smoke detectors

Smoke Detector Sensitivity Testing

Your fire safety system depends on the accurate detection of smoke by your smoke detectors. In order to ensure your smoke detectors are working properly, and able to protect your people and assets, you must have sensitivity testing completed on a regular basis.

Smoke detectors are designed to function effectively within a specific range of sensitivity to smoke. This range is set by the manufacturer and the devices are required by NFPA to be tested regularly to ensure they remain within it. If a smoke detector is not as sensitive as it should be, then it may not react as quickly as it should to a fire. However, if the smoke detector is too sensitive, then you could have recurring nuisance alarms.

There are several options for performing sensitivity tests on smoke detectors. Sensitivity tests can be conducted by a recognized, calibrated test method with smoke or listed aerosol, or with equipment specifically designed for calibrating sensitivity in smoke detectors. There are listed control equipment arranged to perform sensitivity ranges and calibrated sensitivity test instruments designed by the smoke detector manufacturers. You can also use a combination smoke detector/control unit where the detector causes a signal at the control panel unit when its sensitivity is outside its listed sensitivity ranges.

During sensitivity testing, if a detector fails, it will need to be cleaned and retested. Cleaning smoke detectors should be left to your Life Safety Partner, as they will clean the smoke detector screen and chamber using a non-electrostatic vacuum specifically designed to prevent damage to the detector. After cleaning, the detector will be retested, if it fails again then it needs to be removed from service.

Sensitivity testing must be completed within one year of installation and every other year after that. After the second test, if the detector is within its listed sensitivity range for two consecutive tests, then the next sensitivity test is required in five years.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Nick Duke
Nick Duke

Are You Sprinkler Savvy or Sprinklerstitous?

Sprinkler Savvy or Sprinklerstitious? Take This Test to Find Out.

There’s a lot of misinformation about fire sprinkler systems out there. Do you have the right information, or are you sprinklerstitious too?

Answer true or false to these statements. Scroll down for the answers and explanations to see how much you know!

1. Water damage from a sprinkler system costs more than the fire damage it prevents

2. Only one or two sprinkler heads go off when there’s a fire.

3. All you need is a smoke detector to save lives.

4. Sprinklers were designed to protect property, not so much lives.

5. Sprinklers don’t add too much additional cost to construction projects.

6. New buildings are much safer than older buildings.

7. Sprinkler systems can work fine in freezing temperatures.

8. Smoke detectors don’t set sprinklers off.

9. Smoke detectors will not put out a fire.

10. Most insurance companies value the use of fire sprinkler systems.

True or False Sprinkler Test Answers.

1. False. Water damage from a sprinkler will be much less severe than fire damage. Think of it this way, would you rather have your building get a little wet or let it burn to the ground.

2. True. Contrary to Hollywood portrayals, each sprinkler is individually activated. Only those affected by heat at 165 degrees will activate.

3. False. Smoke detectors save lives in offering a warning to get out. For people that have trouble moving, like the elderly, a sprinkler system will put out a fire early and keep everyone safe.

4. False. Sprinklers will protect both lives and property. In fact, statistics show that there has never been any multiple loss of life in a fully sprinklered building.

5. True. Sprinklers costs about 1-2% of the total construction costs. They are comparable to carpet costs, paved driveways, or adding a whirlpool bath.

6. False. Newer construction techniques make a facility much more susceptible to fire. You can learn more information from NFPA here.

7. True. With the right equipment, sprinkler systems will work fine in cold temperatures. You may need a dry pipe or preaction system as an alternative to water filled pipes.

8. True. Detectors are there to sense a fire and talk back to the panel. The panel will sound an alarm and notify the necessary parties to handle the emergency. Detectors will not set off the sprinklers.

9. False. Again, detectors offer warning, but will not put out any fires. You need some sort of suppression equipment for that.

10. True. Insurance companies will sometimes lower the value of your premiums and some are leading advocates for sprinkler systems.

So, are you sprinkler savvy, or sprinklerstitous? Do you have more questions? Click here to contact us.

 

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds