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Fire Alarm Testing Requirements

Regardless of which industry you’re in, your facility must have a fire alarm system. It will help to warn your building occupants of potential fire hazards, and to protect your employees, products, and property from harm.

However, simply installing fire alarms isn’t enough. Your alarms must also be inspected and tested on a regular basis (and following any fire alarm system upgrades), ensuring they’ll work properly in the event of an emergency. Let’s take a look at what those fire alarm inspection and testing requirements look like.

How Often Should Fire Alarms Be Inspected and Tested?

Regular fire alarm inspections and tests are important in maintaining the highest levels of safety and protection possible for your facility. Although each system’s inspection and testing schedules can vary based on type, local jurisdiction, and the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has established some general scheduling guidelines.

According to NFPA standards, your fire alarm systems need to be thoroughly inspected and tested weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually every five years, and every 10 years. While many of these inspections and tests can be completed in-house by staff trained in fire safety, some of them do require a licensed fire protection technician to come in. We’ll break down who can do what below:

  • In-house, trained staff: weekly, monthly, quarterly
  • Licensed fire protection technician: semi-annually, annually, every five years, every 10 years

Fire Alarm Inspection and Testing Requirements

After you’ve figured out your inspection and testing schedule, it’s important to have a checklist of what these inspections and tests entail. While you may already be familiar with some of these fire alarm system basics, below is an overview of fire alarm inspection requirements and fire alarm testing requirements, as established by the NFPA.

Fire Alarm Inspection Requirements

Here is a checklist of all fire alarm components that your trained staff needs to visually inspect on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis.

Weekly Fire Alarm Inspection Requirements

  • Inspect control equipment, including: fuses, interfaced equipment, lamps and LEDs, main power supply, and control unit trouble signals.

Monthly Fire Alarm Inspection Requirements

  • Inspect batteries for any corrosion or leakage.
  • Inspect digital alarm communicator receiver (DACR).
  • Inspect CO2 detectors.

Quarterly Fire Alarm Inspection Requirements

  • Inspect supervisory signaling devices.
  • Inspect waterflow devices.
  • Inspect radiant energy fire detectors (if applicable).

Fire Alarm Testing Requirements

Apart from inspections, the following fire alarm system components should be tested by your trained staff weekly, monthly, and quarterly.

Weekly Fire Alarm Testing Requirements

  • Test batteries in public fire alarm reporting systems.
  • Test engine-driven generator in public fire alarm reporting systems.

Monthly Fire Alarm Testing Requirements

  • Test batteries in fire alarm systems.
    • For lead-acid batteries, perform a 30-minute discharge test and a load voltage test.
    • For sealed lead-acid batteries, perform a charger test, 30-minute discharge test, and a load voltage test.
  • Test supervising signaling devices and receivers, such as:
    • Digital alarm communication receiver (DACR)
    • Digital alarm radio receiver (DARR)
    • Two-way FR multiplex
    • Radio alarm supervising station receiver (RASSR)
    • Radio alarm repeater station receiver (RARSR)

Quarterly Fire Alarm Testing Requirements

  • Test batteries in central station facilities with tests that are dependent on battery material
    • Nickel-cadmium: charger test, load voltage test
    • Sealed lead-acid: charger test, 2-hour discharge test, load voltage test
  • Test initiating and supervisory signaling devices.
  • Test off-premises transmission equipment.

Contact a Licensed Fire Protection Technician for Fire Alarm Inspection and Testing Services

For any annual, semi-annual, five-year, or 10-year fire alarm inspections and tests, contact a licensed fire protection technician. They’ll have a comprehensive checklist of everything needing maintenance to ensure your people, property, and products are protected for years to come.

Been some time since your facility has tested your fire alarms? Vanguard Fire & Security Systems can help! Give our team a call or contact us today for support from our experts.

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Fire Protection Tips for Industrial Buildings

If you work in an industrial environment, you may be aware that your facility faces some unique fire hazards. The industrial marketplace involves some of the most dangerous, high-risk operations in the world — not to mention some of the most expensive assets to replace.

All of this goes without saying that it’s important to sufficiently protect your facility from those fire hazards. But where do you start? We’ll look at some basic fire protection tips for industrial buildings below.

Which Industrial Buildings & Applications Require Specialized Fire Protection Systems?

