Showing posts with label Fire Code and Fire Alarm Testing and Inspections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fire Code and Fire Alarm Testing and Inspections. Show all posts

Friday, April 17, 2015

Must-Have Information on Fire Inspection Requirements

It's another great day in Columbus, Ohio! Today we're bringing you more helpful information on fire inspection requirements in commercial and government settings. We want you to know what's required so you can avoid problems, penalties, etc.

On January 2nd., we addressed one of our client's question regarding what it takes to do a fire inspection. The second part of that question related to whether they can do the inspection themselves: Fire Code and Fire Alarm Testing and Inspections.

Recently we received another question related to fire inspections:

"I just purchased an office building and I'm told that we have to do a fire inspection twice a year, once visually and the second by testing each device. Can you assist me by explaining what we have to do to make this happen? Also, what does the fire inspector look for when he or she comes out to inspect our facility?"
In a subsequent article, Inspection & Testing of Common Fire Alarm Devices, we provide the frequency of inspections and testing for all popular fire detection and notification devices as well as basic fire systems. It's your responsibility as the owner of the building to see that this is done on a routine basis. You should find a competent fire alarm firm in your area to do this and have them sign a contract.

ESC provides this service for our government and commercial clients on a routine basis. We track and schedule all inspections and testing procedures with your approval. If your building is in Ohio, or in the Louisville, Kentucky areas, please give ESC a call for a no-obligation consultation and quote. Call 614-754-1393 or use our convenient response form (on the right). You also can send an email to

To answer the last part of your question, the following video provides an up-close view of what the fire inspector in your area will do when he comes to your building. Most inspectors are very thorough and helpful in that they'll advise you as to what you need to do to be code compliant in any specific area.

If you or any of our other clients and readers have any further questions, please call 614-754-1393 or use our convenient response form (on the right). You also can send an email to

John Larkin, Senior Partner, ESC


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Replace Your Home Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years

image of Jim Willisms installing a smoke detectorHome smoke alarms, also called single- and multiple-station smoke alarms, should be, by National Fire Code (NFC), replaced every 10 years.

“According to NFPA, aging smoke alarms don't operate as efficiently and often are the source for nuisance alarms. Older smoke alarms are estimated to have a 30% probability of failure within the first 10 years. Newer smoke alarms do better, but should be replaced after 10 years. Unless you know that the smoke alarms are new, replacing them when moving into a new residence is also recommended by NFPA” (NFPA urges replacing home smoke alarms after 10, National Fire Prevention Association, Quincy, Mass.)

The important point to know is which type of sensor fits the definitions set forth in NFPA 72, NFC, assembled by the consensus of fire professionals and experts and published by NFPA. For example, a single-station smoke alarm, whether used in stand-alone or multi-mode format, is that of the common, ordinary battery-operated detector found in most homes. This includes the 120VAC detector that often comes with a 9-V backup battery. In many locales, for good or bad, the latter has become the detector of choice among code enforcement officials, although recent changes in the NFC allows the use of smoke detectors (read on)’

Photo Caption: This is a combination fire/burglar alarm panel with a supervised power supply in the top panel.

In contrast, the other type of smoke detection device that fire technicians commonly work with is the smoke detector, which connects to a fire alarm system in the home or business. This type of detector derives its operating power from an approved and listed power supply, usually part of a compliant fire alarm control panel. Thus, a smoke detector is able to report alarms and possible trouble conditions to a central monitoring station, as well as locally in the home by sounders placed throughout.

The reason why smoke alarms must be replaced every 10 years primarily relates to the fact that residential smoke alarms are rarely inspected and cared for in the same manner as smoke detectors. In addition, there are safeguards built into a fire alarm system that are designed to detect sensitivity and operational issues that smoke alarms cannot perform in a proactive manner.

If you should have questions pertaining to the smoke alarms in your home and you need the advice of a professional, ESC stands ready to assist you in any and every way possible. If you have a fire alarm system and you’re having issues, also feel free to call on ESC. We offer the finest in service and installation in the state of Ohio.

Give us an opportunity to prove ourselves to you by calling me today. Use our quick response form on the right or visit our Contact Page.

John Larkin, Senior Partner


Friday, January 2, 2015

Fire Code and Fire Alarm Testing and Inspections

It's natural for our customers to have questions about the sophisticated electronic systems they use everyday and I consider it the responsibility of Electronic Systems Consultants to answer them for you. The following question concerns fire alarm testing and inspections. If you have questions of your own, please send them to ESC using our Contact Us page.

We have a fire alarm system and the local fire inspector says we have to have it inspected. Can we inspect it ourselves? What's involved in doing an inspection?

No, you cannot perform your own fire alarm inspection, unless you have an employee on staff that has a State of Ohio fire alarm license.
"Personnel, either individually or through their affiliation with an organization that is registered, licensed, or certified by a state or local authority, shall be recognized as qualified and experi4endced in the inspection, testintg, and maintenance of systgems address within the scope of this code." (NFPA 72, Section 10.5.3)
Per the fire code, all fire alarm systems must have an annual inspection of the system to ensure all field devices (smoke, heat and duct-type smoke detectors, manual pull stations, and audible/visual notification devices) are in good working order and can respond in case of emergencies.

An inspection also must be performed on the fire alarm panel to ensure all wiring is in good working condition and back-up batteries are ready to support the fire alarm system in case of loss of primary power. All of these inspections must be done by a state certified technician that holds a state alarm license to perform inspection, testing, and maintenance.

You can find additional information on our website on the ESC Inspection Services page. If you have additional questions, please call the office at 614-754-1393 or feel free to contact me at any time using the Contact Us page. I and the ESC staff are at your disposal.

John Larkin, Senior Partner
Electronic Systems Consultants