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FAQ

What section(s) of NFPA define intervals for testing of fire alarm equipment and/or intervals for required evacuation drills for occupants?
This question can be split into two parts:It really depends on what aspect of fire alarming equipment you’re referencing, I assume you mean the most common definition which is the initial notification and alarm system in occupancies. NFPA 72 is the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code and in chapter 14 of this document inspection, testing, and maintenance is covered.As for evacuations, the recommendations are addressed in both NFPA 1 Fire Code (Chapter 20) and NFPA 101 Life Safety Code (various chapters depending on the type of occupancy).The most important thing to understand is that NFPA documents are not by themselves requirements or laws. They are presented as best practices or industry standards that may be adopted as law by the governing authority over a certain region. Some jurisdictions require that public occupancies (commercial, industrial, schools, hospitals, etc) follow certain codes that private occupancies (such as homes) do not have to follow. Some jurisdictions have other regulations adopted that do not address these two things such as the ICC’s International Building Code (IBC), and I’m sure many more jurisdictions do not have any regulations officially adopted. It all depends on what your local government requires of the specific type of occupancy as to what is actually “required” to be done. NFPA offers baseline minimum standards that are created by many professionals in related fields are designed to be both a guideline and to be adopted by governments as laws if they wish to do so.
How long should it take to test a New York City building's fire alarm system?
There could be any number of issues going on with the fire alarm system, none of which should concern your company as a tenant.  Your remedy is to contact the landlord in writing and inform them that the frequency of alarms in the building is a violation of your lease agreement, specifically the covenant for "quiet enjoyment" of the premises. Moreover, the constant interruptions to your business as a result of the alarms could constitute a 'constructive eviction' or other damage conditions for which the landlord may be liable. Fire alarm systems can also be tested at night when the building is unoccupied, but that involves overtime rates for technicians that the landlord may be unwilling to pay.
When fire alarm systems are being tested, how are people alerted to a genuine emergency?
Basically when fire alarm is on repair, the authorized person keep an eye on the location for that period of time and if any of the fire risk occur then he will call the fire extinguisher and inform all the persons present there to take possible action as soon as possible. If you do not have fire alarm in your place then you can have that from Northants Fire as it may be the best place to have these services near by you.
Is it legal for me to build a nuclear bomb out of fire alarms?
Nuclear reactor, yes. Nuclear bomb, no.Two University of Chicago physics students - Justin Kasper and Fred Niell - built a breeder reactor from thorium scavenged from vacuum tubes that produced trace amounts of uranium and plutonium as part of the annual University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt.  Their team placed second that year.[1]The challenge was inspired by the sad case of David Hahn, aka the Radioactive Boy Scout. Hahn earned a Boy Scout merit badge in Atomic Energy and set about building his own breeder reactor. He collected radioactive materials: Hahn diligently amassed this radioactive material by collecting small amounts from household products, such as americium from smoke detectors, thorium from camping lantern mantles, radium from clocks and tritium (a nmoderator) from gunsights. His "reactor" was a bored-out block of lead, and he used lithium from $1,000 worth of purchased batteries to purify the thorium ash using a Bunsen burner. From David Hahn Unlike Kasper and Neill's reactor, Hahn's reactor did not work, but he did manage to expose himself to dangerous levels of radioactivity and when caught with radioactive materials, he was investigated by the FBI and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The EPA cleaned up the shed were Hahn did his experiments as part of the Superfund toxic site program.[2]In 2022. Hahn was arrested for stealing smoke detectors, apparently in another bid to collect radioactive materials.So, if you really want to build a nuclear bomb, you could start off by building a breeder reactor, isolate the plutonium or uranium produced and collect enough to make a critical mass. You will also need a large amount of high explosives in order to actually make a nuclear bomb that goes boom. Between possession of explosives, violations of environmental safety laws, as well as a whole heaping helping of other laws courtesy of the Global War on Terror that take a dim view of such activities, it would be a long, long time before you got out of the Big House. [1] On Campus, It's that season at Chicago, and Ph.D.'s have taken a back seat to a degree of silliness.  [2] The Radioactive Boy Scout 
How does law enforcement/fire fighters find out who set off the fire alarm?
