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Testing life safety equipment is a necessary step, but the costs associated with these protocols can add up. Costs come in the form of hiring a third party to do the testing, the cost of a security escort to accompany the individual through sensitive facilities like healthcare, and the cost of facility downtime. While it is impossible to completely eradicate the cost of system testing, in an article in the January/February issue of NFPA Journal, Wayne D. Moore goes over some strategies to use to help minimize the impact of costs associated with fire life safety system testing.
The first is figuring out what life safety systems in your facilities need what kind of testing with what frequency, according the various codes and standards that govern them. By charting out each system and what testing and maintenance is required with what frequency, facility managers will start to see the overlap between some systems. Perhaps a facility manager will see that the testing for the same system is being done at different times across multiple facilities and could gain some efficiencies by synchronizing the testing across the campus. At the very least, combining testing times for multiple systems will minimize the potential for downtime impacting end users. In a related way, facility mangers can see if the same testing company can perform tests on multiple systems and maybe save a little bit of money that way.
Sometimes code will also offer ways to save money on testing, Hughes says. For example, if the fire alarm system electronically monitors fire extinguishers, code gives facility managers a pass on the monthly testing requirement, according to Hughes.
Read the full article here.