You’ve seen them in public buildings, schools, hospitals and offices but do you know what they are and how to use them?
Manual call points are essentially just another form of fire detection – the difference is that YOU are the detector! They make it easy for people like you and me to make it known that there is danger from fire on the premises and that action needs to be taken.
Manual call points are normally installed as part of a fire alarm system at regular intervals thoughout a building, it is even possible to buy weatherproof manual call points that can be positioned outside. The call point will be connected on a loop to a fire alarm control panel and when you activate the manual call point, what you’re actually doing is sending a message to the control panel to let it know that there is a fire danger in your immediate area. The person in charge of monitoring the control panel will be able to see that the alarm has been activated and investigate and take action on your behalf. Some control panels even send automatic messages to the emergency services.
In the past, manual call points had a glass screen that had to be broken before the call point button could be pressed – you may even be familiar with this type of device as a ‘break glass’. However, glass is no longer used as the cost of replacing used call points was considerable and there was danger of injury to the person using the call point.
Modern manual call points now have plastic elements that have to be firmly depressed to activate an alarm. Modern call points with plastic elements are also resettable and can be used time and time again. This change in design has also acted as a deterrant to vandals and trouble-makers as it is no longer as costly and time-consuming as it once was to deal with a false alarm.
As you may know, a manual pull-station is a manual fire alarm initiating device that is activated by pulling a lever. The pulling level can be designed to have a single-action mechanism, or a dual-action mechanism. With most dual-action types, the user has to lift a cover or plate up firstly, then pull down on the lever, as a second motion.
However, what many do not know, is that pull-stations are only found in the US and in Canada. For whatever reason (as there are no concrete code distinctions outlining such things), the European standard for this type of initiating device is slightly different, and is called a Manual Call Point. Not only are these the standard in Europe, but they have been commonly adopted worldwide.
Manual call points function very similarly to a manual pull-station, in that it is made of a plastic or weather-proof enclosure, but instead of a lever for activation, it is a plate that will drop down when pushed. Just like pulling a lever, when the push element is pushed, it will complete the circuit that notifies the fire alarm system of the zone or exact location where it is being activated, thus putting the fire alarm system into an alarm condition.
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