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When Should I Upgrade My Commercial Fire Alarm System?

Fire prevention is a serious concern for commercial buildings. Because of this, fire alarms are one of the most critical systems in terms of building safety and code compliance. However, like most other building components, your fire alarm system won’t last forever. Is it time for you to upgrade your fire alarm system? Learn to recognize the signs that your fire alarm is nearing the end of its useful lifespan.

Signs of Fire Alarm Replacement

There are certain signs that indicate it might be time to upgrade and replace your current fire alarm.

Note: If you ever have any questions about the operation or lifespan of your fire alarm, it’s best to contact a licensed fire protection company.

System failure: When a component fails, you must replace it as soon as possible to stay up to code and ensure a safe building environment.

Excessive repairs: Repeat visits from a fire alarm company could be a sign of imminent breakdown. Replacing the entire system may save your company more in the long run, when compared to increasingly expensive and frequent repairs.

Parts no longer available: Sometimes, manufacturers upgrade the fire alarm technology they offer and phase out old components. When finding replacement parts becomes all but impossible, it’s time to upgrade the fire alarm system.

Building renovations: Adding elevators, adjusting room sizes, and making other modifications could require fire alarm replacement in order to remain code compliant.

Code changes: These days, fire codes don’t usually experience drastic changes, but even small alterations in a code could affect your business and make an upgrade necessary.

Incompatibility of system components: Building fire detection codes can be complex. This may lead to an improper retrofit. If you discover that your fire detection system and audible devices are not compliant, you may need to upgrade the system to meet current retrofit legislation.

Average Lifespan of a Fire Alarm System

The standard timeframe for fire alarm systems to remain in operation is 12 to 15 years. Of course, this is assuming you engage in regular inspections, testing and maintenance. Plus, in order to last this long, the fire alarm system must be properly designed and installed. Otherwise, reliability deteriorates faster and confidence in your fire alarm system wanes.

Benefits of Installing a New Fire Alarm System

It may seem like a large investment, but installing a new fire alarm system offers:

  • Better technology used to improve areas of detection
  • Enhanced off-site monitoring technology able to communicate with an off-premises Fire-Signal Receiving Station and a second reporting location, such as a corporate office, using the Internet and/or a cell phone network
  • Reduced maintenance visits and the associated costs and disrupted operation
  • Improved sensing technology to decrease the number of false alarms
  • Advancements in voice evacuation systems to overcome society’s desensitization to fire alarm horns and to convey specific messages to building occupants, whether pre-recorded or spoken live
  • Improved response time and performance
  • Easier-to-use control mechanisms

Importance of Fire Alarms in Commercial Properties

Why is a fire alarm system necessary for your commercial building or facility? Here are some of the main factors:

Code compliance: The first reason to make sure your fire alarm is up-to-date is simply to obey the rules. Failure to comply can result in reprimands and fines.

Smoke and fire detection: You can’t be in every room of your commercial building at the same time. A fire alarm alerts you of fire, smoke, or heat in other areas of the building.

Audible and visual signal: As a life safety system, one of the fundamental purposes of fire alarms is to alert anyone in the building of danger so they can escape before the condition escalates further.

Activate fire suppression system: Fire sprinklers, foam systems, and other automated fire suppressants activate based on information from the fire alarm system. These devices can make the difference between salvaging your building and being forced to watch it burn to the ground.

Notification system: Fire alarms alert local authorities and emergency personnel of the situation. Their immediate response is critical for getting a commercial building fire under control.

Please contact Kauffman Co. today to learn whether you need to upgrade your fire alarm system if you are located in the Houston, Texas area.

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