Manual Call Point
here’s always something new you can learn to improve your fire safety knowledge and today we’ll look at yet another key element of your fire detection system – the manual call points (MCP) used to activate your fire alarm. From what they actually do and where to find them to using and testing them correctly – here’s everything you need to know about fire alarm call points.
What is a fire alarm call point & what does it do?
A fire alarm call point (also referred to as a red oor a break-glass call point) is essentially a small box, mounted on a wall which contains a button or a lever that allows you to manually trigger the fire alarm in a building.
They are an essential part of any building’s fire detection system, as they can:
Depending on the model of the call point you may or may not have to break a glass to reach the button that activates the fire alarm. Some of the latest designs have been adapted to use depressable plastic instead of glass to reduce the possibility of injury to the user and to discourage any acts of vandalism.
If you happen to uncover a fire at work, sounding the fire alarm using a is the fastest way to get your colleagues’ attention and prompt them to get to safety. If the fire isn’t big enough to have triggered the automatic fire detection system, your proactive actions could help put the flames under control before the fire has had the chance to spread.
Once the manual call point has been used, it has to be reset manually, using a safety key to revert it back to its original state.
Where should fire call points be located?
Every fire alarm system has multiple manual call points, so if you pay attention, you will spot them in all public buildings – from shared accommodation to office buildings, construction sites, cinemas and theatres, shopping centres, school and healthcare facilities.
Usually, they are located along the escape routes, near the fire exits, so that you can trigger the alarm without slowing down the evacuation process or putting yourself in unnecessary danger. According to the relevant regulatory requirements (BS 5839), call points should be placed:
Another interesting fact about manual call points is that they should always be installed on the floor side of an exit door leading to a staircase so that when the alarm is triggered, the alarm system can correctly identify which floor the fire has occurred on.
What colour are the fire alarm call points?
Manual call points can have more than one function. They come in three colours: white, green and red. The different colours indicate the function of each individual call point:
Depending on the fire safety system installed in your building, the manual call points can be set up to have a number of additional functions, such as unlocking or releasing doors, triggering the smoke management system and even turning off the air conditioning system. In any case, if you notice a fire, you should always use the manual call points without hesitation – better safe than sorry!
How often should fire call points be tested?
Manual call points should be tested as part of your weekly fire alarm test procedure. Realistically, not all fire alarm call points can be tested each week. Usually, the testing is done via a rotation plan where a different call point is tested each week to ensure that the entire system works as it should. If there are 12 call points on the premises, for example, you shouldn’t retest the first call point before the 13th week of testing, as all 12 call points should be tested before you repeat the process.
In addition to that, it’s part of the fire marshal’s responsibilities to perform a daily visual inspection of all elements of the fire safety system, including the manual call points. If the call point signage has worn off or if there are any visible signs of damage, then this should be raised with the building’s management team and rectified as quickly as possible.
Last but not least, the entire fire alarm system has to undergo a full safety inspection by a qualified fire safety engineer at least every 6 months. This is when all manual call points will be checked thoroughly by a professional as part of their regular maintenance.
Need a fire alarm system along with manual call points installed? Here at Evacuator Alarms, we specialise in traditional and wireless fire alarm installation for all building projects, from residential buildings to offices and large construction sites.
Manual Call Point is a device for the initiation of an alarm.
Manual fire alarm activation is typically achieved through the use of a pull station (term used in USA & Canada) or call point (term used in Europe, Australia, and Asia), which then sounds the evacuation alarm for the relevant building or zone.
Manual fire alarm activation requires human intervention, as distinct from automatic fire alarm activation such as that provided through the use of heat detectors and smoke detectors. It is, however, possible for call points/pull stations to be used in conjunction with automatic detection as part of an overall fire detection and alarm system