How to streamline your fire safety inspections, testing, and maintenance

May 03, 2017  •  Allison McGillivray

It can be time-consuming to complete the inspections, testing, and maintenance (ITM) required by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) for each of the assets in your fire safety system, especially, if your organization cannot afford a dedicated fire safety manager. For many facilities managers, this means rushing through their ITM and praying that they don’t miss anything come audit time.

Investing in a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and a Building Automation System (BAS) can help you streamline basic ITM including:

  • Fire extinguisher testing and certification
  • Fire pump flow tests
  • Fire sprinkler flow testing
  • Fire alarm testing
  • Kitchen fire suppression testing and certification
  • And much more

CMMS

fmxbot-roofing-contractorA CMMS like FMX enables facilities managers to plan preventive maintenance, record important equipment information, and track equipment.

Plan preventive maintenance (PM)

A CMMS can help you to get your ITM projects on your schedule.

How FMX can help: With FMX, you can create preventive maintenance tasks for projects and schedule them days, weeks, months, even years in advance. You can even assign these tasks to outside vendors. You can also use FMX to track the overall cost associated with each task.

Audit preparation

A CMMS will also help you keep thorough records of all of the ITM performed on your fire-safety system. That way, you’re more than prepared for any audits by your local fire department.

How FMX can help: FMX automatically generates an equipment history for each piece of equipment in your site. These histories are automatically updated each time you create a PM or work order and associate it with a particular piece of equipment. You can export these equipment histories into PDF and CSV formats, so that they can easily be shared with your auditor.

Asset management

CMMS systems also enable you to record important information about each piece of equipment in your fire safety system including its manufacturer, warranties, photos, age, estimated life-cycle, etc. Some CMMS systems will also generate unique barcodes for your equipment that you can print out and adhere to each piece of equipment. That way, all you have to do to access your equipment info while you’re on a job, is to scan the barcode with your smartphone or tablet.

How FMX can help: You can create an entry for each piece of equipment in FMX, where you can include its name, manufacturer, photos, and any details about its quality and relevance to your organization. Once the entry is created, FMX will assign it a unique QR barcode for easy identification and labeling. That way when your technicians go to service a particular fire extinguisher, for example, they can scan the QR code and bring up the FMX entry for that piece of equipment. They will also be able to review that fire extinguisher’s history and see any recent PMs or work orders. The technician will be able select the PM or work order they are working on. They can view any associated PM instruction sets, record any necessary details (even upload pics), and then resolve the task and record their labor hours and any inventory they used.

Building Automation System

Building Automation Systems (BAS) can also help you to streamline your ITM. A BAS would allow you to constantly monitor the state of many of your fire safety assets including alarms, sprinklers, extinguishers, and more.

For example, you can use a BAS to monitor pressure and charge levels in your fire extinguishers. You would attach sensors to each extinguisher. The sensors would use a smart pressure gauge to check for fluctuations. Many sensors also send alerts if an extinguisher is blocked, missing, or has been tampered with.

This continuous monitoring, allows you to speed up (and occasionally forgo) your monthly ITM, as long as all assets are operating normally. A BAS may also alert you to an issue before it becomes a real problem. Not to mention, BAS logs may come in handy during your annual audit.

You can even integrate your BAS with your CMMS to trigger work orders when one of the situations above have occurred.

How FMX can help: FMX’s REST API allows us to integrate with several systems, including Building Automation Systems. Plus, FMX’s Customer Success team can also help you set up this integration.

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Allison is a product marketing manager at Facilities Management eXpress. When she’s not writing marketing content, she is likely hiking with her dog or cooking delicious Italian food. 

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