We receive calls daily from customers wishing to install devices that secure their homes and businesses against a variety of threats. These may include means to secure against burglary and environmental damage. However, many home and business owners fail to fully address the most important area of security: life safety. Security equipment that can save a life sits at the very top of our priority list for both homes and businesses. In this post, we provide some valuable tips for adding life safety equipment to help you navigate this often-tricky aspect of security.
First, we’ll explain how our monitoring services can make your security devices more effective than ever. Our central-station based monitoring can help secure your property even during an extended absence. From there, we’ll show you how working with a professional security company provides many benefits when designing and executing a plan for life safety-based security. Then, we’ll shift our focus to the importance of discussing your plans with the local authorities. This rings expecially true if you plan to add security as a DIY project. Finally, we’ll look at how we test this equipment, and how often. Staying current with equipment testing lets you know your equipment will work for you when you need it most! Now, let’s dive in with a look at the importance of monitoring your life safety devices.
Take Advantage of our Security Monitoring Services
One of the most attractive aspects of adding any security to your property lies in the ability to connect devices to a professional monitoring service. When we install a security or fire system for our customers, we also connect their alarms to our own monitoring service. In doing so, we make sure that our central station responds to any alarm activations. Therefore, we can create a fire department dispatch by installing monitored smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide (or “CO”) detectors on your property.
For many businesses, monitored life safety equipment is a required part of their security plans. We’ll touch on that aspect of security a little bit later. However, the owners of homes and even of many small businesses get to decide whether or not to add this security. Of course, we always recommend adding monitored fire and CO detection. Choosing to do so could save your home or business — or even a life — during an emergency. For these reasons, many of our customers consider this a “no brainer.” Next up, let’s see why working with a professional security outfit sits near the top of our tips for adding life safety equipment.
Work with a Professional Security Company
Over the course of our 35 years in business, we’ve helped over a thousand customers create their security plans. Of course, these plans include installing the types of life safety equipment described in this post. Therefore, when people ask us about the benefits of working with a security company, we have the answers ready for them! For starters, installing security equipment carries certain legal requirements with it. For example, our company must hold licenses to install security equipment in the states in which we complete work. Additionally, our technicians must hold the proper credentials to work in their respective states as well.
Furthermore, we must pull the proper electrical permits to run wiring for security-related work. This also allows the municipalities we complete work in to inspect our work afterwards. If you install life safety equipment while failing to have all of the proper legal prerequiseites completed, you can run into serious trouble down the road. This “trouble” can include failed inspections in some cases. Even worse, you may run into insurance-related issues if you experience an emergency and your insurance company finds out you installed life safety equipment without working with a company that had the proper permissions and licenses! On the subject of doing things the right way, let’s also look at the importance of consulting your local authorities about the security work you wish to complete.
Consult the Proper Legal Authorities
When we install life safety devices, we have several legal guidelines to follow. For example, the International Code Council (ICC) and the National Fire Protection Alliance (NFPA) create the codes and standards for a number of safety measures. They apply to several industries, including construction, mechanical work, and plumbing. The most relevant code for smoke alarm requirements put out by the ICC is the International Building Code, or “IBC.” The code that provides guidelines for fire alarm system design is the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, or “NFPA 72.” Just as with fire alarms, the NFPA has a large say in commercial fire extinguisher requirements. In this case, NFPA 10 provides the blueprint for extinguisher installation.
Additionally, local building departments and fire authorities also have their own say in how they want life safety equipment set up. Fire codes and local code adjustments can leave some room for interpretation. In these instances, local authorities decide the proper course of action. In industry terminology, we deem those calling the shots as the “Authority Having Jurisdiction,” or “AHJ.” Consulting the local authorities — usually starting with the building and fire departments — when considering adding life safety-based security will give you a great start. This allows you to know what type of equipment you must install, as well as what options you might have for voluntary security additions as well. Now, let’s turn our attention to maintaining a schedule for equipment inspection and testing.
Keep up with Inspections and Testing
When it comes to fire alarm testing requirements, we must follow the guidelines contained in NFPA 72. This code mandates that commercial properties have a licensed fire alarm company complete an annual test. 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.
Fire extinguishers must also meet strict installation and maintenance guidelines. The aforementioned NFPA 10 creates guidelines for both fire extinguisher installation and maintenance. Like fire alarm components, commercial fire extinguishers require an annual inspection. We can perform inspections onsite or at our own office if customers bring their extinguishers in. 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 failure during an onsite inspection.
As you can imagine, failing to have a required annual inspection completed can lead to insurance issues. Moreover, it can also lead to equipment malfunctioning when you most count on it. For these reasons, keeping up with these testing and inspections represents an important bit of our tips for adding life safety equipment!
Putting Our Tips for Life Safety Equipment to Work for You
We hope that this post has given you some guidance in adding life safety-based security to your home or business. If you do have any questions after reading this post, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will gladly help you through the process of installing this priceless equipment. Additionally, we also offer free site surveys to both new and existing customers to help them through this process as well. We’ll happily pay you a visit and help you address any and all of your security concerns. While on site, we can also make our own suggestions based on our observations of your home or business. Together, we can create a complete security plan that includes the life safety devices you need to keep your property as safe and secure as possible!