Test Fire Alarms and Emergency Exit Lights Now

“Fall Back” and “Fall Behind” are terms used as a guide for adjusting clocks during daylight savings. Fall is a season of transformation; with clocks going back an hour, leaves changing, school resuming and the sun setting earlier each day. With this in mind, fall is often a good time for any facility to revisit some safety precautions. While changing the clocks on walls, looking around and checking or testing emergency exit signs and lights as well as the fire alarm system would be highly beneficial.

In the event of a fire or power outage in the workplace, it is important for contingency plans to be set into place to provide for both notifying employees or other building occupants of a danger and allowing for a safe evacuation. Whether it be a power outage or a fire, there are things that any facility can do to provide safety, warnings and assistance– from smoke detectors to fire alarms to emergency lights – all with the goal in mind of providing a quick and safe exit.

For this reason, it is essential to periodically test fire alarms and replace the lamps or backup batteries in emergency light systems to maintain them working properly and ready when an emergency occurs. In addition to providing a list of items facilities need to have in an event of a fire or power outage, this article will cover some techniques on just how to test alarms, emergency exit, and emergency lighting systems.

Fire Alarm Testing

There are several reasons to test fire alarms. One of which of course, is to ensure it will work in the time of need, and that it – or its components – don’t need replacing. The other reason is false alarms. False alarms not only have to be paid for by the local fire department, but they also can wind up costing a fine, which is an additional reason testing regularly is important.

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A requirement for a facility or business’s insurance often times is to have a working fire alarm on the property – and without a working alarm, insurance could be in violation. Not having commercial fire alarms tested each year can cost a facility more than the cost of an inspection, another reason it is urgent to test and maintain fire alarms every year in order to be in compliance with insurance policies.

The process of maintaining fire alarm systems contains several steps:

  1. Test and calibrate alarm sensors – such as flame and smoke detectors, per the facility’s instructions or specifications. This will require a knowledge on the different sensors and their testing requirements, failure modes and requirements for re-installation.
  2. Simulate inputs and test the annunciators.
  3. Set the sensitivity. This requires understanding and knowledge of a particular system, the specific application and fire detection theory.
  4. Coordinate with local fire department when testing the input to their system.
  5. Check battery for corrosion, as well as the expiration date. If necessary, replace the battery.

Most system manufacturers will recommend at least one full annual test and inspection after installation. If improperly maintained, any fire alarm system can become ineffective, which is why it is essential to keep up with testing the system.

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While checking fire alarms, it’s a good time to look at other preventative fire supply options that may be missing. Perhaps now might be a good time to pick up fire suppression foam, sealants and more. Consider replacing an existing smoke or carbon monoxide detector as well.

Emergency Lighting and Exit Signage Testing

Every day, power outages occur for one reason or another all across the country. Some may think that the main purpose behind having an exit sign is to mark stairwells and building exists. This is actually a secondary purpose for lighted LED exit signs. The primary function for lighted exit signs is to provide visibility through smoke. This will allow for finding the exit in the event of an emergency situation quickly. In many circumstances, power outages are brought on by a fire in the building. In these type of cases, it can be difficult to locate the emergency exit – from both a power outage and a presence of smoke.

Testing emergency lights is an important step – even in the installation process. One reason for testing once it is installed is to make sure there aren’t any external factors – such as obstructions that would block view of lights. This allows for any last minute changes and adjustments to be made. After installation, regular testing and maintenance is a requirement to any emergency lighting system. While checking these systems seem tedious, it is nevertheless essential.

Illumination is necessary along exit access pathways that lead to stairs, aisles and ramps. Typically, emergency lighting is found along walls in compact units. Exit signs are designed to stay on all the time. An exit sign that appears to be working normally may not work at all during a power failure if the low voltage bulbs have burned out. Emergency power to exit signs and emergency light fixtures can be provided by an emergency power generator.

Most emergency lights or signs contain a small “push to test” button. This button can be pressed and held for 30 seconds to test the bulbs and the battery. The lights should go on and remain at the same consistent brightness level for the full 30 seconds. Some defective batteries will maintain a long enough charge to fully light up the bulbs for a few seconds, but they can lose power rapidly. By testing these lights for at least thirty seconds, it can make sure the batteries don’t just have a “surface charge”.

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Emergency exit signs, lights, fire alarms and other fire safety equipment are all available from Steiner Electric. For additional information or to have any questions answered, call Steiner today at 1-800-STEINER (783-4637).

