It is crucial for building owners and managers to make sure that their fire alarms are working 100% all the time. That’s why it is recommended to test fire alarms regularly to make sure that your fire protection devices are working as they should be.
But you just can’t go and trigger your fire alarms in random. It will cause utter chaos and may hurt people instead.Here are some things you should consider when doing a fire alarm test.
- Notify the people. You don’t want to catch people off guard because they will be all scrambling thinking that there’s an actual fire happening. Fire alarms have loud, high-pitched sound that could frighten children and cause them trauma. Inform your tenants or family members that you will be conducting a fire alarm test so they don’t panic.
- Notify your local fire station. People outside your home or building will be able to hear the fire alarms going off. You should notify your local fire station just in case your neighbor calls in and report that there’s a fire in your place.
- Prepare copies of your emergency plan. People have to know what to do and where to go when a fire breaks out. Discuss your fire escape plan with your family members or tenants before you test your fire alarm. Designate a leader who will oversee the whole evacuation process.
- Replace your batteries. This works for both battery-operated and hard-wired fire alarms. It is recommended to replace the batteries of battery-operated fire alarms at least twice a year. But if you push the test button and notice that the sound is weak or non-existent, replace your batteries immediately. Hard-wired fire alarms are connected to the building’s electrical system but they also have backup batteries in case of power outage.
- Station someone at the most remote part of the house or floor. This is to check whether the fire alarm can be heard in all parts of the building. Station someone in the restrooms or the kitchen and other closed off areas to make sure that no one will be left behind because they didn’t hear the fire alarm going off.
- Schedule a fire alarm test every month. This is to ensure that all parts of your fire alarms are working fine. However, if you often encounter false alarms or the alarm emits short beeping sounds even without anyone touching it, then you should test it more often because your fire alarm might be faulty.
Fire alarms usually have a lifespan of ten years but that doesn’t mean that it will be working 100% of the time. It is important to schedule monthly fire alarm tests to make sure they are functional. A working fire alarm ensures that you will be notified when a fire breaks out so you can evacuate immediately and take proper action. Taking a few minutes to check them regularly will help save lives.