How Often Should I Be Testing My Fire Alarm?

Nov 05, 2019

Fire Alarm Testing

Whether your fire alarm is protecting your home or a commercial-sized facility, regular testing of your fire alarm system is critical to ensure it is working correctly. This test ensures that everyone occupying the home or office understands what to do when the fire alarm sounds.

Residential Fire Alarm Testing

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that homeowners test their smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for keeping smoke alarms clean and maintained, so they work correctly.
Smoke alarm batteries should be replaced every year unless the battery chirps – then the battery should be replaced right away. If your smoke alarm has a non-replaceable 10-year battery and you receive a warning that the battery is low, you need to replace the entire smoke alarm.

Most jurisdictions set their testing requirements following the codes and standards set by the NFPA

Commercial Fire Alarm Testing

Fire alarm testing requirements for business owners will be determined by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) in the area where your business is located. The AHJ is the organization, office, or individual responsible for enforcing fire codes in your area.
The AHJ may be the county. It may be the city. It may be an engineer. There can be many differences between AHJs in how they enforce codes and what codes are applied, so testing requirements for your fire alarm system must be set and verified by them.
Most jurisdictions set their testing requirements following the codes and standards set by the NFPA - NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®.
You will most likely be required to test your fire alarm system yearly. However, you may be required to check more frequently, depending on the type of business you run and where it is located.
You also will likely be required to have visual inspections done for all your fire alarm components. Again, these inspections may be necessary only annually or semiannually, or as frequently as weekly or monthly.

Who can test a fire alarm?

Fire alarm testers must be certified by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) or licensed by the state.
At FSS Technologies, our fire alarm system designers and installers are NICET certified, and we understand the nuances of installing, testing, and inspecting fire alarms in most jurisdictions. Contact us for a free consultation.

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