Sensitivity Testing for Smoke Detectors

The National Fire Alarm Code (NFPA 72, 2002 edition) requires testing for the sensitivity of smoke detectors as part of the periodic testing of fire alarm systems under section 10.4.3.2. The sensitivity test is in addition to the functional test and is done to determine the alarm threshold of the detector and compare it to factory settings. There are several methods for sensitivity testing available under the code. Sensitivity testing by technically qualified people will continue to be enforced for all occupancies with “analog” type of fire alarm systems, however, for conventional fire alarm systems, sensitivity testing will be enforced only for health care occupancies, due to the practical difficulties encountered with sensitivity testing for conventional systems. Health care systems include hospitals, nursing homes, intermediate care facilities and ambulatory care facilities.

Code Highlights