Self-test for fire alarms

Issue 4 2020 Fire & Safety

Johnson Controls addressable fire alarm notification appliances have received the UL Verified Mark for their self-test function. The UL Verified Mark validates that TrueAlert ES self-test technology accurately tests and confirms the operational status of compatible notification appliances. The feature provides a non-disruptive appliance testing solution for commercial buildings and eliminates costly after-hours device testing.

“Johnson Controls was the first company to offer self-testing fire alarm devices and we’re now the first to receive the UL Verification Mark for the technology,” said Bruce W. Marien, product manager, Notification, Johnson Controls. “UL has tested and confirmed the performance of our self-testing appliances so customers can be confident that the product will add convenience to their operations and dramatically reduce disruption to building occupants.”

Available on compatible Simplex and Autocall TrueAlert ES addressable notification systems, the self-testing feature allows technicians to program the fire panel to manually or automatically test a group of devices or the entire system. Each device will produce an audible sound and/or visible output. The results are then stored in the panel for convenient reporting and reviewing.

Users can program the panel to schedule automatic tests at times when buildings are unoccupied to help avoid disturbance or inconvenience to occupants. When manual testing is required or desired, users can switch the system into manual test mode and check devices using a hand-held magnet.

The self-test capability helps enhance building safety and fire detection system reliability by allowing for frequent automatic testing of fire detection systems. It gives building staff peace of mind knowing the appliances will work when necessary. A recent independent study showed the Johnson Controls self-test capability detected non-operational units in 100% of tests. In addition, false negatives (identifying a non-operational device even though it had performed properly) were less than 1%. The test also confirmed the appliances function as specified in the automated test section of NFPA 72.

If a performance issue does occur, the system will pinpoint the exact device with the problem and address it. Users can view and print test results directly from the panel or through a Simplex or Autocall TrueSite Workstation.

“UL’s marketing claim verification programme helps meet the need for more transparency from the brands people choose,” said Kevin Faltin, vice president of UL’s Building and Life Safety Technologies division. “This objective, third-party verification allows Johnson Controls to stand out from those with self-declared or unsubstantiated claims.”

For more information contact Johnson Controls Global Products, +27 11 011 4050,,


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