Institutional and Commercial Smoke Detectors

Requirements For Testing and Inspection

#Institutional and #Commercial Smoke Detectors | #ESC_LLC #SmokeDetector #FireCode | In an earlier posting on the ESC Safety & Security Forum on Facebook we covered the replacement of smoke alarms in single-and two-family dwellings. Today we’re going to discuss smoke detectors in commercial and institutional applications.

On the 30th, we covered the issue of residential smoke alarms, one- and two-family residents on the ESC Safety & Security Forum on Facebook ( The link we provided led to an article on an ESC website entitled, “Replace Your Home Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.” But what about the smoke detectors installed in commercial buildings and government-owned structures?

image of smoke detector
These smoke detectors have no limits on how long you can keep them, providing you follow fire code (NFPA 72, Chapter 14, entitled ‘Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance.’). These smoke detectors are to be inspected semiannually, and then every five years for smoke detectors that have been in place for a time.

Semiannual tests are general go/no-go tests, usually using ‘canned smoke,’ which is a non-harmful spray that simulates smoke. Sensitivity tests, which are conducted with a special calibration testing device, also are to be conducted within one year of installation and every other year after that. After the second alternate testing, you can increase the time between sensitivity tests to every five years.

“ After the second required calibration test, if sensitivity tests indicate that the device has remained within its listed and marked sensitivity range (or 4 percent obscuration light gray smoke, if not marked), the length of time between calibration tests shall be permitted to be extended to a maximum of 5 years” (NFPA 72, Section, 2013 Edition).

If you have questions concerning fire alarm inspection requirements, ESC will be happy to help you. Call 614-754-1393, or use the handy response form below:

Allan Colombo, ESC Media Director
Allan Colombo, ESC Media Director
Email: ESC@Tpromo.Com