Fire Alarm Systems

The purpose of a fire alarm system is to detect a fire and provide warning to building occupants to evacuate the premises. Automatic devices, such as smoke and heat detectors, sense the fire and then activate audiovisual devices. These audio-visual devices, such as horns, speakers, and strobes, act to notify the occupants of a building about an emergency situation. Manual pull stations also activate the audio-visuals, but rely on a person to operate them. Fire alarm systems must be thoroughly inspected annually in accordance with NFPA 72.

Fire Alarm Resources
Types of Fire Alarm Systems
  • Automatic
  • Manual
Maintenance & Service
Annual maintenance is required. It is important to review the maintenance report and verify that all deficiencies have been corrected. The annual maintenance/inspection report is required to be available for review by the Fire Inspector.

IFC 907.20.5
The building owner shall be responsible for ensuring that the fire and life safety systems are maintained in an operable condition at all times. Service personnel shall meet the qualification requirements of NFPA 72 for maintaining, inspecting and testing such systems. A written record shall be maintained and shall be made available to the fire code official.

IFC 907.20.3
Detector sensitivity shall be checked within 1 year after installation and every alternate year thereafter. After the 2nd calibration test, where sensitivity tests indicate that the detector has remained within its listed and marked sensitivity range (or 4% obscuration light grey smoke, if not marked), the length of time between calibration tests shall be permitted to be extended to a maximum of 5 years. Where the frequency is extended, records of detector-caused nuisance alarms and subsequent trends of these alarms shall be maintained. In zones or areas where nuisance alarms show any increase over the previous year, calibration tests shall be performed.