Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works
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Do I Have to Put The Fire Alarm System On Test?

Just in case the fire alarm system accidently goes into alarm while working on it, the fire alarm system should be put on test with the monitoring company. If it's not on test, it's embarrassing explaining the false alarm to the arriving firefighters.

Putting the fire alarm system on test does not prevent the fire alarm system from sounding the alarms. It only tells the central monitoring station to not call the fire department.
Putting a fire alarm system on test is the action of calling the central monitoring station and telling them not to call anyone when the fire alarm panel sends in signals.


By Douglas Krantz

It's the owner's fire alarm panel.

The owner has bought and paid for the fire alarm system. You may be called on to fix the fire alarm system, but before you arrive on site, if it breaks and calls the fire department, calling the fire department is the owner's problem.

On the other hand, while you're there, if the fire alarm system calls the fire department, it's your problem.

Keep in mind the reason you're there in the first place is that the fire alarm system isn't running right. Often there's more than one problem and you really don't know what it's going to do.

When arriving on site, before touching reset, and if possible, before opening the cabinet, place the fire alarm system on test with the monitoring company.

I'm not talking about when, on arrival, the fire panel is showing a red-light alarm - - that's a call-the-monitoring-company-first situation. I'm talking about when arriving on site everything appears normal.

With a normal panel, because of a bad smoke detector, pressing the reset button has activated alarms. Then there's a horror story about a service technician showing fire a alarm system to school custodians, and because of a loose connection in the panel, just opening the cabinet set off the alarm.

The trouble is, with the fire alarm system, you don't know what might be wrong.

Remember, when arriving on site to service a fire alarm panel, you are there because something is wrong and it's your job to fix it.

Until you can certify that the system is fully functioning, an alarm can come from nowhere to mess you up.
Based on his electronics training, and his understanding of Life Safety, Douglas Krantz has compiled his knowledge of Conventional Fire Alarm Systems into the book Make It Work - Conventional Fire Alarms. The book covers the basics of the Conventional Fire Alarm System, and shows how Life Safety and internal supervision affects the fire alarm system.

Douglas Krantz -- Fire Alarm Engineering Technician, Electronic Designer, Electronic Technician, Writer

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