How to Test Fire Alarms

Written by timothyl
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How to Test Fire Alarms
A fire alarm can save entire buildings, and more importantly, lives from being taken due to a fire. (Fire alarm button image by TekinT from

Fire alarms are devices used to alert those in the area that a fire is near and warn them to evacuate. Usually extremely loud, fire alarms are be used in homes, schools or other places of business. Periodically, fire alarms must be checked to see if they are working properly so that they will do their job in the case of an actual fire.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Warn everyone in the building that you will be testing the alarm system so they don't think there is an actual fire.

  2. 2

    Pull the alarm(s) as you would if there were an actual fire. Most alarms have a diagram pictured on them that shows which way to pull the lever to activate the alarm. Pull until you cannot pull the lever down any further.

  3. 3

    Ensure that the alarm tone sounds when you pull the lever. If it doesn't, the alarm is not functioning properly and should be repaired or replaced.

  4. 4

    Turn all alarms off to end the test by flipping the main switch for the system, usually located in the breaker room of the building.

Tips and warnings

  • Fire alarms should be tested once a month to ensure proper working order.
  • If there is more than one alarm in the building, you may want to make note of where each one is, either mentally or on a piece of paper. You will also want to find the main switch box for turning the system off once you are done.

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