Q: Are fire alarm notification appliances required to have annual sound level measurement testing? We had a consultant tell us that we are supposed to conduct the sound level testing annually, but we have not heard of this requirement. What have you seen in your travels?
A: Yes they are, but you may not have to do this annual testing. Let me explain: The 2000 edition of the LSC requires the fire alarm system to be tested according to NFPA 72, 1999 edition. Section 14 of Table 7-2.2 requires audible alarm notification appliances to have sound pressure levels measured with meters meeting ANSI standards. Furthermore, section 19 of Table 7-3.2 requires the frequency of this sound level measurement to be accomplished at the time the appliance is initially installed and annually, thereafter. However, the commentary in the NFPA Handbook for NFPA 72 says if the sound measurement levels comply with the requirements of the code at the initial installation, then the AHJ may deem further testing as unnecessary. The comments in a handbook are not part of the enforceable code, but the AHJs can use these comments as a guide in making their decisions. I contacted representatives from The Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and they both said they do not require annual sound level measurement testing on audible appliances.
However, I suggest you contact your local and state AHJs to see what their requirements are.