There are various types of industrial buildings and applications, all with unique products and operations. While some require very strict fire prevention measures, others require unique solutions for extinguishment. Some of the most high-risk and/or sensitive industrial applications include:

  • Data centers
  • Telecommunications facilities
  • Power plants and fuel storage facilities
  • Battery energy storage systems (BESS)
  • Museums and art galleries
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Warehouses

This is by no means an exhaustive list of industrial buildings with unique fire hazards, but it does give a clearer picture of the types of sensitive materials and high-risk operations that require amplified protection plans.

What Unique Fire Hazards Do Industrial Buildings Face?

The type of fire hazards that industrial buildings face is heavily dependent on each one’s specific application. Some industrial buildings are most concerned with protecting the products housed within them (e.g. data centers protecting computer systems from fire damage, but also water damage from extinguishing efforts). Others are most concerned with safely managing housed materials that are highly flammable or explosive in nature (e.g. battery energy storage systems with lithium-ion batteries).

5 Fire Protection Tips for Industrial Buildings

So what can you do to best protect your industrial building from fires? Although there are some unique steps you should take depending on your specific application, there are a few basic recommendations that all industrial facilities should be aware of.

1. Design Your Fire Protection System with Adherence to NFPA Standards

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is an international nonprofit organization that’s committed to reducing property damage, economic loss, injury, and death due to fire hazards. The association has established an extensive list of codes and standards that provide guidance on how to best prevent and respond to fire hazards in the workplace — and they even have a special set of standards and trainings for fire protection in industrial buildings.

By understanding NFPA standards and designing your fire protection system in accordance with them, your building and all those within it will be better protected against fires. If your team doesn’t have the time or resources to research and implement those standards, contact a local fire protection specialist. They’ll guide you through the process, making sure you’re checking all the boxes you need to build a safer facility.

2. Understand Clean Agents & Which May Be Best for Your Application

Industrial fires can’t always be extinguished with basic, water-based fire suppression systems. Instead, they require a different approach: clean agents. A clean agent is any type of fire extinguishing agent that’s electrically non-conductive, volatile, or gaseous, and that doesn’t leave a residue upon evaporation. It uses an inert gas or chemical that’s stored in a container until released when trying to extinguish a fire.

There are a number of clean agents out there, but depending on your application, you may find that one would be more suitable for your facility than the others. Three of the most common clean agents include:

  • FM-200 – A non-toxic, colorless gas that uses heat absorption to extinguish fires and leaves no residue.
  • INERGEN – A combination of three inert gasses (nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide) to lower the oxygen content in a room below the level that supports combustion, while still allowing people to breathe.
  • Novec 1230 – Another non-toxic, colorless agent that extinguishes fires without leaving residue and disrupting high-value assets.

The main consideration here is to do your research into which clean agent is best for your facility, the materials that are stored there, and the people who work there.

3. Stay Committed to Regular Inspection, Testing & Maintenance Duties

No fire protection plan is complete without a plan for ongoing inspections, testing, and maintenance. So once you’ve invested in the fire protection tools and technologies you need to keep your assets safe, you must commit to putting in the work to keep them functioning well.

NFPA offers various standards related to inspection, testing, and maintenance protocols. You’ll find that some system components need to be inspected or tested every day, while others may only need to be tested every 5 years.

There are many components (main drains, fire sprinklers, fire alarms, etc.) that require different levels of attention — and while you can definitely manage that on your own, you may find it easier to contact a professional that can help keep track of and carry out those inspection, testing, and maintenance tasks for you.

4. Invest In a Comprehensive, Real-Time Monitoring System

A central station monitoring system can be integrated with each of your fire protection systems to ensure safety measures are taken promptly after one of them emits a signal. By monitoring your system constantly for fire alarm signals, as well as signals of sprinkler or electrical malfunction, they provide comprehensive, real-time monitoring 24/7, 365 days per year.

Another bonus? Upon receiving a signal, a central station monitoring system will also immediately prompt dispatch calls to your local fire department, a designated team of response personnel, and your alarm dealer. It takes care of much of the surveillance and drastically minimizes your response time, helping you put out dangerous fires quickly.

5. Train Employees on Effective Fire Prevention & Response

It’s not enough for just one person to know the fire hazards in your industrial workplace; your whole team must also be aware of them. Fire safety training aims to educate your employees of those hazards and how to best avoid them. Have a fire prevention expert visit your facility one or more times per year to make sure best prevention practices are consistently communicated to all employees.

