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Regular commercial fire alarm testing is a crucial step in keeping critical infrastructure, employees, and visitors safe.

Just running periodic fire drills isn’t enough. While fire drills shouldn’t be neglected, routine fire alarm testing is required to make sure that your entire system is still working properly.

 

The Importance Of Testing Your Fire Alarms

Fire alarms save lives, but only when they are working as intended.

That’s why experts recommend changing the batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year and conducting monthly tests on top of that. But that’s for home use, where your fire alarm system consists of a couple of smoke detectors and possibly a carbon monoxide detector.

Commercial fire alarm systems are a different story.

For those who often find themselves inside your business, they may only see the occasional siren with flashing lights scattered throughout the facility along with periodic handles that can be pulled to trigger the lights and loud noises.

But the truth is that modern commercial fire alarm systems are far more complex than that.

 

It’s All Connected

Technology has changed rapidly over the years, and several advancements have brought fire alarm systems to the cutting edge of what’s possible.

Further, as technology improves, local codes get updated to require businesses to take advantage of the new life-saving abilities. This ensures that even older buildings have a very sophisticated and modern fire alarm system.

Modern fire alarm systems are not self-contained. They don’t simply make loud noises to notify anyone inside that they must exit the building, or release water and chemicals in an effort to combat the flames.

The new fire alarms are integrated with the other systems included on the property, like your access control, security, gate access, and monitoring stations. This all works together to form what’s known as a life safety system.

What exactly happens during an emergency depends on the systems you have installed and the type of facility you are running.

fire exit sign

One possible scenario is that the fire alarm system triggers the sounders, alerting individuals inside the building that they need to evacuate. At the same time, the fire alarm triggers the access control system to unlock all of the doors and sends an alert to notify the authorities and emergency responders. This type of system is known as a Fail Safe system.

The goal of a Fail Safe system is to get as many people outside of the building as possible, and is often found in buildings that have a large number of people.

On the other end of the spectrum are Fail Secure systems. These are for buildings and facilities where unauthorized people are not allowed, and the number of people on-site is limited. In this case, when the fire alarm is triggered, the system would lock down all of the doors. There will still be ways for individuals who are inside the building to be able to exit and get to safety, but free egress would not be allowed.

Because of how intricate the network of systems can be, it’s important to conduct regular testing of your fire alarm system to make sure everything is in working order.

 

How Often Should You Test Your Fire Alarm

You want to test your fire alarm system often, so that you can identify any issues before an actual emergency takes place. But you don’t want to test too frequently either, to the point where it becomes a burden to the business and takes away from productivity.

That’s why we always suggest to our clients that the fire alarm system should be tested either annually or biannually. This will ensure that your system continues to work like it is brand new and allows for your alarm to be recertified.

These annual tests are also a great opportunity to conduct a fire drill, so that employees who work inside the building can learn what is expected of them during an actual emergency.

 

fire hydrant hanging on blue wall

Don’t Neglect Your Life Safety System

Having a fire alarm and life safety system that is up to code and in proper working order can be the difference between life and death during an emergency. It is important for you to work with a trusted professional who knows what is needed, and how your fire alarm system works in tandem with all of your other systems during an emergency.

At Insyte, we’ve been trusted by businesses throughout the Central Florida area to help them design, install, and maintain not only their fire alarm systems, but their security systems, access control, gate access, and more.

Contact us today so we can get to work for you.