No matter which type of business you own or manage, your commercial fire alarm systems must be inspected, tested, and maintained by a fire protection company in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association Standards – NFPA 72, Chapter 14. Though inspection requirement intervals may vary depending on your fire alarm equipment and the rules imposed by your local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), the NFPA Standards for quarterly, semi-annual, and annual fire alarm inspection are universal.

Fire Alarm Inspection Requirements

The following is a general commercial fire alarm inspection guide to help you and your staff with recommended and required equipment inspections and testing.

To get the complete NFPA Standard guide, be sure to click here or simply download AIE’s free Fire Alarm Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance checklist, which includes the NFPA’s requirements.

Fire alarm mounted to wallHow Often Should Fire Alarms be Inspected by Professionals?

How often each fire alarm system and its components need to be visually inspected and functionally tested is dependent on the types of systems in your warehouses, distribution centers, retail stores, grocery stores, big box stores, restaurants, and other multi-site facilities.

Commercial alarm systems include a wide range of life safety solutions engineered to detect and alert occupants to many different life-threatening and property-damaging hazards in addition to fire – carbon monoxide poisoning, leaky pipes, severe weather, and active shooters, for example.

Thorough visual inspections and physical testing of the components of your fire alarm system must occur weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually, every five and 10 years, according to the NFPA Standards and your AHJ rules. Semi-annual, annual, five-year, and 10-year fire alarm inspections must be performed by licensed fire protection technicians.

Something as simple as checking and replacing smoke detector batteries – even if they’re hard wired – can reduce the 25% of smoke detector failures that occur annually. – NFPA

Fire Alarm Inspections Your Staff Can Do In-House

small flame with box around it

Here is a list of weekly, monthly, and quarterly visual inspections staff trained in fire-safety can perform in accordance with NFPA 72:

Weekly Alarm Inspections

  • Control equipment for fire alarm systems unmonitored for alarm, supervisory, and trouble signals:
    • Fuses
    • Interfaced equipment
    • Lamps and LEDs
    • Primary (main) power supply
    • Control unit trouble signals

Monthly Alarm Inspections

  • Batteries: Lead-acid and primary (dry-cell)
  • Digital alarm communicator receiver (DACR)
  • Possibly CO2 detectors (check manufacturer’s recommendations)

Quarterly Alarm Inspections

  • Radiant energy fire detectors
  • Supervisory signal devices
  • Waterflow devices

Fire Alarm Tests Your Staff Can Do In-House

small flame with box around it

Here is a list of weekly, monthly, and quarterly functional tests staff trained in fire-safety can perform in accordance with NFPA 72:

Daily Functional Tests

  • Batteries – Public fire alarm reporting systems (from street locations to the communications center)

Weekly Functional Tests

  • Engine-driven generator – Public fire alarm reporting systems

Monthly Functional Tests

  • Engine-driven generator – Central station facilities and fire alarm systems
  • Batteries – Central station facilities
    • Lead-acid type
      • Discharge test (30 mins)
      • Load voltage test
    • Sealed lead-acid type
      • Charger test (replace battery within 5 years after manufacture or more frequently as needed)
      • Discharge test (30 mins)
      • Load voltage test
    • Fire alarm system batteries
      • Primary dry-cell load voltage test
  • Supervising station fire alarm systems – receivers
    • Digital alarm communicator receiver (DACR)
    • Digital alarm radio receiver (DARR)
    • McCulloh systems
    • Two-way RF multiplex
    • Radio alarm supervising station receiver (RASSR)
    • Radio alarm repeater station receiver (RARSR)
    • Private microwave

Quarterly Functional Tests

  • Batteries – Central station facilities
    • Nickel-cadmium charger test (replace battery as needed)
    • Sealed-led acid type charger test (replace battery within 5 years after manufacture or more frequently as needed)
    • Public fire alarm reporting system batteries (from street locations to the communications center)
      • Discharge test (2 hours)
      • Load voltage test
    • Nickel-cadmium load voltage test
    • Sealed lead-acid type
      • Discharge test (2 hours)
      • Load voltage test
  • Initiating devices – Supervisory signal devices (except valve tamper switches)
  • Off-premises transmission equipment

As mentioned, these fire alarm inspections and testing requirements are per NFPA, however, it is also important to know your local AHJ requirements and the manufacturers’ recommendations, as they can differ from NFPA in frequency.

For a complete checklist of ALL required inspections and tests, download AIE’s handy checklist: Testing, Inspection, and Maintenance Frequencies for Fire Detection and Alarm Systems.

Download Now

Let’s Not Forget Fire Alarm Inspection Verification & Documentation

When you work with AIE, post-inspection and testing recommendations are analyzed and categorized as to the level of action needed. A database is generated for all fire alarm system problems (and other fire protection equipment), which assists with verification of inspections and testing, future solutions, cost reductions, budgeting, and priorities.

Using digital inspection forms and electronic document management meets NFPA, AHJ, and OSHA requirements. Electronic records also provide a greener approach and create easy internal access to the information, as well as for any fire-safety code authority who requests it.

AIE has been a leader in the fire protection industry since 1983. You can feel confident about leaving fire alarm and fire safety inspections, testing, maintenance, and repair to us while you carry on with business.

Fire Technician Checking Smoke Alarm System

One Fire Alarm Inspection & Testing Company for All Nationwide Locations

As you search for “fire alarm companies near me,” just remember, AIE is the only true, single-source, national fire protection company in America. Our nationwide teams are educated in the latest technology, including Smart Systems, and will proactively inspect and test all fire protection equipment in every one of your multi-site locations, coast-to-coast. We also act as third-party inspection managers during local fire code inspections.

What does all of this mean for you? Once source. One call. One account. One 24/7/365 emergency hotline staffed by AIE experts. Efficiency and peace of mind.

Contact AIE Today

Keep employees and customers safe from fire and other life-threatening emergencies, remain code-compliant, and stay profitable with fire alarm inspections and testing, and fire protection equipment that works when it should. Contact us today for a no-obligation conversation about your fire alarm inspection and testing needs. 800-892-9863

The information posted in our blog is merely for educational and informational purposes. While the information has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee its total accuracy, and it should not be considered legally binding advice. This blog is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, and should you decide to act upon the information, you do so at your own risk.