Fire alarm systems must be tested and certified annually under state regulation. The Sitka Building Department reviews the annual inspection reports.
The authority under which fire alarm system testing and certification is conducted is 13 AAC 50.025 and 13AAC 50.035 (which requires the person conducting the test to have a State of Alaska permit). The Sitka Building Department, under its deferral from the State Fire Marshal, is the authority having jurisdiction to administer statutory and regulatory requirements pertaining to fire alarm systems.
Fire alarm systems, including systems installed but not required, must be tested annually. [They must also be tested after any use or activation, any time damage is found, after repair or alteration, after a seasonal shutdown, and when otherwise required by the Building Department.]
Fire alarm systems shall be tested and certified in accordance with NFPA 72 1993 edition, or NFPA 72 edition which was in effect at the time the system was installed or last modified.
Only persons holding a Class IA, IB (except IBEW-IB), or IC license can conduct the legally required annual testing and certification of fire alarm systems. Note: Licensing procedures and categories are relatively complex; please call the Building Department for more information, or for a list of currently licensed vendors.
The person conducting the inspection or test must forward a copy of the report to the Building Department within thirty (30) days. Also, reports of inspections and tests must be maintained on the premises.
The Building Department will review each fire alarm system test report, and will issue a Notification of Hazard and Order to Correct (NHOC) based on its review of the test report. The NHOC may or may not address all deficiencies noted in the test report.
The standards the Building Department will use in issuing NHOC's on fire alarm systems are:
Does the deficiency create an extreme hazard to life and property? Is the system operating as originally designed and installed? (Note: Current codes will likely differ from codes in effect when system was installed.)
The Building Department will assume that buildings and fire alarm system installations for which a building permit was issued met all applicable codes at the time of construction. Due to the difficulty in reliably determining older buildings' initial construction dates, the nature/timing of later modifications, and which codes were in effect for which buildings/alterations at any given time, the Building Department will not typically conduct in-depth research to determine if older systems met the older codes at the time of installation.