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Frequently Asked Questions Fire Alarm Systems Banner

Q: I have a fire alarm system in my commercial building with a sprinkler system - does it need to be connected to a monitoring service to call the fire department?
A: Yes - according to the IBC 2003, an approved supervising station in accordance with NFPA 72 shall monitor fire alarm systems.

Q: Do fire codes require that my fire alarm system be inspected and tested on a regular schedule?
A: Yes. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), through its National Fire Alarm code, NFPA 72, requires every commercial fire alarm system be inspected and tested annually. Further, local fire protection districts require, and often ask to review, a current fire alarm inspection report. Without a current report, fire marshals may invoke penalties, fines, or even require your business to close its doors until a system inspection is conducted.

Q: How often do I need to test my smoke detectors in my office building
A: According to NFPA 72, 1999 smoke detectors need to be tested both visually and functionally. The frequency for visual testing is twice a year and the functional test is once a year.

Q: Do I have to have smoke detection throughout my school?
A: Based on building code requirements in your area or what your local Fire Marshal is mandating, your options may differ. When designing a new fire alarm system for your school, you must be aware of the local guidelines to make sure you cover all your bases.

Q: Is a voice evacuation fire alarm system required in churches instead of the standard horn signals?
A: Since churches fall into the assembly classification under the building code, the occupancy of the building determines if the system is voice or horns. Occupancy of 1,000 or more requires voice signaling.

Q: What are my options for a new Intercom System?
A: First, you need to identify if you are looking for a traditional two-way paging system or if you need to add other features to your intercom system, such as bell schedules, master clock control, additional speaker coverage, intruder alert, etc. From there, PFAS will be able to design an intercom system solution that best fits your needs.

Q: How can I lock down the doors in my school to make it safer for both staff and students?
A: You have many different options when locking down the doors at your school. You will first need to identify if you are interested in managing only one door at the front of the school (a stand-alone one-door system) or if you want the system to include all doors at your multi-building facility (a centralized system with badging). From there, PFAS can provide a lock down design for your facility.

Q: What does an Access Control System do?
A: A properly designed access control system will, at a minimum, control how and when people enter an area. After that, the particular needs of the people using the system will determine what is included.