Commercial Fire Alarm System FAQ

Why is a fire alarm system critical for any business? It is important to stay up to code for safety and the risk of hefty liability damages. On top of the potential risk of lives and property, you could find yourself in an expensive lawsuit. Having certified professionals inspect your building and install a fire protection system, protects you and your business.

Early detection in workplace fires is imperative. What happens in the first five minutes of a fire is essential to everyone’s safety. Having the proper system that quickly detects and sounds an alarm, will allow enough time for a safe exit. Here are some other frequently asked questions about commercial fire alarm systems:

Would my fire alarm system need to be tested often?

It must be tested periodically to ensure it remains in compliance with state and federal laws. These laws and fire codes can be confusing, especially with them changing every couple of years. Finding a trustworthy fire alarm company that knows the ins and outs of fire codes, can make this process much easier.

How do I test my fire alarm system?

The company you hire to install the alarm system will take care of all inspections. They usually check the initiating devices such as smoke detectors, fire alarm pulls, and heat detectors annually. The action devices involving water flow like sprinklers must be visually inspected four times annually and functionally tested twice annually.

What is the difference between commercial fire alarms and residential fire alarms?

Commercial fire alarms include features you would not see in a home. Near the exits of commercial buildings are pull stations, which allow people to manually sound the alarm. In large buildings where numerous people work, this is a helpful addition. Also, commercial fire alarms are required to use visual and auditory alarms. There are horn strobe systems installed throughout the buildings so everyone understands what is happening quickly. Depending on the size of the building there are annunciator panels. They tell firefighters exactly which devices are going off, leading them directly to the source of the fire. These annunciator control panels also prevent the fire department from responding to false alarms, alerting businesses of system failures.

How long does a fire alarm system last?

With proper maintenance including inspections, you should only have to replace the system about every ten years. There are more to fire alarm systems than the smoke detectors or sprinklers. Multiple elements are hidden out of sight and cannot be checked daily. This is another reason why the inspections are vital for system maintenance.

Is it mandatory to have my fire alarm system monitored?

Yes, and you want it to be monitored. Fire alarms are great at detecting and telling you there is a fire but that’s where it ends. No one comes to put out the fire until someone calls 9-1-1. The fire monitoring panel detects when the alarm has been triggered and sends a signal to a Signals Receiving Center (SRC). The SRC has an operator place a call with the appropriate fire department, or some systems have the SRC forward the signal directly to the correct fire department.

If you have any questions, give CEI Alarm a call at 775.673.9500.


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