Fire Alarm System Inspection Services
 

Anubis Systems Technologies’ highly qualified and trained professionals offer uncompromising functional testing and inspection of building life safety systems and equipment.  We are committed towards ensuring that, should an emergency occur which requires local notification or intervention, the safe evacuation of the building’s occupants is assured and First Responders are provided the information necessary to quickly identify and deal with the issue on arrival.

We provide expert inspection services to all makes and models of fire alarm and extinguishment systems. The reports we issue provide an in-depth, comprehensive overview of the equipment’s condition and preparedness and will often include helpful recommendations for improvements to enhance occupant life safety. You may view a sample of the Building Life Safety Inspection Report we use at the FORMS page located at http://www.firetechs.net .

For more information you can email us or telephone (778) 863-7147.

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FIRE  ALARM  INSPECTION  FAQ

Building fire alarm systems usually consist of a common control (mounted in a metal box), manual pull stations at every exit door, smoke detectors in the hallways, and some means of audibly and/or visually notifying the occupants of the building that an alarm has occurred. The audible signals can consist of bells or buzzers, but in some systems, an alarm tone is generated through a series of speakers located on each floor of the premise. Where hearing impaired patients or occupants are located, it is usual to have strobe lights located along corridors and in individual rooms to indicate an emergency condition exists in the building.

The common control employs several features to enable the occupants to identify any specific problems within the system. Correction of any troubles should be left in the hands of a trained Anubis Systems Technologies fire alarm service technician. Most fire alarm systems employ zoned annunciators so that fire fighting personnel can be dispatched to the proper area of the building.

Daily Testing (General) - is the responsibility of the building management or an individual they've designated to perform these duties. They include:

  • Checking to ensure that there is no large accumulation of combustible material, rubbish or flammable liquids in any area of the building;
  • Checking to ensure that all the exit signs are in good order, and that adequate lighting in the public corridors and stairwells is maintained;
  • Checking to ensure all the fire doors operate properly and that none are wedged in the OPEN position;
  • Checking all the exit routes remain free from obstructions;
  • Checking to ensure all fire hoses and extinguishers are unobstructed, in good order and ready to use;
  • Checking water and air pressure gauges (if applicable) in the fire sprinkler room;
  • Checking all water valves controlling the building’s fire sprinklers are in their correct positions;
  • Checking the fire pump controller’s (if applicable) visual indicators;
  • Checking the fire alarm control panel to ensure it is free of obstructions, the locks have not been tampered with, the AC POWER indicator is ON, and that the system is trouble free;
  • Checking corridor and public area fire and smoke detectors, pull stations, audible and visual appliances (bells, horns) to ensure they are clean, undamaged, and unobstructed.

Monthly Testing - Requires the building management or designated individual to actually initiate a fire alarm by activating one of the building's pull stations. You can download a convenient monthly test record in PDF format. It's usually a good idea to post the date and time of the test so that tenants/occupants are aware of the situation and won't be unduly alarmed. It might be a good idea to suggest that they practice their individual escape plans during the test. The montly test is to ensure that all audible and visual alarm indicators function properly and are loud (or visible) enough to alert all the occupants to a fire condition.

In addition to this test, the designated individual should also ensure that he responds to issues and concerns expressed to him by the tenants/occupants with regard to the operation of the fire alarm system or other emergency equipment.

Annual Testing - The Annual Test of the fire alarm system is performed by qualified technical personnel to a specific National Standard.  There are a number of companies in the Lower Mainland that perform this service.  In some municipalities (e.g. Vancouver, Richmond, and Langley), the individuals performing annual testing must be registered by ASTTBC or certified/approved by an agency recognized by the local authority.  As we noted on the Services page, very few of the service agencies which are engaged in providing annual testing actually perform this to the level required by the Standard.  A CAN/ULC-S536-04 (Standard for Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems) test and inspection must be documented on a form called an Appendix “E” report.  This form must include (without exception) the following:

  • A specific reference to the Standard on the front page of the report (i.e. “The system has been tested to CAN/ULC-S536-04”).
  • Zones (or module numbers if the system being tested is addressable) must be recorded for each field device on the Individual Device Test Record;
  • End-of-Line devices (resistors) - these have to be listed (along with their locations) on the Individual Device Test Record and specific testing must be conducted that requires their physical dismounting and re-installation;
  • Isolators (data buss, power buss, and insuite signal isolators) - these have to be listed on the Individual Device Test Record (including a reference to their actual location) and some may require physical dismounting in order to affect a proper test;
  • Smoke detector sensitivity readings - results must be recorded on the Individual Device Test Record. (IMPORTANT NOTE: For detectors that cannot be properly tested, your local authority may require you to initiate a replacement program where a certain number of detectors are upgraded automatically every year.  Your service agency should be identifying those detectors that it could not test.);
  • Power supplies and batteries - testing results of each power supply and emergency power supply (batteries) must be individually recorded (on separate pages).  Batteries must be subjected to one of FIVE (5) test methodologies (the fifth one involves replacement of the batteries with a new set);
  • Gen-sets (if part of the emergency power supply) must be tested for run and trouble indications at the fire alarm control.  Fuel levels and a low fuel trouble indication (the low fuel alarm set point) should be checked to ensure the unit is able to deliver emergency power for the duration required by the Building Code for the type of occupancy;
  • Insuite signals (if equipped with a silence feature) must be checked for proper operation of the silence function (including resounding if signals are silenced and a second alarm zone is activated);
  • Duct mounted smoke detectors must be individually tested and some rather detailed results recorded (namely the differential pressure and the sensitivity reading) on the Individual Device Test Record;
  • Stand-alone capabilities of networked systems must be tested and properly documented;
  • Sprinkler system interconnection (isolation valve supervisory signals, flow switch alarm, tamper, low temperature, heat trace controller trouble and supervisory, low air, etc.) must be tested and properly documented;
  • Interconnection to offsite monitoring services (both the function of the common alarm, water flow, trouble and supervisory relays) must be tested and confirmation of signals received recorded;
  • Annunciators for proper operation (including ancillary controls);
  • Smoke detector controlled door releases and door holders for proper function;
  • Elevator shaft devices must be individually listed and tested (your service provider should be scheduling the fire alarm testing on the same day as the regular monthly elevator inspection in order to facilitate access to these devices).

