In its 2012-2013 annual report, New York City Fire Department has reported over 25,000 incidents of structural fires. Watch such an incident recorded at W 48th and 10th Ave in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC.


Fire Alarm systems give critical early warning of a fire or smoke condition enabling people to react quickly and evacuate safely. It also transmits a signal to a supervising station and also to those who can take action, the ‘Fire Department’. To cut structural fire incidents at its bud, preventive measures like fire alarm inspections and testing should be done periodically and ensure all fire alarm system components function properly. Fire Alarm Inspection’s objective is to inform the building or business owner of the imperfections and breakdowns of a fire alarm system with the goal of redressing them as soon as possible.


The inspection, testing and servicing of fire alarm systems, systems initiating devices, and notification appliances shall comply with the requirements of the NYC Fire Code, NFPA 72 – national fire alarm and signaling code and the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations and verify the correct operation of the fire alarm system. At any FDNY Fire Alarm System inspection and testing, an S-97 or S-98 Certificate of Fitness holder must be present. The holder must make an entry in the premises logbook, including the holder’s name, Certificate of Fitness number, employer, as well as record the purpose of the visit and its official outcome.


The S-97 or S-98 Certificate of Fitness was developed in order to certify technicians who program, test, inspect and service fire alarm systems in the City of New York. All technicians of ASM Integrators are S-97 or S-98 Certified and familiar with NFPA 72, NYC Fire and Building Codes, the Rules of the City of New York (3-RCNY), NYC Electrical Code and FDNY Fire Alarm Bulletins that are applicable to their performance. Get in touch with ASM Integrators anytime and get to know the many different fire alarm components that come with different testing procedures and frequencies.


Below are the testing frequencies of some of the more common components:


Annual Requirements:

  • Test & visual inspection of panel functionality, LED’s, fuses, etc…
  •  Test panel battery charger
  •  Battery discharge test
  •  Test & visual inspection of horns, strobes, chimes, & bells etc…
  •  Test & visual inspection of smoke detectors
  •  Test & visual inspection of heat detectors
  •  Test & visual inspection of duct smoke detectors
  •  Test & visual inspection of Electromechanical Releasing Devices (Solenoid)
  •  Test & visual inspection of Voice Evacuation equipment


Semiannual Requirements:

  •  Test of sprinkler water flow switches (flow water or manually trip flapper)
  •  Test of sprinkler valve tamper switches (operate valves)
  •  Visual inspection lead-acid battery (swelling or loose connections)
  •  Test batteries – load voltage


Quarterly Requirements:

  • Visual inspection of all fire sprinkler devices connected to the alarm. This includes water flow switches and valve tamper switches.
  • Test of fire pump monitored points (loss of phase, phase reversal, pump running etc…) 


Building owners are responsible for scheduling inspections and testing of fire alarm systems. Some of the prerequisite documentation for the inspection are:

  • A plan or work application (Form PW-1) from the Department of Buildings
  • A plan examination (Form TM-1)
  • A set of approved 24″ x 36″ plans
  • ‘As-Built’ riser diagram, datasheet
  • A Form A-433
  • Electrician’s sign-off form
  • Copies of a standard Inspection and Testing Form may be obtained at The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) creates codes and standards for fire protection and suppression systems. Post the inspection, keep a copy of the completed Inspection and Testing Form for yourself and your insurance carrier and send a copy to the local Fire Department.


While many building owners or business owners might not fully appreciate the periodical call of a fire alarm inspection, there are certain benefits associated with it:

  • Adherence to Fire Alarm Code-NFPA 72 and meet requirements of the fire inspectors
    We definitely don’t like to receive a ‘Notice of Violation’ from the FDNY, would we?
  • Meet the requirements of the local building department and insurance carrier
  • Safer Building for its business owner, clients, employees, visitors, shoppers etc…
  • Improves resale value of the building and possibly a reduction in insurance premiums

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