Security and fire alarm systems are only useful if they work when they’re called upon to alert business owners or home owners to break-ins or fires. One of the easiest ways to ensure that your alarm is capable of answering the call of duty is to respect its maintenance schedule.
Keeping up with alarm system maintenance is easy, and it’s key to reducing the number of false alarms related to problems with equipment. Let’s take a look at some of the key aspects of ensuring the safe and continual operation of your security or fire monitoring system.
Inspecting Your System
It’s not possible to simply eyeball the various components of your home security system or fire alarm system to determine whether they’re in proper working order. Camera lenses, motion, smoke and fire sensors need to be free of any dust or dirt that might interfere with their operation. Batteries should be checked at least every six months for signs of corrosion or indications that they need to be replaced. However, many of the problems that can plague an alarm system are impossible to detect with a basic visual fire alarm inspection or security system inspection.
In fact, the best way to discover whether your security or fire alarm system is in need of maintenance is to have it professionally tested. Licensed System Technicians are capable of inspecting beyond the individual components of a given system to validate each aspect of its functionality. They are also intimately familiar with the design specifications of each of the sensors used in your system and can test their calibrations and determine their effectiveness.
It’s also important to determine whether your system integrates properly with the monitoring network that connects it to your dispatch. Professional fire alarm technicians are capable of coordinating with local fire departments in order to ensure that your fire detection equipment sends the correct inputs to their own systems.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides detailed information regarding system testing intervals – broken down for various types of equipment – based on the NFPA 72 Code. Your insurance company or the legal requirements associated with the type of business you operate might also influence how often you must test your fire alarm system. There is no standard, across-the-board guideline for testing intervals, which means you need to be aware of what’s required by law as well as what kind of testing schedule offers your place of business or home the best level of protection. An alarm testing professional can help you out in both of these important areas.
Testing intervals for burglar alarm systems also vary. Some manufacturers recommend weekly testing, but this might not mesh with the operational realities of your business or represent a convenient schedule at home. Testing every six months represents the outside of what would be considered prudent for a security system.
As your fire or burglar alarm system ages you should consider testing on an accelerated basis. An alarm setup that is between 10 and 15 years old is more at risk of developing faults than one that has been installed more recently. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of safety simply because your system has always passed its tests with flying colors. Staying vigilant and maintaining a responsible testing schedule is a key aspect of protecting your family, assets and business from harm.
American Alarm and Communications, Inc. programs the systems they install to send a test signal to make sure the system is communicating properly with the central station. Wellness inspections are also offered to monitored residential customers once per year free of charge. Commercial customers take advantage of the many inspection services that are offered including regular maintenance and fire testing and inspections. If you are interested in learning more about these services please contact American Alarm at 781-641-2000.