Reducing False Alarms: Troubleshooting Commercial Fire Alarm Systems

Commercial fire alarm systems play a vital role in safeguarding occupants and minimizing fire-related emergencies in businesses. However, false alarms from these systems can cause unnecessary panic and strain resources for fire departments. In Hampden Township alone, more than 100 calls were false alarms due to commercial fire alarm systems in June. To assist our dedicated volunteer fire departments in serving our community better, let's delve into common issues with commercial fire alarm systems and explore troubleshooting tips to minimize false alarms.

False Alarms:

  • Check for environmental factors: Verify if any environmental factors, such as steam, dust, or humidity, are triggering the alarm. 
  • Check wiring and connections: Inspect the wiring connections to ensure they are secure and free from any loose connections or short circuits. 
  • Review sensitivity settings: If false alarms persist, consider adjusting the sensitivity settings of the detectors. Consult the manufacturer's guidelines for proper adjustment. 

System Power Issues: 

  • Check power supply: Verify that the system is receiving power from the main power source. Inspect the circuit breakers or fuses to ensure they are not tripped or blown. 
  • Battery inspection: If the system has a backup battery, check its condition. Ensure it is properly connected and replace it if it is expired or not functioning correctly. 
  • Power surge protection: Install surge protectors to safeguard the system against power surges, which can damage components or cause malfunctions. 

Malfunctioning Detectors:

  • Clean detectors: Dust, dirt, or other contaminants can hinder detector performance. Carefully clean the detectors following the manufacturer's instructions to maintain their effectiveness. 
  • Test detectors: Most fire alarm systems have a testing feature. Activate the test mode to ensure each detector is functioning correctly. Replace any faulty detectors promptly. 

Faulty Control Panel:

  • Check panel indicators: Review the control panel's indicators for any error codes or abnormal statuses. Consult the system's documentation or contact the manufacturer for assistance in troubleshooting specific error codes. 
  • Reset control panel: Try resetting the control panel by powering it off and on again. This can resolve temporary glitches or software issues.

False alarms from commercial fire alarm systems burden fire departments and disrupt normal business operations, especially volunteer-based fire departments. By addressing common problems and implementing troubleshooting measures such as environmental checks, inspecting wiring and connections, sensitivity adjustments, power stability assurance, detector testing, and control panel scrutiny, false alarms can be significantly reduced. Regular maintenance, adherence to manufacturer guidelines, and professional assistance ensure an effective and reliable fire alarm system, contributing to the safety of occupants and the community. Let's work together to reduce false alarms and enhance the efficiency of our fire alarm systems.