And while it’s important to do your best to prevent fire emergencies in the first place, it’s also critical that your employees know how to respond in case a fire does happen. Things like hands-on fire extinguisher training and a thorough evacuation plan should all be implemented to prepare your team for a calm, safe, and efficient response.

Industrial buildings can pose special fire risks, which means they usually require special fire protection systems. If you’re concerned that your facility isn’t outfitted with the adequate fire protection systems it needs to keep your property, products, and people safe, contact our experts at Vanguard Fire & Security Systems. We’ll listen to your needs, then install and maintain a solution that will best protect your assets in unforeseen emergencies.


Fire Safety Tools-Small Investment of Saving Lives

Fire extinguishers for home can be small yet one of the most important parts of your fire safety plan. If used correctly at the right time the fire extinguishers can save property and lives. With the help of a fire extinguisher, you can put out or suppress a small fire before it goes out of hand. But there are certain factors that you need to consider before purchasing a fire extinguisher for the car. Instead of thinking about fire extinguishers price you need to consider various other factors like purchasing smoke detectors and devising a fire evacuation plan. In the following section of this article, we will be talking about the factors that you need to consider before you purchase fire fighting equipment.

Types of Fire

There are different types of fire safety tools available at the market. You need to consider the type of fire you will be extinguishing with it before purchasing The Fire extinguisher for home. Check the declaration printed on the fire extinguishers for car to understand which kind of fire it can put out effectively. Install the car fire extinguishers cleverly so that you can promptly attack the Fire. Apart from that, you also need to check the effectiveness level of the fire extinguisher before purchasing one. For example, fire fighting equipment that comes with a 3 A rating is more effective than the ones that come with a 2 A rating. From that, you can easily understand that the fire safety tools that has a higher numeric rating is more effective than the ones with the lower rating.

How many fire extinguishers for home should you buy?

You should purchase at least one Fire extinguisher for your kitchen. The modern household kitchen is the most vulnerable place where almost 95% of home fires start. If you are living in a multi-level home, you should purchase small fire extinguishers for each of the levels. It is always better to install a fire extinguisher at the exit point of your home. It will help you create a Gateway if flames are close to the entry point of your house.

How to use the Fire extinguishers

You should stand 6 to 8 feet away from the burning flame to use Fire Extinguishers for properly. Remove the pin of the fire extinguisher to operate the device. Target the nozzle of the extinguisher at the base of the fire and press the Lever to operate it. As the contents get discharged you need to use a sweeping motion to effectively put the flame out. Check out all the above factors and then go for Fire extinguisher hunting.

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Fire Fighting Equipment that are important in the Business Fire Safety Plan

If you are a business owner, you must be thinking about business fire safety plan for your company to protect your property as well as employees. There are no doubt fire extinguishers can help you to avoid potential property damages and personal injuries. But to avoid fire damage effectively, you need to make a list of fire fighting equipment that can address your need in the right way. In the following section of this article, we have created a list to make things easier for you.

Fire Alarms

It does not matter whether you own a large business or a small one you need to have an effective fire alarm system that complies with all the fire safety codes. A fire alarm works as an early warning device that can make you and other people aware of the fire incident before the Flames go out of hand. If used properly a fire alarm can save lives and protect property effectively.

Fire Extinguishers

The most important and essential fire safety equipment is a Fire Extinguisher that helps to put out early stage fires. Fire Extinguishers save 80% of fire accidents as per a research. So, Install the fire extinguishers at your workplace is a great deal.

Automatic Modular Fire Extinguishers

This type of extinguishers protects the enclosed areas. Automatic modular fire extinguishers don’t require to operate. It automatically detects the fire and start automatically douse the fire. The main benefit of modular fire extinguisher is; it extinguishes the fire without any loss.

Water fire extinguishers

It is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to handle fire incidents in plywood companies, wooden fire, petrol pumps & restaurants. The water Fire extinguisher can handle fire generated from solid materials like wood paper etc. During any fire incident you can spray a jet of water at the base of the Fire. This water Jet cools down the temperature of the flame and reduces the chances of re-ignition significantly.

These are some of the most effective fire fighting equipment that must be included in your business fire safety plan. Contact Kanex Fire for quality and cost effective fire safety equipment.