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How Fire Alarm System Maintenance Helps Prevent False Alarms

If you live in the Bay Area, you know how prevalent wildfires are. And of course, wildfires are a common cause of devastating fires in homes and businesses, they aren’t the ONLY cause. It can be something as simple as a person being careless during cooking and leaving an open fire running.

That’s why fire alarm systems are important. They’re the ones that serve as fire protection for building occupants. 

But did you know that no matter how advanced a fire alarm system may be, they still need to be maintained? Otherwise, you will experience plenty of false alarms. And not only may you be fined plenty of times by officials in the occurrence, you may also not be alerted correctly in the case of real fires.

Want to know more? Then we invite you to keep on reading. This blog article will discuss what false fire alarms are, how they can affect you, how fire inspection in the Bay Area can prevent these false alarms, and why fire alarm systems should be maintained.

 

What is the main purpose of a fire alarm system?

Any fire alarm system has three main purposes:

Purpose 1: To detect fire

A fire alarm system is designed to detect fire via smoke, heat, or both. A good system design should also have manual alarm capability. In case a person sees the fire before smoke or heat reaches the sensor, that person can already trigger the alarm. 

 

Purpose 2: To alert the occupants of the building

When the fire alarm system is triggered by heat or smoke, it will alert occupants via visual and audio alarms. The visual alarms will be bright lights, and the audio alarms will be really loud so that they cannot be ignored. These alarms will signal the occupants that there’s an emergency, so they should follow the evacuation plan of the building.

 

Purpose 3: To notify the fire department and other authorities

Any good fire alarm system that passes the standards of any California fire inspection company should also be set up to notify authorities. That’s to make sure the fire department, as well as ambulances and even police officers are on the way to assist building occupants and to put out the fire before it becomes an even bigger threat.

 

Why are testing and maintenance of smoke detectors and fire alarms so important?

There are two reasons why smoke detectors and fire alarms should always be tested and maintained.

Reason 1: It’s the law.

A fire alarm system must be tested regularly as mandated by the California Fire Code and the current adopted edition of NFPA 72. If you don’t do regular inspections, you will get fined. And we’re sure you don’t want to be regularly losing money as a result of this fine, right?

 

Reason 2: To make sure it works

Remember, fire alarm systems are your first line of defense against fires. If they don’t work, not only might you face property damage but also loss of lives.

Even if the fire alarms never turn on because there’s never a fire, fire alarms should still be inspected to check the integrity of all the parts in the system. That includes checking smoke detectors and even the wiring. 

Of course, one more problem with a poorly maintained system is that it can cause false fire alarms, which can cause a variety of problems.

 

What is a false fire alarm?

Basically, a false fire alarm, also known as an unwanted fire signal, is defined as a the fire alarm going off, but there’s no actual fire that constitutes an emergency. It’s that simple. 

 

Why are false alarms bad?

You might be thinking that false fire alarms aren’t really that bad. Sure, the alarm sounded, but there’s no fire. Isn’t have no fire actually a good thing?

Well, not exactly. False fire alarms have very serious consequences such as:

  • Making the fire department and other essential services go to your location for nothing. What if the false alarm occurs at the same time as a real fire? Lives will be at risk because of the unnecessary delay.
  • Disruption of everyday activities and businesses. People who are working will have to rush out of the building as a response to the fire alarm. False alarms will cause waste of time and loss of income. And if the false alarm happens in a residential area, the lives of the residents will be inconvenienced.
  • Wasted resources and tax money. The fire department (paid for by your taxes) will use up gas and other resources to get to the location of the false alarm.  
  • Complacency. If people get used to false fire alarms, pretty soon, they will not respond to real fire alarms. This consequence is probably the worst that could happen.

 

What causes false fire alarms?

There are many possible triggers of a false fire alarm, such as:

  • Smoke caused by cooking fumes
  • Smoke caused by anything burning like toast
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Aerosol sprays
  • Steam coming from cooking or ironing of clothes
  • The alarm is not in a recommended area or position of the building (i.e. near the smoking area)
  • Vandalism or damage 
  • The system is being tested but without the center knowing
  • Sudden humidity or temperature changes
  • Candles and incense being near the detector
  • Dust build up on a detector

 

How do you stop false fire alarms?

Well, one way you could stop a false fire alarm is to pretty much turn off the entire system. However, if you keep it off, you will not get alerted in the case of a real fire. That means keeping it off is not a good strategy in the long run.

The best way to stop your fire alarms from going off due to false fires is simply to inspect and to test them regularly to ensure that they work as they should. 

 

How do you get started with fire alarm system maintenance?

Fire alarm systems need to always be up and running at all times to make sure that it serves its purpose in alerting the authorities and occupants of the building in times of danger. Therefore, we don’t suggest doing fire alarm system maintenance by yourself. After all, you may not have the expertise nor the equipment to check the integrity of your fire alarm system.

Instead, what you should do is get the services of some Bay Area fire inspection experts, like us at Fire Alarm Testing Inc. Our expert fire alarm technicians use only the latest equipment to make sure fire alarm systems are running smoothly. 

With over 75 years of experience and presence in the Bay Area, the Fire Alarm Testing Inc. team is one among the most reliable team of fire experts that can ensure that your fire alarm system is at its best. 

Strengthen the reliability of your fire alarm system with us. Through our regular inspection, we ensure that your fire alarm system is maintained accordingly. For more information on our services, call us now at +1(831) 247-9642 or fill out our online form.

We look forward to hearing from you and working with you soon!