ONLY USE IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY. You’ve seen it on fire alarms, emergency phones, etc. But as the property manager, this doesn’t necessarily apply to you, as you should regularly test your emergency phones. Here’s how to do it right.
Throughout our lives, most of us have encountered instructions like “IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY—BREAK GLASS,” “IN CASE OF FIRE—LIFT COVER AND PULL FIRE ALARM,” or “EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY—ALARM WILL SOUND IF DOOR IS OPENED.”
Messages like these can cause a sense of caution and act as a deterrent for engaging or interacting with the devices they refer to, for fear that we might cause unnecessary commotion. Worst of all, we might needlessly sound an alarm and draw unwanted attention to ourselves. It can also be a drag to have to call emergency authorities to cancel an automatic response initiated from accidentally triggering an alarm.
While all the above can generate a healthy respect for emergency systems, it can also lead to an unwarranted fear of them. It might even lead to avoidance. This is not the message you want to convey to tenants when these are the very items installed to help keep them safe.
Emergency systems are nothing to fear. In fact, they exist to offer quite the opposite: peace of mind knowing that in times of disaster or distress, help is just a tap, a lift and pull or a button press away. In a truly frightening or uncertain moment, you do not need to have all the answers, you just need to be able to reach out to those who are professionally trained to offer helpful instructions and dispatch the appropriate authorities.
These systems offer a valuable, lifesaving service, one that you hope will not be needed, but will be thankful for when they are.
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Putting emergency systems to the test
One of the best ways to ensure that lifesaving devices and systems will work as intended and expected in the most crucial moments is to schedule and conduct regular maintenance checks and tests.
Now when it comes to a fire alarm system, some of that healthy respect mentioned above is warranted.
According to the fire protection company Fireline, there are restrictions on who can inspect and test fire alarm systems. As outlined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 72 (National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code), personnel qualified to conduct such inspections and tests must either have system manufacturer training and certification; be nationally certified; be part of a state or locally registered, licensed or certified entity; or be employed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
These requirements can seem daunting, but it is possible (and recommended) to have building maintenance personnel trained to meet one of these qualifications. To learn more about what might be specifically required for your building or area, you can reach out to your local Fire Marshal.
While the procedure for properly maintaining a fire alarm system might seem complex, there are other types of life safety and emergency systems, each with their own inspection and testing specifications. The more you learn about each one, the more confident you will feel staying on top of performing proper system checks, thus ensuring your property remains as safe, and as emergency ready as possible.
The value of two-way communication in times of trouble
Whether your property has elevators, pools, stairwells, parking areas/garages or internal/ external corridors, emergency phones systems are a vital component to your safety arsenal. Kings III’s emergency phone service provides a means for trapped elevator passengers, drowning or near-drowning residents, victims of assault or theft, those injured by a fall or natural disaster or any other tenant that is in an unsafe position to reach a live operator 365 days a year, anytime day or night.
Our operators are trained and certified to provide care and safety instructions while dispatching the appropriate authorities. Sometimes there is no greater peace of mind than knowing you are not alone and that another human being is on the other end of the line, fully aware and engaged in whatever the need might be.
The ease of testing emergency phone systems with Kings III
Much like all other technology-based systems, ours too requires routine inspection, maintenance and testing. Anything from inclement weather, to property construction or renovation or even vandalism can cause damage that impedes on the functionality of our phone systems. A change of phone line provider could leave our phone disconnected from an active phone line. The many ways that equipment damage and degradation can occur call for regular testing, as a malfunctioning emergency telephone not only puts you at risk of code violation and fines, more importantly, it can keep your tenants from getting the help they need in a dire situation.
We at Kings III not only encourage regular system tests, we ask that they be performed at least once a month in our service agreement. We like to make the process as easy as possible, allowing for any onsite personnel to perform the test. Tests can be conducted as frequently as desired beyond the once-a-month requirement as well. Worry not, it will be no bother to us.
Testing our emergency phone systems is as simple as pushing the button, listening to the prerecorded instructions, and waiting for a live operator to answer with, “King’s III on a recorded line, what’s your emergency?”
Our operators treat every call as a potential emergency but are prepared for and are very familiar with taking test calls. The tester need only to state that there is not an emergency and that it is only a test. The operator will then verify the name and address that the call is originating from, what particular phone the call is coming from (specific pool, elevator cab, stairwell, parking area or building location) and the sound quality on their end. In less than a minute, the test call is complete, and full-functionality is verified.
In the event either the tester or the operator experiences difficulty in communication, a service call can be initiated right then and there. If the tester presses the button and a live operator is not reached, contact our service department at 800-766-2029 to schedule a service call. A service request can also be generated right here on our website under the “Contact Us” menu by selecting “Service Existing Site” and filling out the simple contact form.
While manual, onsite testing is the only way to ensure full-functionality of the speaker and microphone, we do offer an auto test feature that enables Kings III equipment to do a monthly signal check. This check ensures that the equipment is still connected to an active phone line and able to reach us.
You can learn more about our maintenance and auto testing services here or you can get in touch with us to find out more about why Kings III’s emergency phone systems are the right solution for your property’s safety needs.