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In my opinion, a company who has never performed sensitivity testing on a client’s smoke detectors is breaching the responsibility of operating in the client’s best interests.

Airborne pollutants, such as dust and corrosive fumes, even insects and humidity, can adversely affect a smoke detector’s sensitivity. That’s why NFPA and others recommend their periodic testing. However, the code does not require sensitivity testing for residential systems, only commercial.

To provide reliable service and lower loss potential, an alarm company needs to inform its subscribers of the necessity of testing and when it is appropriate to be administered. Here is a good example of why: It is not uncommon for a company to be sued for liability in the event of fire damage, despite the fact its alarm system performed efficiently. Likewise, failure of a fire alarm system to function as intended could result in a serious personal injury and/or death.

In such cases, the plaintiff may contend that proper equipment testing and maintenance would have resulted in faster fire detection, thereby increasing the likelihood that the damages would have been better contained or significantly minimized because of a more timely response by the fire department.

Hence, proactively, educating the subscriber is in the best interest of all parties.

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