In its basic form, commissioning means testing every device, process and procedure in an integrated systems solution to ensure the final specification operates as planned and according to the owner’s design.
I have often described the reliability of a fire alarm system installation as dependent on four elements: design, equipment, installation and maintenance. I have also explained that the last two elements contribute the most to a fire alarm system’s operational reliability.
Last month, we discussed “dark fiber” and how most outside plant installations include more fibers than are needed at the time of installation. Later, those fibers will be used for expanding service capacity or leased out to provide income.
We all know that fire alarm systems that are tested and maintained on a regular basis are more reliable. According to NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, the owner is responsible for inspections, testing and maintenance as well as any alterations or additions to the fire alarm system.
In 2012, the National Fire Protection Association adopted NFPA 3, Recommended Practice on Commissioning and Integrated Testing of Fire and Life Safety Systems. Since then, it has been split into two separate documents.
Everyone tenses up in anticipation as they hear the countdown, “three, two, one.” Then there’s an extremely loud BOOM and blinding light. Sparks fly everywhere, and smoke fills the test area. Laughter and perhaps even a high five frequently follow.
The last two columns covered fiber optic power meters, test sources and the reference cables you need to test the loss of installed fiber optic cable plants. This month, I discuss using these instruments properly and how to determine if a tested cable plant passes or fails the test.