As a board member, your homeowners trust you to keep the community safe and well-maintained. Fire alarm systems are one of the main requirements to keep homes safe and having them inspected, tested and serviced is crucial. Read on to learn everything you need to know about short and long-term fire alarm maintenance.
Each quarter, your association is responsible for hiring an approved contractor to perform a regular fire alarm inspection. During these quarterly checks, maintenance and repairs are performed on all fire alarm components, emergency lighting fixtures, fire extinguishers and exit signage in common areas, not inside resident units. These checks are a maintenance cost typically paid for using operating funds.
Fire alarms, fire sprinklers and carbon monoxide detectors inside resident units are required by law to be serviced annually by your local fire department or fire marshal. During this inspection, a professional will change the batteries, check the sound system and set the alarm off to ensure everything works properly.
For these annual checks, it is important to note that you must provide homeowners with plenty of notice that an inspector will be entering their unit and performing routine fire alarm maintenance. You should inform residents at least two weeks beforehand using a community management app like TownSq, notices on doors, or any other form of communication your community has found effective. Just like the quarterly checks, annual alarm checks are a maintenance cost paid for using operating funds. Keep in mind that residents must be present, or their home easily accessible during the scheduled time, because additional inspector visits can become costly.
Every five years
More thorough fire alarm maintenance is required every five years. Board members should budget for the five-year alarm maintenance in the reserve studies. This testing is more intensive, and often times, components may need to be replaced or updated.
Although tedious, fire alarm maintenance is not something to take lightly. If these systems aren’t maintained properly, your community and residents can be at risk. Don’t take the chance - make sure to stay on top of the required maintenance and educate your residents on best practices, fire safety precautions and the emergency plans in place.