Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Fire Alarm Testing


If you live in an apartment or a condominium, you will probably have experienced the testing of the fire alarms. I know that it is required here in Ontario, but if you are in some other places, you may not have these requirements. It is something that we deal with and for someone that works from home you get to learn about them both on a monthly and yearly basis.

Monthly Testing

The monthly testing is one that doesn’t take long, and it is just an inconvenience for a few minutes once a month. So, in our building there normally post in the common areas when the monthly testing is going to happen, and it's no big deal. What happens during this test is that the fire alarm technician comes on and announces that they are going to be doing the monthly test and the fire alarm sounds for a few seconds and it’s over. This test does impact the elevators for those few seconds, but other than that it is quick, and it’s done.

On the monthly testing day, you really hope that you are not on a conference call or even a phone call when it happens because it is loud.

Yearly Testing

Here is the test that impacts everyone and in our building it’s a two-day process, so yes it can be a bit of an inconvenience as it is noisy. In our building they try and do five floors at a time and that is normally quick for each unit, but it is something that does impact us. What the fire technician must do is come into each unit and test the smoke detector and listen to hear if they can hear the speaker in the unit. If the smoke detector or speaker have been disconnected, they are immediately reconnected. This doesn’t take long, but what makes this noisy is that they must leave a microphone active during these tests, so we get to hear people buzzing to get let in and as well people coming and going out the front door of the building. Overall, the yearly testing isn’t much of an inconvenience when the technician comes in, it’s just the noise that we must hear for the two days while every unit is done.

The noise we hear has been reduced over the years as our superintendent got the fire technicians to turn off the sound of each unit alarm being tested, that we previously heard. This has meant that yes there is noise that we must deal with, but we are constantly hearing an alarm being tested.


Yes, the fire alarm testing is something that can be an inconvenience, but I would rather deal with the sounds and those interruptions than find out that the alarms either in our building or our unit aren’t working. Also, the other thing is when they are doing the unit inspection, they also check to see if the smoke detector needs to be replaced or has been disconnected.

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