All the answers are great ones.Unless it’s posing a major problem• (multiple malicious false alarms), OR there’s witnesses, confessions or evidence such as CLEAR video tape (Most security cameras are of too low a resolution to really definitively identify someone) or GOOD latent fingerprints left behind• (Good luck with THAT!), the incident will usually be written off as “Not worth the hassle of trying to solve it, because there’s no evidence to go on.”Now if someone’s making a habit of turning in malicious false alarms, and running the emergency services ragged? That’s a different ballgame, and there’ll be a point where responders will get fed up and serious efforts will be undertaken to find out who is doing it. What point that is, where the patience is exhausted, will vary.So if there’s someone out there thinking, “No biggie• I’ll get away with it…” I’d be quick to caution them• that all you have to do is pull one false alarm, to inadvertently set off a chain of events that ends with a responder dead, or even a citizen dead.History is full of examples where some idiot pulled a false alarm, and while the firefighters were dealing with the false alarm, a real fire happened, and the delay in response to that real fire, ended in fatality for some poor soul.And history is full of examples, where some idiot pulled a false alarm, and someone got killed during the response itself. Whether that’s a traffic accident• or a firefighter woke up and had a heart attack from being startled awake• it HAS happened, and WILL happen again.That’s why purposely pulling a false alarm for shits and giggles, is a BAD idea, and NO laughing matter.
What requirements are there with a fire alarm when converting a residential home to a commercial?
The requirements can be many depending on the size of the commercial space, the number of people who would have access to the space at any time, the current condition of the fire alarm system, and where specifically you are. Generally you'll need to make changes to the fire “system” like upgrading doors, installing signs, and ensuring the alarms are properly wired. For certain uses, you may need a fire suppression system. The International Fire Code is a good place to study to understand what might be required.
What are the fire alarm requirements when converting residential home to commercial?
Besides the federal NFPA requirements each state, county and city has requirements that expand on the federal specifications. The requirements can also vary based on the type of commerce or business will be conducted. When you say you're converting from residential to commercial, I will assume that nothing will be manufactured on the site, else you would be defined in some areas as industrial. Have you checked to see that the zoning regulations allow for such a conversion? What sort of business? Will it be open to the general public with an expectation or possibility of crowding? Will there be any flammable or hazardous materials used, sold or stored? Differing scenarios will have different requirements depending on the industry or type of commerce being conducted on the specific site. The latest revisions to the NFPA and associated codes are prompting a lot of investment in the retrofit and upgrade markets so I advise anyone looking to do any sort of construction, conversion or remodel to check the codes, laws, regulations and ordinance dealing with location, buildings, structures and type of business as the requirements vary, sometimes greatly from city to city and business to business or industry.
Should I take the batteries out of my fire alarm? Is it dangerous to not have?
What you are messing around with is a LIFE SAFETY SYSTEM. This means DO NOT MESS AROUND unless you know what the heck are you doing.Why do Fire Alarm Panels Need Batteries?Every critical system has redundancies. In Fire alarm panels the basic thing they demand is two separate power supply options. RAW/UPS Power(110/220VAC) and Battery(24VDC). Incase one goes down the other one takes over for a limited period of time till you restore the original power supply.What happens if you remove your batteries and you get an indication? In an ideal scenario the panel should give you a warning or even irritate you in a way “HEY! OVER HERE! I GOT NO POWER!” and may keep buzzing time and again to remind you that this issue needs to be rectified. This is a safety measure to ensure that you do attend to this. The system is still functional, but is in kinda a failsafe mode prompting you to fix the problem. It can hold on for a few minutes or hours but that's about you, you SHOULD fix this. Scratch that, you MUST fix it.What if you disconnect your batteries and nothing happens? This means that the equipment you are using is really crap, OR your installer is hiding things from you.As a thumb rule remember, and I always say this to my clients.ALL CIRCUITS SUPERVISED!This means, when the system is commissioned, it should keep on running till the point even a millimeter of wire is disconnected or a state changes.You remove the battery: WarningYou blow up the loop card: WarningYou remove a F**KING piece of wire: WARNING!YOU DO ANY DAMN THING TO ME!: WARNING WARNING and more WARNINGSALL CIRCUITS SUPERVISED! AND THATS HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE! PERIOD!
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