CAN/ULC-S536-13 is the standard for any “Fire Alarm System”.
A “Fire Alarm System” is defined as a group of devices working together to warn occupants of a dangerous situation.
Simply put there are detection devices (Initiating Devices) that monitor the space and there are Audible and Visual devices (Annunciating Devices) that warn occupants when there is a problem. Both of these are wired back to a Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP) that makes it all work together.
Basically if you have a FACP at the entrance to your building you will need to do an Annual Fire Alarm inspection. Otherwise known as a 536 Inspection. You need to check that EVERY device in the system is in working order!!!
Many people see this as a burden and find the cheapest Fire Alarm Tech to do the inspection. In our experience even the smallest Fire Alarm System takes a minimum 4-6 hours to complete properly. So if you are paying $250 for an inspection you may want to check to see that they are doing a proper job.
There are two easy ways to check that your fire alarm guy is doing their job.
#1) Open your Fire Alarm Panel and have a look at the batteries. They should be marked with a date. If they are over 5 years old you have a problem. They should be changed every 5 years. They should also be checked Annually and if they are covered in undisturbed dust then you know shortcuts have been taken.
#2) If you have an elevator in your building then there is a smoke detector at the top of the elevator shaft. Many people don’t know that they already pay they’re elevator maintenance company for a yearly fire alarm visit. Your Fire Alarm insector needs your Elevator Tech to gain access to this device. It costs no extra money for the Elevator tech to come in and help the Fire Alarm tech, you have already paid for this service. However this step is often skipped by the Fire Alarm tech since it takes time to coordinate. Check your report, if it says “NO ACCESS” for the Elevator shaft smoke then find a new inspection company.