There are some fire alarm interconnected devices that the testing Standard doesn’t specifically mention which have to be inspected.  The function of the various relays correlated to these devices must, however, be individually recorded.  More importantly, if the service agency employs ASTTBC RFPTs, then Article 9 of the Practice Guideline requires them to test and inspect:

  • Door holders and releases (you, as the building owner, should know the difference and how they operate on a fire alarm activation);
  • Elevator recall functions (general alarm homing, alternate floor homing, and machine room and shaft fire operation);
  • Smoke control functions (electrically operated dampers, fans, pressurization fans, etc.).

Note:  Please review additional Article 9 testing requirements on the Passive Systems page.

Addressable fire alarm systems pose a unique challenge to many technicians and require some additional documentation over and above what we’ve outlined above:

  • All addressable devices must be individually listed on the Device Test Record sheet.  Supporting field devices must also be listed.  These are the units that provide an interconnection to conventionally wired devices like manual pull stations, sprinkler isolation valves, flow switches, low air and the like;
  • If your system employs a UDACT communicator, the technician must ensure that appropriate signals generated by the system during the testing must be received at the monitoring station;
  • Field addressable relay modules must be listed on the Individual Device Test Record, and their locations and function documented.

While advances continue to be made in the technology, the need for maintaining proper testing records becomes even more important. 
 

 

 

 

SMOKE  DETECTOR  FAQ

Smoke and fire detectors should be considered an integral part of any home or business security system. In most all instances involving fire, a smoke detector provides sufficient warning to the residents/occupants to enable them to evacuate the premises safely, notify the fire department, and minimize the damage to the structure and contents. A security or fire alarm system that employs integrated smoke detectors is by far the best way to protect your family or workers. In this instance the detectors are powered by a stand-by battery that will ensure continued protection even in the complete absence of electrical power or a "brown-out". Smoke alarms that are battery operated should have the batteries replaced every six months. It's a good idea to mark the replacement date on a piece of masking tape and stick it onto the body of the detector. Use only alkaline or lithium type batteries and make sure you double check the expiry date on the battery and test it before you place it in the unit. Most smoke detectors installed today are wired directly to the household electrical system. These units are vulnerable to electrical failures (they won't function in the absence of power). Most house fires start in the electrical wiring so it's a good idea to have a battery operated smoke alarm installed as a "back-up". There are two types of smoke detectors (alarms):

Ionization type smoke detectors utilize a small source of radioactive material (usually Americium) that in fact ionizes airborne particulates and attracts them to to one side or the other of a polarized grid. When sufficient particles accumulate, the unit goes into an alarm condition. This type of detector works best for fast flaming fires that produce small amounts of smoke. It's also prone to false alarms when installed close to bathrooms or kitchens with older style dishwashers. Steam from your hot bath, shower, or operating dishwasher may accidentally "set-off" one of these units). It SHOULD NOT be used in a residential application as most home fires involve intense smoke.

Photoelectric type smoke detectors utilize an infrared light source (called the emitter) and a receiver, both of which are located inside the sensing chamber. Smoke particles obscure the receiver, and the unit goes into alarm. This type of detector is best used in residential applications, as it provides extremely good early warning to smoldering type fires that tend give off dense smoke and noxious fumes.

Regardless of the type of detector your residence or building employs, there's some additional maintenance you can perform to ensure the continued peak efficiency. Once a month or so, take your vacuum (on it's lowest setting) and utilizing a soft brush attachment, clean out the vents of the detector. Never paint the sensor!  If the sensor is part of an actual fire alarm system, make sure you alert other tenants in the building as to what you're doing as well as your monitoring station (if applicable). There is a possibility that you may inadvertently set off the fire alarm system. Have someone standing by the panel so that they can cancel (or silence) any audible alarm quickly.
 

 

 

 

SMOKE ALARMS  FAQ

Powered independently of the fire alarm control, these devices are normally not connected to it.  They incorporate an internal sounder and some also have a visible notification component (strobe light) to provide a localized alarm signal.  These sensors have a limited service life (usually ten years) and some require annual battery replacement.  Check the date stamp located on the back of the detector and ensure you follow the care and maintenance instructions that came with it to make sure to keep it operating at peak efficiency.  If in doubt, replace the unit and dispose of the old one in a safe manner.
 

 

SPECIAL NOTICE!
(For homeowners with ten year old multi-station type smoke alarms or who
may be contemplating changing or upgrading their existing units!)

IF YOUR HOME HAS A FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEM, PLEASE READ THIS!

 

 

Your sprinkler system may incorporate a flow switch (or switches) that are connected to your smoke alarms.  Older model alarms may be switching normal household voltage (120 VAC) in order to sound an audible alert when a sprinkler head activates.  Modern smoke alarms will only switch low voltage (i.e. 9 VDC).  Applying household voltage to the interconnection wire will result in the destruction of any connected alarms and may even cause a fire.
Please
contact us for more information.

 


Smoke alarms are routinely tested by Anubis’ professional technicians in accordance with CAN/ULC-S552-02 (and the results properly documented) whenever we conduct an annual inspection of your project as part of our commitment to your projects total life safety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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