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The Basics of Fire Alarm Maintenance

As simple as they are, fire alarms can literally be the difference between life and death if a fire breaks out in your building. Teamed up with a fire sprinkler system and a set of fire extinguishers, your fire alarms will provide a first response to a developing fire and help you escape and call the fire department as early as possible. In order to operate at their best, fire alarms need frequent maintenance. But what exactly is involved in “fire alarm maintenance?”

Fire Alarm Inspection

The first step of any fire alarm maintenance plan is a fire alarm system inspection. Fire alarm inspection should include a superficial visual check of your fire alarm to make sure nothing obvious is out of whack – this includes things like missing or damaged devices, improper fire alarm locations or the use of non-rated components – along with a review of the original drawings and operations manuals, if these can be obtained.

Fire Alarm Testing

Following the visual fire alarm inspection, Kauffman Co will run a test of your fire alarm system to make sure it will activate in response to a real fire. Note: you should let the people in your building know when this is about to happen – you don’t want anyone spilling coffee on themselves!

You should have your fire alarms tested annually. The first components that should be tested are the initiating devices and alarm sensors, including the smoke and heat detectors. Fun fact – we don’t use real smoke to test your alarms – it’s actually a synthetic smoke-like product that basically does the same thing.

In addition to testing smoke detectors on the actual fire alarms, you should also make sure your duct detectors are tested. While duct detectors come with a TEST button, they should also be subjected to a true smoke entry test to check their sensitivity.


Fire alarm tests often turn up problems – this is usually not your fault, it just happens. Problems of any kind should be considered serious and corrected right away, or as quickly as possible – this responsibility falls on the business owner. After all fire alarm testing and maintenance is complete, the fire alarm maintenance professional will document the results and leave them with the business owner.

Fire alarm maintenance is one of the most important things you can do to protect life and property in your building. If you need maintenance or testing for your Houston fire alarms, don’t wait – call Kauffman Co today!

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