FAQs About Fire Alarm Inspections

Mar 18, 2018

There's a lot of information about fire alarm inspections out there, so where do you know where to begin?  We spoke with our team to find out what questions they were asked the most by our customers. 

What is a fire alarm inspection?
Fire alarm systems are life safety systems, and as such they require a full functional and visual check of the fire protection system components, control panel, and system-wide communications.  Alarm tests or fire alarm inspections are mandated by NFPA 72, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, and can also be a requirement of your local or state ordinances and codes.  Inspections are an annual requirement for most facilities.  Depending on the building classification of your business, some systems could be required to have their fire system tested on a quarterly or semiannually basis. 

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Why do I need to have a fire alarm inspection?
An annual fire security inspection can make sure the alarm system is in proper working order.  The best time to see if there is an issue with the system is when the inspection is being completed.   Also, the National Fire Protection Association requires that a third party fire inspector conduct a test of the system at least once annually.  Depending on your specific building code and occupancy type, you may have to be tested multiple times per year.
 
How much does a fire alarm inspection cost?
The cost of a fire alarm inspection can vary depending on how large or small the fire safety system is.  The typical cost for an inspection is based on the number of devices that are on the system, with most companies averaging five minutes per device.  At minimum, you should expect an expense of around $200/year to have a licensed technician/firm visit your facility and test the system.  This is a requirement for every business. Most firms will first send someone to look at the system, get a count of the devices on the system, and then give you a quote.  If you find that your estimated cost is in excess of $200, you may want to get a quote from another licensed firm. 
 
How long does a fire alarm inspection take?
A inspection can range anywhere from 1 hour to a few days depending on the number of devices and complexity of the fire alarm system.  If you have a large facility, the sale person should give you an idea of how long it will take to complete the inspection.  Yes, it is a bit inconvenient to have a technician walking through and testing all the devices, but the time may save someone's life.  Typically, our technicians are thorough, unrushed and efficient. 
 
Will the fire system inspection disrupt our business?
Our team will work with you to ensure the fire alarm inspection does not disrupt your business.  We will coordinate scheduling that best suits your needs.  The only portion of the testing that will disrupt your business is the notification test, which is when the noise and flashing is tested.  This is usually just a visual test; the technicians will walk through the facility to ensure that all devices are operating correctly.  Testing the smoke detectors, manual pull stations, and other devices are quiet tasks, and are minimally disruptive.
 
Additional Information about testing.
Remember that the inspection cost most likely does not include any repairs or batteries for your system.  Typically, batteries are replaced once every three years.  If your firm is replacing them more often, be sure to question why.  We know it's a hassle and costs money to have these systems inspected. Please understand that if you have a fire and your system has not been tested or someone is injured, the liability will fall on you.  Don't be one of those building owners that thinks it won't happen to them. 
 
Let the fire alarm contractors at FSS Technologies help you with your fire alarm inspection.  Call today to schedule an appointment.  

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