every issue you need to be looking out for. Make sure emergency lights are properly working on your equipment, as well as any sound-emitting alarms.
If you run into issues, make a note of it and inform the right person to make the proper adjustments.
Check Alarm Call Points Weekly
Any and all alarm call points should be checked regularly. Call points are integral to a functioning fire alarm system. Instead of waiting for an alarm system to kick in, or in the case of an alarm not properly working, a manual call point can help. Whether you install a button, switch, or lever, you need to have manual call points.
The specific number of call points you should have depends on the size of the building and number of rooms within. You don’t necessarily have to check all of them weekly, but you should be checking at least one call point on a weekly basis. Preferably, you should be checking a different call point each week.
Check Emergency Fire Exits Weekly
On a weekly basis, you should check your fire exits to make sure the automatic release is working properly. Record and deal with any issues promptly because these emergency doors are vital to fire safety. If a fire occurs, you’ll have to get out of the building safely, and those exits help in the case of normal exits becoming obstructed or dangerous.
You should also make sure that those designated fire doors are unimpeded at all times, every single day. If the time comes where those doors need to be used, it’s very important for the pathway there to be as safe and secure as you can make it.
Check and Replace Batteries Regularly
This is something that can be monitored monthly or quarterly, but it should be done multiple times throughout the year. Check the batteries in all the alarms to make sure they are working and clean off any corrosion. Don’t forget to make sure you’re taking proper safety precautions if you have to remove and clean any mess caused by corrosion from batteries.
It’s a smart idea to have a pack of new batteries on standby. That way, when it comes time to replace the batteries, you don’t have to make a trip to the store to fix the issue. These steps may feel like a chore, but you can make it easier on yourself while still optimizing fire safety in your building.
Don’t Forget to Check Connecting Cables during your Fire Alarm Maintenance
When you’re inspecting your batteries, be sure to check any relevant cables as well. Check for and make note of any damages on or around the cord, as well as loose connections or any other issues you discover.
This is important because if the connecting cables aren’t working properly, it can affect any number of necessary steps, such as contacting authorities or properly warning people of a fire in the building.
The functions of a fire alarm system extend beyond simply letting people in the vicinity know. The system also has to warn the fire department immediately so you don’t have to.
Clean Alarms Regularly
After several months, check each alarm to make sure they are not covered in dust or other obtrusive materials. If there are obstructions around the alarm, lightly clean the device and the surrounding area with a duster. It’s important to do this lightly because you want to avoid accidentally damaging the equipment. You don’t want to accidentally knock a wire loose in or around the alarm. If your alarm gets extremely dirty after several months, you should monitor and clean it on a more regular basis.
Test Connection to Fire Department
Annually, or even quarterly if possible, test the connection from your fire alarms to the fire department. You obviously need to plan ahead and coordinate a schedule with the local fire department. This is vital to your alarm system because when a fire emergency occurs in your building, you need to know right away and so do the fire experts, who can arrive and help keep you safe.
Have Your Alarm System Reviewed and Certified Annually
You should have an expert who can review and certify your fire alarm system visit at least once a year. Have them test not only whether the alarm is emitting lights or sounds, but the more technical aspects as well. Things like cables and other related equipment should be observed and certified to guarantee a proper alarm system is in place.
Keep Track of Any Issues on your Fire Alarm Maintenance
This protocol is constant through all maintenance checks—you need to keep track of any issues that arise during your inspection. Take thorough notes and pictures, if necessary, then direct those issues to the designated person who can take care of it. Keeping a log of problems is also great for noting any consistent issues that arise from each inspection. That way, you can know what to change about your regular routine to ensure proper fire prevention.
By following the essential fire alarm maintenance procedures, you can keep your work environment safe for everybody. It’s more responsibility than many people expect it to be, but these precautions are necessary for all fire systems. If you’re unsure of the proper fire prevention equipment to use in your building, a list of commercial fire alarm system devices can span many different designs and functions to keep you safe.