NOTE: While Local Fire & Safety’s report is actually based on the correct ASTTBC forms, we’ve featured it as a failure for the simple reason that it’s not properly completed and some key elements are actually MISSING. You can read more about this in Local’s Burning Brick Award!
It's actually quite simple to document all of the required testing under the Standard. There are a variety of online sources you can access to obtain an actual testing report form. Some of these you have to pay for (CFAA for example uses a third party agency that produces the forms for their technicians to use). In this day and age, downloading a valid test report form is both quick and easy. Filling it out, however is another matter entirely. You see the problem is that many employers still labour under the mistaken belief that a van parked at the office means the guy normally driving it isn't being productive (isn't generating the revenue necessary to justify his salary, let alone his portion of the overhead expenses). There may even be pressure put on the technician to complete the reports on your own time. I used to work for a company (early '90's) where one of the partners would simply go ballistic if any one of the vans was still parked out back after 8:00 AM. The guys had to have all the parts and work orders together that they needed for the day and be on the road to the first job before 0800 hours - no excuses. Efficient? In a way, yes. I wouldn't say it was a particularly good way to start the day though if, for some reason, you encountered a problem that delayed your departure.
This series is all about the Canadian Fire Alarm Testing Standard (CAN/ULC-S536). And in the way of a reminder, I should state that we're currently all using the "-04" version. That means we should all be on the same page when it comes to the testing of a fire alarm system as well as providing the physical documentation required for that testing.
There are no exceptions!
INSPECTION STANDARD REQUIREMENTS - DISPELLING THE MYTHS (AND SOME SUGGESTIONS):
The criteria for the annual inspection of a fire alarm system (in Canada) is outlined in CAN/ULC-S536-04 Appendix "E". You can download a version of this from the ASTTBC website. Another version is located in our Library. In many communities in the Lower Mainland (British Columbia) you are required by the local jurisdictional authority to utilize the ASTTBC forms. This means that forms your company happens to use in other parts of Canada (if you happen to be employed by a company with a national presence) are NOT VALID for use in a city which has happened to adopt the ASTTBC By-Law. If you happen to be an RFPT, you should review the forms which your employer uses to ensure they are in compliance. You are the one that the local authority will hold responsible for using the improper forms or for not completing them properly.
Anyone that purports to test a fire alarm system to the Canadian Standard and who doesn't submit the full report required under this same Standard simply isn't providing the service. This could lead to costly repercussions both for you and your employer.
There is positively NO EXCUSE for not providing what the testing standard calls for!
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You may also wish to read our May 2012 Editorial!