The regulations surrounding fire alarms may seem intimidating, but there’s no way around them. It’s imperative – your building has to pass a fire alarm inspection.
This isn’t just about the possibility of being penalized by a regulator. A system that’s not in working order could allow a fire to completely gut your building. This could also mean people losing their lives.
Here are 4 common reasons fire alarm inspections fail (and how to avoid them!).
1. Fire Alarms Don’t Work
If a fire alarm in a corridor fails to operate properly, then people are in severe danger. During a fire, your number one priority is the safety of people. They need to know to evacuate.
Whether it’s the cabling that’s faulty or the alarm device itself, you need to repair your fire alarms to make sure they work.
It’s important you never fall into the trap of thinking that it’s ok to leave a broken fire alarm “as is.” Just because that particular alarm is located in a space people don’t regularly go (like a basement) doesn’t mean that it isn’t important. The fire inspector will not be very forgiving under these circumstances.
Maintenance and regular testing can help you make sure that all alarms on all floors are working. Most manufacturers recommend performing a full annual test and inspection after the initial installation and acceptance of the device. As a side note, regular fire drills can ensure that people know how to respond if a real fire starts.
2. Broken Emergency Lights
To highlight the quickest route to an exit, you need emergency lights.
If your emergency lights don’t work, people could end up wandering around in smoke as they search for a way out. This time spent looking for an exit means inhaling greater and greater quantities of damaging smoke that can damage their lungs irreparably.
Exit signs and other emergency lights must be unobstructed from view and always remain in working order. Otherwise, you’ll face fines and potential disaster in the worst circumstances.
3. Escape Routes and Exits Are Obstructed
You probably already know that you must ensure that all life safety equipment and exits remain unobstructed. But you should also know that it’s crucial for all routes to these exists to remain unobstructed too.
To avoid a failed fire alarm inspection, don’t let trash pile up by doors and keep furniture out of all corridors leading to escape routes and exits. Additionally, make sure that all external doors can be opened easily. You’ll have to fix them if they can’t.
These might not seem like serious issues, but every second counts during a fire. You don’t want to waste precious time moving furniture or debris out of the way!
4. There’s No Number on Your Building
How will the fire department find you if there’s nothing displayed to distinguish which building is yours?
If your street number is not clearly visible (and there’s no smoke curling out of your property), the firefighters who arrive on scene will have no idea which building to rush into.
Don’t underestimate the value of ensuring that there are prominent and well-kept signs which show the number and name (if relevant) of your building.
Fire Sprinklers Functioning Properly
It’s not part of your fire alarm system per se, but a sprinkler system is another crucial fire safety device that will help save you if a fire breaks out. Fire sprinklers will get to work faster than a fire department brigade if the worst happens.
If you have fire sprinkler systems (and sadly, not all buildings do, even famous high-rises), they need to function 100% of the time to be effective. If you don’t have a fire sprinkler system in place, consider having one installed.
Get Ready for Your Fire Alarm Inspection
If you’re not sure if your fire alarm system is truly in working order – or if there’s even an inkling of doubt in your mind – call us for a fire alarm inspection.
We’ll service your entire system to ensure it meets all required codes and fire inspector regulations. Most importantly, a fire alarm inspection will help keep you, your building, and the people who work in it safe at all times.