by Will Mason
Is the service and maintenance of a wireless system the same as a wired system? Many would say, yes. However, in fact, the answer is no.
I would agree that the testing of the manual call points, detectors and sounders are the same; however, during a maintenance visit, the fire alarm service engineer would be expected to download the radio signal strength readings for all the devices. The download could be from the fire control panel or the outfield outstations. On receipt of the information, the engineer should check and make sure all the signal strength are within the manufacturer’s recommendations. He should also have a copy of the signal strength readings that were taken at the time of the commissioning and compare the two sets of readings.
If any of the readings are outside the manufacturer’s recommendations or lower than at the time of commissioning, then the engineer should investigate and establish a reason why. Maybe the layout of the building structure has been altered, or it could be something simple as someone placing a filing cabinet in front of the call point.
However, the point I am making, it is during the maintenance visit that any issues can be resolved.
If you consider the other scenario, whereby the fire alarm company is not familiar with wireless fire alarms, the engineer will only test the devices and confirm whether a fire signal was received at the control panel. However, the engineer will not be in a position to check the radio signal strength of the device and background noise across the various channels. Not rectifying any issues such as these at the time of the maintenance will lead to unwanted faults during the year.
When selecting a company to service and maintaining your wireless fire alarm make sure that they are familiar with your system. Contact the manufacturer and ask if they have heard of the company? Ask for references of satisfied clients. Allowing an untrained engineer to maintain your system could cause you unnecessary problems.
For more advice contact our office and ask to speak to Will Mason, who is a specialist in wireless fire alarms.
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