Questions about Fire Protection?
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Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to delivering reliable fire safety solutions to help you ensure the safety of your team and property. We believe that education is an important factor in staying safe, so we’ve created these FAQs to help you learn more about fire safety.
How often do fire extinguishers need to be inspected?
Fire extinguishers are required by NFPA 10 (National Fire Protection Association) to be inspected once a month. The annual inspection is more robust and is required to be done by a licensed professional. Both the extinguisher firm and the technician must have a license to do the annual inspection and place a certification tag on it.
Who can inspect fire extinguishers?
The annual inspection is more robust than the monthly inspections and is required to be done by a licensed professional. Both the firm and the technician must have a license to do the annual inspection and place a tag on it. The monthly inspection can be done by a trained, but not necessarily licensed professional. If the monthly inspection isn’t done by a licensed professional, make sure the inspector is trained on NFPA 10 (National Fire Protection Association) standards and inspected according to the standard.
What is an ABC fire extinguisher?
An ABC fire extinguisher is a type of portable fire extinguisher that is designed to handle 3 different classes of fires. The “ABC” designation refers to the types of fires it can effectively extinguish.
- Class A Fires: These fires involve common combustible materials such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber, and certain plastics. Class A fires are extinguished by cooling the material and removing the heat source.
- Class B Fires: These fires involve flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, solvents, and certain gases. Class B fires are extinguished by inhibiting the chemical reaction of the fuel and suppressing the flames.
- Class C Fires: These fires involve energized electrical equipment, such as electrical panels, motors, appliances, and wiring. Class C fires are extinguished by shutting off the electrical power supply and smothering the flames.
ABC fire extinguishers typically use a dry chemical agent as the extinguishing agent. The most common dry chemical agent used is monoammonium phosphate, which is a yellow powder. This powder is effective in suppressing and extinguishing fires by forming a barrier that separates the fuel from the oxygen, thus preventing the fire from reigniting.
ABC fire extinguishers are versatile and widely used in homes, offices, commercial buildings, and vehicles because they can handle a variety of fire types. It’s important to note that while ABC fire extinguishers are effective for most common fires, they may not be suitable for certain specialized situations, such as fires involving cooking oils (Class K fires) or combustible metals (Class D fires). For those specific hazards, specialized extinguishers are required.
Can you explain how to use a fire extinguisher?
It’s simple! Use the PASS method:
- Pull the pin.
- Aim the hose.
- Squeeze the handle.
- Sweep side to side.
What’s included in annual maintenance?
The annual service on a fire extinguisher involves a thorough inspection to ensure that the extinguisher is in good working condition and ready for use in the event of a fire. Here are the general steps involved in an annual service:
1. Visual Inspection
Examine the fire extinguisher for any visible signs of damage, such as dents, leaks, or corrosion. Check the pressure gauge to ensure it is within the acceptable range.
2. Verification of Accessibility
Ensure that the fire extinguisher is easily accessible and not obstructed by any objects or obstructions.
3. Tamper Seals Assessment
Check the tamper seals or safety pins to ensure they are intact. If any seals are broken or pins are missing, investigate the cause and take appropriate action.
4. Weight Check
Weigh the extinguisher to verify that it still contains the proper amount of extinguishing agent. Compare the weight to the weight specified on the manufacturer’s label.
5. Pressure Test
Ensure the pressure of the extinguisher is within the recommended range. This can be done using the pressure gauge or other suitable equipment.
6. Inspection of Components
Inspect the hose, nozzle, handle, and other components of the extinguisher to ensure they are in good condition and functioning properly. Replace any damaged or worn-out parts as needed.
7. Clean and Wipe
Clean the exterior of the fire extinguisher to remove any dirt or debris. Wipe off any residue or dust that may have accumulated on the surface.
8. Tagging and Documentation
Attach an annual maintenance tag or label to the extinguisher, indicating the date of the service, the technician’s name or ID, and any other relevant information. Keep detailed records of the service performed.
It’s important to note that the specific requirements for annual service may vary depending on local regulations, fire codes, and the type of fire extinguisher. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consult with a qualified fire safety professional to ensure compliance and proper maintenance of your fire extinguishers.
What is included in the 6-year fire extinguisher maintenance service?
We begin by visually inspecting the fire extinguisher for any obvious signs of damage or wear, such as dents, leaks, or corrosion. We also check the pressure gauge to ensure it is in the proper operating range.
2. Discharge Test
We discharge the fire extinguisher to verify that it functions correctly. This involves emptying the contents of the extinguisher in a controlled environment.
3. Internal Examination
After the discharge test, we’ll remove the head or valve assembly from the extinguisher and inspect the inside of the cylinder for signs of damage or residue buildup. We also check for any obstructions or foreign objects.
