Fire Alarm Inspection Documents

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      Darren ZettlerDarren Zettler
      Participant

      Things to remember when conducting a CAN-ULC-S536-04 Fire Alarm Inspection:

      1. The question on the first page regarding fire alarm documentation (E1. D) is talking about the Appendix C information. This information is required by the Standard and by the Ontario Fire Code and must be ON SITE in the building. Only answer YES to this question if the Appendix C is up to date and in the building. A NO answer here would be a deficiency since it is a required document.

      2. The CFAA number and name of the lead technician is required on the report. So is/are the name(s) of any other technicians who assisted with the fire alarm inspection.

      3. ALL blanks and sections must be filled in. If a section is NOT APPLICABLE then an NA for the start of the section is sufficient.

      4. Monitored systems must have the name of the monitoring station and phone number included on the report. If a system has ULC monitoring then it should also have ALARM, SUPERVISORY, and TROUBLE monitoring. If it is not ULC monitoring then it may just have ALARM or ALARM/TROUBLE only.

      5. Any software based panel must have the blanks for DATE, REVISION and VERSION of software filled in.

      6. Section E2.5 EMERGENCY POWER SUPPLY. ALL battery readings must be filled in and be correct, including all currents and voltages. Question E should be the battery and current readings under FULL LOAD condition (with all the bells ringing and system in full alarm).

      7. Battery date must be included, if date is UNKNOWN then write UNKNOWN and label the batteries with the date during the inspection or find out how to read the battery manufacturer’s date codes. Batteries that are 5 years old are generally considered due to be changed but you may have to check with your individual supplier. ALL batteries have a limited life span and cannot exceed the number of years recommended by the manufacturer.

      8. Calculated battery capacity must be included. The standard covers how to do this in the appendix. For most systems it is 24 (hours) X Supervisory current PLUS 0.5 (half an hour) X Alarm full load current. This result will be in AH (ampere hours) and must be recorded under Question Q. The batteries must be at least this size (in AH) to pass and if using a Battery Capacity meter for the test, the reading must meet or exceed the result of the calculations.

      9. DEVICE LEGEND AND NOTES. All model numbers and manufacturer’s names must be included. If multiple types/models of smokes or other devices use separate lines or somehow include all of them. SENSITIVITY range and test equipment type must also be recorded. The sensitivity range must be provided by the manufacturer or read off of the detector itself. A RANGE has an upper and lower limit and all readings supplied on the device pages must be between these limits or the detector fails. Detectors that fail must be cleaned and retested or replaced and retested. Ranges and sensitivity readings must have a unit of measure. They may be measured in VOLTS, mA, % per foot or some other unit but a unit of measure MUST be included with every reading and with every range. Identify on the device pages what type of detector is installed if there are two different types that use the same units of measure.

      10. Read the standard. Know the standard. It is the law when it comes to doing fire alarm system inspections.

      11. Read the footnotes below the device legend. Here is what they say: Vane type flow switches must have the time delay listed on the device pages. Pressure switches must have the cut-in and cut-out pressures listed on the device pages. Duct smoke detectors must have the sensitivity reading and an airflow or magnehelic reading for every duct smoke. The airflow reading must be within the specs of the duct smoke manufacturer. We do airflow readings because duct smoke sample tube holes can become clogged over time with dust and dirt or duct smoke sample tubes could be installed incorrectly (facing wrong way or duct smoke installed in bad location).

      12. End of line resistors or devices must be listed separately as devices and have alarm (short), open and ground fault tested.

      13. Any devices missed will be questioned and it is up to the owner (or you as his agent) to know and be able to prove (using last year’s report) that the device is both difficult to access AND WAS TESTED THE PREVIOUS YEAR.

      14. Deficiencies must be listed on the report. If a deficiency has been corrected, documentation or something in writing must say it has been corrected.

      15. Smoke detectors must be tested with smoke or simulated smoke. This is known as a GO/NO GO test and confirms operation. On many detectors this test is a separate test from the sensitivity test but is dependent on the tools used.

      I cannot possibly cover all topics with regard to producing a good report but the above should alleviate some of the current and ongoing concerns with fire alarm inspection reports.

      Reports that do not meet the standard DO NOT COMPLY WITH THE FIRE CODE and leave the building owner in violation of the Ontario Fire Code. Fire Code violations can and do result in court prosecution.

      AND

      As per the Ontario Fire Code Division C Subsection 1.2.1. :

      Any person (the technician) who performs work on a fire alarm system shall have successfully completed a program or course acceptable to the Fire Marshal, shall produce a copy of a certificate or document attesting to the successful completion and shall perform the work in accordance with Article 6.3.1.8. and Section 6.3.2. of Division B of the Fire Code.
      This means that there is responsibility for the technician ALSO under the fire code to ensure the work is completed correctly and that proper documentation and records are produced.

      Darren Zettler
      Fire Prevention Officer,
      Brantford Fire Dept.

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