When your fire alarm panel is in trouble it could mean your building and occupants are at high risk. In this post we will discuss why it is import to check the status of your fire alarm panel daily, what each indicating light could mean, and when your should call your service provider for service.
Performing a daily check of your fire alarm system isn’t just important from a maintenance standpoint, it also a requirement by most codes. This daily check should be a part of your daily routine and can help ensure that your building, assets and occupants are protected. This daily check only requires that the system status be visually confirmed to ensure that the only light(typically LED) only that panel that is lite is for A/C power. With more advanced systems you may have an LCD(liquid crystal display) and LED indication lights. Regardless of the make and model of the system at your premises, the only acceptable status is the “NORMAL” or “ALL SYSTEMS CLEAR” and or a green LED to indicate the panel is receiving A/C power. If the panel has any other lights or indications present it is likely time to call your service provider.
Before calling your service company it is important to be able to distinguish the different statuses your fire alarm panel is capable of monitoring/indicating, this can depend on the age and intelligibility of the system.
TROUBLE CONDITIONS, are indicated by a yellow LED. Yellow LED’s present themselves in different locations on the panel depending on what is being affected. Exampe 1; A Mircom FA-1000 fire alarm panel could have a yellow LED lit beside the words “common trouble”, as well as a yellow LED light beside “zone 3, 3rd floor”. This could indicate that a wire condition on the 3rd floor exists. Example 2; Again, a Mircom FA-1000 fire alarm panrl could have a yellow LED beside “Common Trouble” and “Remote Fail” which could indicate a power issue to the panels remote annunciator. Some trouble conditions do not need immediate attention and can be tended to during regular business hours however, you may need to maintain fire watch until the problem is resolved.
SUPERVISORY CONDITIONS, are typically indicated by and orange or amber LED. Newer fire alarm panels have a common supervisory LED and are also capable of being lit next to the corresponding zone. Supervisory conditions indicate that the normal status of a device or operation is in an abnormal state, examples of these conditions are; main sprinkler SV (usually means a valve is partially or fully closed), sprinkler room low pressure (indicates that the temperature in the room has dropped below a certain temperature). These conditions should receive immediate attention, delaying a request for service could result in extensive damage or failure of a system to operate altogether.
FIRE ALARM CONDITIONS, are indicated by a red LED. In the event of an alarm the LED next to “Alarm” or “Fire Alarm” will be lit, additionally the LED next to the corresponding zone will be lit and the bells, horns, etc. will sound throughout. This condition cannot be ignored. Follow the instructions contained in your fire safety plan and provided by the local Authority Having Jurisdiction. It is important that the alarm not be reset or silenced without permission from the fire department. You will likely be instructed to have a service company provide service to determine the cause and fix it if applicable.
POSSIBLE MAINTENANCE SOLUTIONS. Preventative maintenance can help eliminate or reduce these problem conditions. Having a service company perform monthly, quarterly and annual inspections can help reduce short and long term operating costs and greatly extended the life of your fire alarm system and other fire protection equipment.