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Nursing Facility Survey Tip: Semiannual Inspection of Fire Alarm System

The Minnesota State Fire Marshal has posted an advisory to its webpage advising nursing facilities to complete a fire alarm and signaling code inspection checklist as soon as possible. 

Certain fire alarm system components need to be visually inspected semiannually [see NFPA 72(10), Table 14.3.1]. These visual inspections include:

  • Control unit trouble signals – verify that they are readily visible;
  • Remote annunciators – verify that they are in proper operating condition and free of damage;
  • Initiating devices (e.g. duct detectors, manual fire alarm boxes, heat detectors, smoke detectors, etc.) – verify that they are in place, unobstructed and free of damage;
  • Notification appliances – verify that they are unobstructed and free of damage; and
  • Magnetic hold-open devices – verify that they are free of damage and function properly.

Inspectors will be asking about this issue during life safety surveys. For additional information on this general issue, see the Fire Alarm Testing section on the Minnesota Department of Health’s Life Safety Code Documentation site.

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