Thunderstorms and Your Fire Alarm System
Power flickers are rapid on/off conditions that occur during a thunderstorm. These power fluctuations can cause serious damage to your fire alarm system. The rapid on/off cycles can cause the system’s circuitry to short out, damaging the control panel, sensors, and other critical components. It’s important to note that surge protectors are not always effective in preventing this type of damage.
Power Surges from Lightning
Power surges can also enter a building through various pathways, including the fire alarm system’s wiring. A direct hit is not necessary to experience the damaging effects of lightning. If something around your building conducts electricity, like the wiring on your fire alarm system, it could easily become a pathway for a potential power surge. These surges can damage the control panel, sensors, and other critical components of the system, leading to malfunctions or failure.
Lightning can also cause power outages, which can affect the fire alarm system’s operability. Most fire alarm control panels rely on electricity to function, and without power, the system cannot operate. To ensure your fire alarm system remains functional during a power outage, it’s essential to have an adequate backup power source. Most fire alarm control panels are equipped with batteries that can provide standby power for at least 24 hours, but it’s important to ensure these batteries are fully charged and functional.
Emergency generators may also be installed to provide power to critical systems during an outage. However, like backup batteries, it’s essential to ensure these generators are regularly maintained and tested.
Maintenance and Testing
Regular maintenance and testing are crucial to ensure your fire alarm system remains functional during thunderstorms. A qualified technician should perform maintenance to inspect the system for signs of wear or damage and perform any necessary repairs or upgrades.
Testing should also be performed at regular intervals to ensure the system is operating as intended. This can include testing the control panel, sensors, and other components. Testing can help identify any issues that may be present and allow for them to be addressed before they become a more significant problem.
Thunderstorms can have a significant impact on the operability of your fire alarm system. Power surges, outages, and power flickers can all cause potential damage or failure. However, with proper maintenance and testing, you can ensure your fire alarm system remains functional during these weather events. If you have any concerns about the operability of your fire alarm system during a thunderstorm, be sure to contact a qualified technician to help ensure the safety of your building and its occupants.