Smoke Detector Sensitivity Testing

Q: In regards to the sensitivity testing of smoke detectors, I believe my fire alarm system is capable of complying with NFPA 72 for the sensitivity testing of smoke/heat initiating devices. For example: If we have a smoke detector that exceeds the expected sensitivity range it will send a trouble signal and the panel will show “dirty photo detector” and it will tell the device location. Additionally, we can run a complete report on all devices to show the current sensitivity value of each detector, this could be done on the alternating year frequency dictated by the code. I believe this meets NFPA 72-2010 requirements for sensitivity testing. Your thoughts, please.

A: I would agree with you. But when the surveyor asks for evidence that your smoke detector sensitivity was checked, what report do you show him? If you don’t print out a sensitivity report at least once every two years, you would have little to nothing to show them.

Brad Keyes
Brad Keyes, CHSP

Brad is a former advisor to Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) and former Joint Commission LS surveyor. He guides clients through  organizational assessment; management training; ongoing coaching of task groups; and extensive one-on-one coaching of facility leaders. He analyzes and develops leadership effectiveness and efficiency in work processes, focusing on assessing an organization’s preparedness for a survey, evaluating processes in achieving preparedness, and guiding organizations toward compliance. 

As a presenter at national seminars, regional conferences, and audio conferences, Brad teaches the Keyes Life Safety Boot Camp series to various groups and organizations. He is the author or co-author of many HCPro books, including the best-selling  Analyzing the Hospital Life Safety Survey, now in its 3rd edition. Brad has also authored a variety of articles in numerous publications addressing features of life safety and fire protection, as well as white papers and articles on the Building Maintenance Program. Currently serving as the contributing editor of the monthly HCPro newsletter Healthcare Life Safety Compliance  gives Brad further insight into the industry’s trends and best practices.