Fire Alarm Battery Test for Tenant Improvements

ryant35

Member
Location
Cypress, CA
We have a 10 story fully sprinklered high rise with voice evac and total area smoke detection. Every time we complete a tenant improvement the fire department has us conduct a 24 hour standby + 15 min alarm battery test on the panels & all NAC panels.
We pass every time after spending some time a couple of years ago creating master floor plans to correct the calculations & installing 2 sets of 110AH batteries on the panels.


It occurred to me today that if the building power fails withing 48 hours of the battery test the system will fail and leave the occupants of the building without a working fire alarm system.

This seems like a huge liability for this building and the fire department, and these type of tests should never be done on an occupied building. Does anyone agree with me?
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Placerville, CA, USA
Occupation
Retired PV System Designer
We have a 10 story fully sprinklered high rise with voice evac and total area smoke detection. Every time we complete a tenant improvement the fire department has us conduct a 24 hour standby + 15 min alarm battery test on the panels & all NAC panels.
We pass every time after spending some time a couple of years ago creating master floor plans to correct the calculations & installing 2 sets of 110AH batteries on the panels.


It occurred to me today that if the building power fails withing 48 hours of the battery test the system will fail and leave the occupants of the building without a working fire alarm system.

This seems like a huge liability for this building and the fire department, and these type of tests should never be done on an occupied building. Does anyone agree with me?
That or you swap in fully charged batteries at end of the test.

The exact same thing happened at a campus radio station where I worked. The chief engineer wanted to be absolutely certain that the station could operate on battery during a planned outage to replace the service transformer.
The test passed but the batteries could not be recharged during the remaining time till the outage. Which brings us to the second option:

Feed the fire system from a generator until the batteries have reached full charge again.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
The batteries will not necessarily fail, they just may not reach their full charge until 48 hours have passed. When you've done these tests, have you taken note of the voltage at the end-of-line and at the battery terminals? People tend to build in all kinds of capacity in the calculations. They'll derate the batteries to START at 20.4 volts when the power fails, then call for 20% or 25% reserve amp-hour capacity on top of that. I can't tell you how many panels for small installations that even with these buffers built in, calculate out to 3.5 to 5 amp-hour batteries. The smallest we ever put in is 7 amp-hour.
 

ron

Senior Member
NFPA 72
Table 14.4.2.2 Test Methods
3. All primary (main) power supplies shall be disconnected, and the occurrence of required trouble indication for loss of primary power shall be verified. The system?s standby and alarm current demand shall be measured or
verified, and, using manufacturer?s data, the ability of batteries to meet standby and alarm requirements shall be verified. General alarm systems shall be operated for a minimum of 5 minutes, and emergency voice communications systems for a minimum of 15 minutes. Primary (main) power supply shall be reconnected at end of test.

And there is more in item #5 of the same table.

It doesn't required you to run the system down.
 
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