Annual vs. Semi-Annual Fire Alarm Inspection & Testing

Regular testing and inspection of your fire alarm and suppression system is essential for helping to ensure they operate as designed should a fire break out on your premises. And since your fire protection systems is one of the most important elements you have in place to protect your investment, having it routinely inspected will also help extend the life of your system and ensure it meets all current insurance and industry guidelines. 

So, how often should your fire alarm system be tested and inspected? The answer can be found in NFPA 72, the standard for Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. 

What is NFPA 72?

NFPA 72 is the code that dictates the requirements for the installation, performance, testing, inspection, and maintenance of fire alarm systems. To comply with NFPA 72, you must have your fire alarm systems inspected and tested on a regular basis by a qualified professional who is trained and certified. 

NFPA 72 requires most fire alarm systems to be inspected on a monthly, semi-annual, or annual basis. It is important to note that while many local jurisdictions have adopted NFPA 72 as the requirement for inspection and testing frequency, certain jurisdictions may have additional requirements that exceed those included in the code. As a result, you should always check with your local jurisdiction to ensure you meet all local fire codes.

The Difference Between Annual and Semi-Annual Fire Alarm Inspections

An annual fire alarm inspection is usually a longer and more comprehensive test of the overall system compared to what occurs during a semi-annual inspection. The components testing during an annual inspection tend to include:

  • Horns and strobes
  • Pull stations
  • Smoke detectors
  • Flow switches
  • Control panel 
  • Battery and backup power supply panel 
  • Voice evacuation equipment

During an annual inspection, the technician will also send alert signals to the monitoring center to test communication pathways and response times.

In comparison, monthly and semi-annual inspections are much quicker and usually involve testing the functionality of flow switches, tamper switches, and backup batteries. In most cases, initiation and notification devices undergo a visual inspection instead of a functional one.

Whenever you have an annual fire system inspection performed, NFPA 72 requires that an inspection report be completed. This report, like the inspection itself, must be done by a certified technician and include a detailed report of any deficiencies and corrections discovered during the inspection and testing process.

Contact Metro Fire Inspections for Annual and Semi-Annual Testing and Inspection

Metro Fire Inspections performs annual and semi-annual fire system inspections and testing. We serve commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings in all five boroughs of NYC, Westchester County, Nassau County and Suffolk County. At Metro Fire Inspections, all our inspections and testing are performed by certified technicians and every inspection comes with an NFPA 72 compliant inspection report detailing any necessary repair recommendations. 

With FDNY inspectors issuing more violations than at any point in New York City’s history, it has never been more important to ensure your building is compliant with NFPA 72.