Testing Fire Alarms Everything You Need to Know

Testing Fire Alarms: Everything You Need to Know

Fire and smoke detection systems are an important element of any residential or commercial security suite.

However, to ensure these systems work optimally when they are needed the most, it is important to carry out basic maintenance. Below, we look at what you need to know about testing fire alarms.

How do fire and smoke alarms work?

There are several types of fire and smoke detection systems. Photoelectric smoke sensors alert a control panel when a high level of smoke is detected, letting off an audible alarm. Meanwhile, rate-of-rise heat sensors measure air temperature changes, triggering an alarm if the rate rises above a pre-set level.

We also offer reflective and projected beam smoke detectors, which are suitable for large, open commercial premises, such as warehouses. These use a beam of light to detect smoke, sounding an alert if smoke blocks out some of the light.

Testing residential fire alarms

Residential smoke and fire alarms should be tested at least every six months. Press the button in the centre of each sensor to make sure an alarm sounds. If not, the battery should be replaced. Alarms that “beep” intermittently all the time require an immediate change of battery. Some alarms come with 10-year batteries. These units should be replaced in their entirety when they reach their maximum lifespan, even if still functional.

Testing commercial fire alarms

When it comes to commercial fire and smoke alarms, a professional inspection should be carried out every six months, as well as weekly testing to ensure they are functional.

Regular tests also remind employees to stay vigilant about fire risks and to let newer staff know what the alarm sounds like, so they are prepared in the event of a real incident. It is important to let staff know ahead of a test being conducted to avoid panic.

The process of testing an alarm will depend on the system installed. However, the procedure should involve checking the control panel and alarm sounders to make sure they are connected and in good working order.

What does the law say?

The Bermuda Fire Safety Act 2014 (amended in 2021) sets out the requirements and conditions relating to the issue of a fire certificate. This covers the presence of a “means for detecting fire and giving persons in the premises warning”.

In addition, the “persons responsible for the premises” have a duty, among other things, to ensure fire detection and alarm equipment is “maintained in efficient condition and readily available for use in the event of fire”. Additionally, the fire safety records that organisations are required to maintain include “tests of the fire alarm and detection system”.

Overall, it is important not to take risks, even with the most advanced fire and smoke detection systems. So, be sure to test yours at regular intervals to ensure it continually protects your premises, employees, property and loved ones.

Install or update your fire protection system with Selectron

At Selectron, we offer a range of fire and smoke alarms from the leading brands to protect residential and commercial premises across Bermuda. Contact us today on +1 441 236 4181 for advice on the best system for your needs and budget.

At Selectron our solutions help you meet the increased challenges of today’s security and surveillance, enabling you to improve safety by reducing and preventing security breaches and accidents. Find out more about us >>

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