As complete security integrators, we oversee every step of the entire security process. Of course, this includes system design and installation. Additionally, we also test our equipment and fully train customers on its use. Most of our customers expect and anticipate these processes. However, we also offer continued support in the form of completing your security inspections. This has long remained one of the lesser-known aspects of security maintenance. In this post, we review the types of inspections that we can complete for you!

First, we’ll look at cases where the law requires us to inspect different aspects of your security. Specifically, these inspections cover a couple important types of commercial security measures. From there, we’ll shift our focus to non-required security inspections. These include inspections performed by customers, as well as ones that we complete. Now, let’s get started with an overview of inspections that we perform due to legal requirements.

Legally-Required Inspections

As we mentioned above, some of the security inspections we execute stem from legal mandates. These laws come from industry-related codes that states ratify into law. Occasionally, states will make some amendments to codes as they create their laws. However, for the most part, familiarizing yourself with the codes will go a long way towards understanding the laws. In this section, we’ll explain both the requirements and the procedures for tesing fire systems and existinguishers, respectively. Let’s dive in!

The NFPA 72 Fire Alarm Code Book

States create their fire alarm regulations largely based on the guidelines found in the NFPA 72 fire alarm code.

Fire System Inspections

When it comes to fire alarm testing requirements, we must follow the guidelines contained in the National Fire Alarm and Signal Code created by the National Fire Protection Association (or NFPA). The NFPA refers to the National Fire Alarm and Signal Code as “NFPA 72.” This code mandates that commercial properties have a licensed fire alarm company — such as ourselves — test the onsite fire alarm equipment annually. Additionally, the code also creates guidelines for the reports that we must create upon completing the inspection.

In order for a fire alarm to pass a test, each component of the alarm’s system must work properly. This includes verifying the performance of any smoke and heat detectors on the system. Furthermore, we must also test additional devices such as manual pull stations and horn strobes. Finally, we also have to ensure that the alarm’s communication to our central station is also intact. This allows you to know that your alarm will call for help when needed.

Finally, we must take specific steps if a substantial portion of a fire alarm system fails. In these cases, customers have 8 hours to fix the issues at hand. After 8 hours, we must contact the customer’s local fire department and let them know about the issue. At that point, the fire department decides how to approach the situation. In extreme cases, they can even decide to have the building closed until the owners address the issue. Now, let’s take a look at some of the security inspection requirements related to fire extinguishers.

Extinguisher Inspections

Like fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers must meet strict installation and maintenance guidelines. The NFPA also writes the code books governing these factors. In the case of extinguisher regulations, building owners and fire extinguisher professionals follow “NFPA 10.” This code book creates guidelines for both fire extinguisher installation and maintenance.

Commercial fire extinguishers require an annual inspection that we can perform onsite or at our own office if customers bring their extinguishers in. We clean the extinguishers and make sure that their pressure gauge indicates the proper pressure for successful discharge. As long as the extinguisher passes inspection, we then “tag” it. This tag shows the month and year that we last serviced the extinguisher. NFPA 10 contains several reasons that extinguishers may fail this inspection. Extensive damage to extinguishers, for example, will cause them to fail. Using the wrong size or type of extinguisher for a given application will also lead to a failed inspection during on-site inspections.

Additionally, we perform more in-depth maintenance on most extinguishers every 6 years. During this maintenance, we must empty and recharge the extinguishers. Finally, we complete performance testing on most extinguisher types after 12 years. Failing to complete either extinguisher or fire alarm system maintenance can lead to legal troubles. These can include both fines and insurance-related issues as well. Now, let’s turn our attention to completing your security inspections that fall outside of legal guidelines.

Non-Required Inspections

Although most of the inspections that we complete must conform to legal requirements, there are certainly some excpetions. In this section, we review a couple ways we help completing your security inspections outside of law and code-driven scenarios. These include inspections that we can help you complete over the phone while you execute them. They also include voluntary tests that we perform annually. So let’s begin by checking out how you can test your system with our help at any time!

Customer-Generated System Tests

We recommend taking a few practical steps towards maintaining your security equipment. For starters, we ask our customers to visually inspect security equipment on a regular basis, especially in basements, garages, or in other areas where dirt may collect. A buildup of dirt in an environmental sensor or a developing spiderweb in a motion detector can easily cause a malfunction. Taking this advice can keep your equipment running for years longer than it would if you let dirt and grime build up until it makes your security equipment fail.

In addition to checking on your sensors, we also recommend testing your alarm’s monitoring. To perform this test, simply call your alarm company and have them put your system on “test” mode. This will cancel the usual central station response to an alarm. At that point, the person from your alarm company can stay on the line while you arm your security system. After completing this step, simply open a door or window to activate the alarm. After 30 seconds or so, your security company can see the alarm signal come through and let you know. Performing these tests regularly can help you catch any issues before they keep your alarm from dialing out during an emergency. Now, let’s shift our focus to a voluntary — but important — test that we perform in customers’ homes and businesses.

A paper with an "A+" grade on it.

We inspect many of our customers’ security systems on an annual basis to ensure full system performance.

Annual Burglar Alarm Tests

While inspecting a security system is never mandatory, we still offer this service for both commercial and residential customers. While on site, we test the communication between your alarm and our central station. Additionally, we also test every individual alarm contact for functionality, and generally make sure things stay tidy and clean with each part of the alarm as we inspect them as well.

Furthermore, we even offer warranty plans that include annual testing and inspections of burglar-alarm related components for no additional cost! Signing up for one of these plans greatly enhances your security’s long-term effectiveness. Of course, doing so can also save you money in cases where you require us to replace any security-related items. Adding this service has long remained one of our top alarm maintenance tips due to the short-term and long-term security and cost benefits, in addition to the aditional peace of mind these plans provide.

Putting it All Together and Completing Your Security Inspections

We hope that this post helps you see how we assist with completing your security inspections. As always, we encourage you to contact us with any questions this post may raise for you. We will happily answer any and all of your security-related inquiries. Perhaps you have security measures in place and need assistance with inspecting and maintaining them. Or, maybe you need to build a complete security plan from the ground up. Either way, we are here to help! Together, we can work with you to keep your valuables, your property, and everyone on your property as safe and secure as possible.