4. Valve Maintenance
We inspect the valve assembly for any signs of damage or wear. After cleaning the valve components and replacing any worn-out parts, we’ll ensure the valve operates smoothly.
5. Cylinder Maintenance
If the cylinder shows signs of corrosion or damage, it may need to be hydrostatically tested. This involves subjecting the cylinder to high-pressure water to check its integrity. If the cylinder passes the test, we’ll refill it. Otherwise, it may need to be replaced.
If the cylinder passes the hydrostatic test or does not require testing, we’ll refill it with the appropriate fire extinguishing agent according to the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure it is properly pressurized.
We’ll reinstall the valve assembly onto the cylinder, making sure it is securely fastened. After checking all connections for leaks, we’ll ensure the pressure gauge indicates the correct pressure.
8. Tagging and Documentation
Finally, we’ll attach a maintenance tag or label to the fire extinguisher, indicating the date of the maintenance, the technician’s name or ID, and any other relevant information. For future reference, we’ll maintain detailed records of the maintenance performed for future reference.
Can you repair my e-lights?
Yes! We have over a dozen trained technicians that are skilled at diagnosing what type of repair is needed and completing the repair.
What are the different kinds of e-lights?
Several different types of emergency lights are commonly used in buildings and facilities. The specific types of emergency lights can vary based on their intended purpose, installation location, and applicable building codes. Here are some of the most common types:
Exit signs are an essential type of emergency lighting used to indicate the location of exits and evacuation routes. They are typically illuminated by either internally mounted light sources or external light fixtures. Exit signs can be either self-illuminated, using tritium or other light sources that do not require external power, or electrically powered with battery backup.
Emergency Lighting Units
These are standalone fixtures designed to provide illumination in case of a power failure or emergency situation. Emergency lighting units are typically mounted on walls or ceilings and contain built-in batteries that activate when the main power supply is interrupted. They are commonly used to provide general lighting in corridors, stairwells, and other areas of egress.
Remote heads are auxiliary lighting units that are typically connected to an emergency lighting unit or an exit sign. They are used to increase the coverage and visibility of emergency lighting in specific areas. Remote heads are often installed in locations where additional lighting is required, such as at the ends of long corridors or at branching points in escape routes.
How often should emergency lighting be tested?
The frequency of testing emergency lights can vary depending on local regulations and specific requirements. Below are the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code requirements:
This involves activating the lights for 30 seconds to ensure they turn on and provide adequate illumination.
A more comprehensive annual test is mandated by the NFPA and local fire inspector where the emergency lights are tested for 90 minutes. The inspector checks to make sure the light will burn for 90 minutes, the bulbs stay bright for the entire time, and that the light heads are pointed in the correct direction.
The batteries in emergency lights have a limited lifespan. Depending on the type of battery used, they may need to be replaced every 3 to 5 years, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Regularly check the battery status and replace them when they reach the end of their useful life.
It’s important to note that these testing frequencies are general recommendations, and you should always refer to the specific guidelines provided by local regulations, building codes, and the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular emergency lighting system. Additionally, it is advisable to keep a log or documentation of all maintenance and testing activities performed on emergency lights for compliance and reference purposes.
What is the difference between monthly and annual inspections?
The biggest difference is how long the emergency lighting fixture is tested for. The annual inspection requires the emergency fixture to be tested for 90 minutes. The monthly inspection requires the emergency light fixture to be tested for 30 seconds.
Who sets the light inspection requirements?
NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) sets the emergency lighting inspection requirements and the local jurisdiction enforces their requirements.
What are emergency lighting code requirements?
Emergency lighting code requirements can vary depending on the country, region, and local jurisdiction. Here are some common elements that are likely included in emergency lighting code requirements:
Emergency lighting codes specify the minimum illumination levels that emergency lights must provide in various areas, such as corridors, stairwells, exits, and other designated emergency egress routes. These standards ensure that occupants can safely navigate and evacuate the building during a power outage or emergency situation.
Backup Power Duration
Codes typically require emergency lighting systems to have a backup power source, such as batteries or generators. The codes may specify the minimum duration that the emergency lights must remain illuminated during a power failure. The most common requirement is 90 minutes, although some cities, like New York City and Chicago, have different requirements, allowing sufficient time for evacuation or until alternate power sources can be restored.
Placement and Coverage
Codes often outline the specific locations where emergency lights must be installed. These include exit signs along escape routes, at stairwells, in rooms with fire safety equipment, and in other critical areas. The codes may also specify the maximum distance between emergency lights to ensure adequate coverage and visibility.
Testing and Maintenance
Codes typically require regular testing and maintenance of emergency lighting systems. This may include monthly or annual testing of the lights, battery inspections and replacements, documentation of testing activities, and keeping maintenance records.