 

Attend the 2016 ChicaGO Safety and Sustainability Conference

Chicago Safety and Sustainability Conference

The Electric Association will once again be presenting the annual ChicaGO Safety & Sustainability Conference on Thursday, January 21st, 2016 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.

This year’s conference features a great line-up of educational programs that will be of interest to all segments of the electrical and construction industries. Inspectors, planners, architects, contractors, engineers, and members of the construction community will get a sneak peek at the major changes coming to the 2017 National Electrical Code. Attendees will have many different tracks of seminars to choose from throughout the day, spanning an array of topics including: OSHA regulations and managing your company’s safety plan, how to sell an energy efficient project, implementing renewable energies into your construction projects, the future of lighting technology, the Government’s sustainability plans, and much more.

550+ Attendees are expected to attend in 2016!

Who Should AttendRaffle Grand Prize of $10,000

  • Building owners
  • Facility Managers
  • Electrical contractors, electricians, installers, project managers
  • Architects, engineers, specifiers, designers
  • Electrical and building inspectors
  • Safety Managers and Professionals
  • HVAC and Mechanical contractors
  • Public sector planners: municipalities, schools, hospitals
  • Energy professionals, consultants, utilities
  • Industrial maintenance supervisors & personnel

Conference Details

  • Date:
    • Thursday, January 21, 2016
  • Time:
    • Workshops – 8am to 4pm
    • Tradeshow – 11am to 6pm
    • Networking Reception – 4pm to 6pm
  • Location:
    • Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
    • 5555 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018

Register Now for Chicago Safety and Sustainability Conference

Join Steiner Electric, the Electric Association, and partnering organizations at Chicagoland’s largest electrical construction conference of the year!

Safety with Electrical Receptacles

LightingAt Steiner Electric, safety is one of our top priorities. Safety not only motivates us in all of the industries we serve, it has also driven countless technological advancements. Nowhere is that more apparent than with innovations in electricity. Continue reading “Safety with Electrical Receptacles”

Safety Gear and Safety Training are Easy Investments

A safe working environment demands attention to detail. That’s true inside the factory and its true out in the field. Personal safety gear coupled with a complete understanding of best practices are the foundations of a safe working environment. Yet, while the climate-controlled industrial environment requires a broad array of protection supplies, the hazards underneath a roof are reasonably predictable. Continue reading “Safety Gear and Safety Training are Easy Investments”

Vigilance in Consumer Safety

Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) enjoys a Underwriter-Laboratoriesstellar reputation for their protection of consumers through extensive product testing. Recently, UL expanded their commitment to consumer safety with the launch of a new website called Safebee. Like UL’s primary website, Safebee includes information on product safety, but the majority of the site’s articles focus on consumer behaviors and how people can protect themselves at home, the outdoors, when using technology and more.

UL’s roots are in electrical safety, something that requires both reliable products and informed consumers. Fortunately, to those ends, UL is not alone. The National Electrical Code (NEC) was also established early in nationwide electrification efforts. It has continued to be relevant for over a century by revising safety standards for products and installation procedures every three years. Though local regulations may vary from state to state, the NEC has been widely adopted throughout the nation.

The full NEC guidelines are understandably long and complex, but the most recent mandates regarding electrical outlets are intended to be simple enough for most homeowners with a basic level of do-it-yourself skills to adopt. While the mandates technically apply only to new builds and renovations, the NEC recommends everyone retrofit non-compliant outlets.

For example, Tamper Resistant Receptacles are outlets with an internal shutter mechanism. They are designed to keep children from inserting small objects into an outlet. The shutter requires equal pressure from the prongs of a plug to release and allow access to the circuit.

Tamper-resistant-receptaclesTamper-resistant-receptacles

Another product mandated by the NEC is the Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter, designed to sense a potential for arcing, in which it will then cut power to the circuit. Arcing is major fire hazard that can occur due to hot, damaged, or overtaxed wires or devices.

A wide range of NEC-compliant electrical outlets and components and can be found here at Steiner.

 

Safety First in the Electrical World

We all take electricity for granted; we turn the power on, lights come up, computers turn on, etc. When our electrical gadgets don’t work, we try to troubleshoot the issues ourselves. This troubleshooting is why we have a yearly safety reminder – May is National Electrical Safety Month.

National Electrical Safety Month Steiner Electric Continue reading “Safety First in the Electrical World”