A successful inspection and testing program for fire-alarm and detection systems requires involvement from the facility and fire-alarm service company. Proper recordkeeping provides the testing agency with specific system functions, layout, and equipment that requires testing and inspection.

Also, past inspection records provide the fire-alarm service company with the history of system testing and inspections, and they identify system issues that required repair, as well as dates the system repairs occurred.

Choosing the right service company is critical to ensure the system undergoes proper testing and inspection. NFPA 72 provides criteria for the qualifications and experience for service personnel. Examples include factory-trained personnel certified to service the specific type and brand of fire-alarm-system, as well as personnel certified by a nationally recognized fire-alarm certification organization acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction.

In addition to these requirements, the service personnel must be able to understand shop drawings because not all system designs and configurations are identical.

William “Lanny” Ray, SET, is a fire-protection consultant for the Las Vegas office of JBA Consulting Engineers, a building systems engineering firm. He has more than 13 years of experience in fire-alarm system design, project management, and consulting services for health care, hotel, casino, performing arts, and retail facilities.