Compliance and Certification
Codes may require that emergency lighting systems meet specific standards or be certified by recognized testing organizations. Compliance with these standards ensures that the emergency lighting systems are reliable and meet the necessary safety requirements.
It’s important to note that the specific requirements can vary significantly based on local regulations and building codes. It is essential to consult the applicable codes and regulations in your specific jurisdiction to ensure compliance with the requirements for emergency lighting systems. Local fire departments, building code officials, or safety professionals can provide guidance and assistance in understanding and meeting the specific code requirements in your area.
How do fire alarms work?
Fire alarms work by detecting the presence of smoke, heat, or flames, and then activating an audible and/or visual alert to notify building occupants of a potential fire. The exact workings of fire alarms can vary depending on the type and complexity of the system.
How often should fire alarms be tested?
Fire alarms should be tested regularly to ensure their proper functioning. The frequency of testing can vary based on local regulations, building codes, and the specific type of fire alarm system installed. Here are some general guidelines for fire alarm testing:
It is common to perform a brief weekly test of the fire alarm system. This typically involves activating a manual call point or using a test button to simulate an alarm condition and verify that the alarm signal is transmitted to the control panel. The weekly test is usually a quick check to ensure basic functionality.
Monthly testing involves a more comprehensive evaluation of the fire alarm system. This includes testing individual components, such as smoke detectors, heat detectors, and audible/visual devices. The aim is to ensure that each component is operating correctly and producing the intended alarm signals. Monthly testing may also involve checking the battery backup system and verifying the communication with the central control panel.
An annual test is a more thorough examination of the entire fire alarm system. It should be performed by a qualified technician or a professional fire alarm service company. The annual test includes functional testing of all components, verification of system performance against the manufacturer’s specifications, and inspection of wiring, connections, and control panel settings. It may also involve testing the alarm signals received by the monitoring station (if applicable) and conducting a sensitivity test on smoke detectors.
What are fire alarm regulations for commercial buildings?
Fire alarm regulations for commercial buildings can vary depending on the country, state, and local jurisdiction. These regulations are typically in place to ensure the safety of occupants and protect property from fire-related risks. While specific requirements can differ, here are some common fire alarm regulations that may apply to commercial buildings:
Fire alarm systems must be installed according to specific standards and codes. These standards outline requirements for system components, such as control panels, detectors, notification devices, wiring, and power sources. They also specify the positioning and coverage of detectors and alarm devices based on the layout and occupancy of the building.
Design and Plan Approval
Commercial buildings often require the submission and approval of fire alarm system design plans by local authorities. Plans typically include details on the layout, types of detectors and alarm devices, control panel location, wiring diagrams, and battery backup systems. Approval ensures compliance with regulations and confirms that the system meets the specific needs of the building.
Regulations typically define the specific areas where fire detectors must be installed within a commercial building. This includes common areas, such as corridors, stairwells, lobbies, and mechanical rooms. Detectors may also be required in individual rooms, such as electrical or mechanical equipment rooms, storage areas, or kitchens. The regulations often specify the type of detectors appropriate for each area.
Audible and Visual Alarm Requirements
Commercial buildings must adhere to regulations regarding the audibility and visibility of fire alarm signals. These regulations dictate the sound levels, tone patterns, and coverage of audible devices, such as horns, bells, or sirens. They also specify the placement and visibility requirements for visual devices, such as strobe lights or flashing lights, to ensure that alarms are perceivable even in noisy or visually impaired environments.
Testing and Maintenance
Fire alarm regulations typically mandate regular testing and maintenance of the system. This includes routine inspections, functional testing of components, battery checks, and replacements, sensitivity testing of detectors, and record-keeping of all maintenance activities. Testing frequencies and requirements may be outlined in the regulations or referred to industry standards, such as NFPA 72 (National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code).
It is important to note that fire alarm regulations can be complex and can vary between jurisdictions. It is essential to consult the specific regulations and requirements enforced by the local fire department, building department, or authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) in your area. They can provide the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding fire alarm regulations for commercial buildings in your specific location.
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We can help. Contact us and we’ll be happy to answer your questions about fire safety services.
Our One-Stop Shop Makes Compliance Easier
With our comprehensive fire safety services, you’re able to simplify the management of your fire safety compliance. We’ll proactively install, inspect, and service your fire safety equipment on a schedule that works for you.
We inspect and service emergency lights, ensuring occupants can evacuate safely in a power outage.
We install, inspect, and service fire extinguishers so you stay compliant and prepared for your next fire inspection.
We install, inspect, and repair fire alarm systems so your tenants and employees will be alerted in an emergency.