Regular maintenance, periodic inspection and testing of fire protection systems and equipment are essential to safeguarding occupants of the building in the event of an emergency. Ultimately, it is the legal responsibility of the building owner and/or their management agency to adequately protect building occupants, and maintain records verifying compliance with the fire code. As with any equipment, life safety systems deteriorate over time due to aging of the components and external factors such as corrosive environments. Furthermore, since fire protection equipment is used infrequently, mandatory fire code inspections and tests must be scheduled to prove reliability, operability, and to detect unsatisfactory conditions. It is far better to identify and resolve any faults prior to an emergency than to discover problems during the crisis.Emergencies seldom give warning before they strike. Thus, it is essential that fire protection equipment be inspected, tested, and maintained to be certain it is functional at all times. Managementmust establish an effective equipment inspection program. As these visual inspections are conducted by the property operators and their maintenance personnel, problem areas are likely to stand out and are usually noticed immediately.The same building personnel may be responsible for performing the monthly inspections of the fire safety equipment as required by the fire code. From activating pull stations and sprinkler risers, to signing off the fire extinguishers tags, inspections carry huge responsibilities for the staff conducting them. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that all in-house personnel who do conduct monthly testing of fire equipment have been fully trained. They are to have a clear understanding of the fire code with respect to the standard testing procedures. Furthermore, detailed recording of test and check results is vital so that management and auditors can confirm the current status of the fire equipment. In some cases, property management may opt to sub-contract out the fire equipment monthly audits to specialized firms
To provide guidelines for building operators, the building fire safety plan contains an entire section on “MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENTS OF BUILDING FIRE/LIFE SAFETY SYSTEMS/EQUIPMENT” which lists the requirements on conducting the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and semi-annual checks, inspections and tests. In order to comply with the fire code, the methods, techniques, timetables for testingand logging are to be established and documented. This also helps ensure the education of staffand management in the operation of safety equipment. In some cases, it may be necessary for building operators to provide step-by-step hands-on training to the selected building personnel performing the preventative maintenance.The fire and life safety equipment in the building is listed in the audit summary of the fire safety plan. This also includes the monthly maintenance requirements of sprinklers, hydrants, extinguishers, emergency lighting, fire hoses and fire department connections, etc.Check means a visual observation, to ensure the device or system is in place and is not obviously damaged or obstructed. Inspect means a physical examination, to determine that the device or system will apparently perform in accordance with its intended function.Test means the operation of a device or system to ensure that it will perform in accordance with its intended operation or function.It is stated in the Fire Code that records of all tests and corrective measures are required to be retained for a minimum of 2 years. If time intervals between tests exceed two years, the records shall be retained for the period of the test interval plus one year. The records are to be made available upon request to the Chief Fire Official.
This article was contributed by Firepoint Inc, serving the GTA since 1997, developing fire department approved fire safety plans for newly constructed and existing buildings. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, the bulletin publishers and authors do not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current and shall not be liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the bulletin information. Bulletin reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the written consent of Firepoint Inc. Copyright 2021 – All Rights Reserved.See www.firepoint.ca or call 905-874-9400.