Fire alarm pull station

Fire alarm pull stations: everything you need to know

They can be found almost everywhere: schools, hospitals, apartment buildings, hotels, businesses… So you are probably already familiar with fire alarm pull stations. Once manually activated, this equipment can trigger a sequence of other devices that will ensure your safety in the event of a fire.

The importance of it is undisputed, but to ensure its efficiency, you will need to know how to use it. That’s why it’s essential to understand how a pull station works, its different types, and the best applications. 

What is a pull station?

I’m sure you already noticed, inside any business or institutional building, a red box with a handle shaped like the letter “T”. That is one “T-bar” pull station. 

Such devices exist to ensure the possibility of manually triggering a fire alarm system. In practice, if anyone notices a hazard situation, this person can alert the entire building and the authorities, by activating this equipment.

Types of fire alarm pull stations

Every pull station has features that match different building’s particularities. You can do a manual activation, for example, with a single-action or dual-action move. The equipment can also be addressable or non-addressable. Below are descriptions that will help you understand the main differences. 

Single-action

In this case, to activate the pull station, all you have to do is to pull down a handle. To avoid the activation by accident, the most recommended version is the dual-action.

Dual-action

It requires a second action for activation, which usually is lifting, pushing in, or pulling down a handle. This equipment is safer than the single-action one and can discourage any unintentional actions or misconduct.

Dual-action pull station

Addressable pull station

An addressable manual pull station can guarantee a more assertive response in the event of a fire. In addressable systems, each device has an address and once activated, you will be able to know its exact location. Therefore, the authorities will be able to identify right away the equipment triggered and where the problem exactly is.

Manual call point

Manual call points work as substitutes for pull stations in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, parts of Canada, and Asia. In the same way, this equipment allows the manual activation of a fire alarm system and triggers other security measures.

Manual call point

How do fire alarm pull stations work?

Once activated, the pull station completes a circuit and sends a signal to the fire alarm control panel. Then, the fire alarm system enables other devices, like horns and strobes. If this is a monitored system, the control panel will send a message to the company monitoring it, which will alert the first responders.

In some places, you might find pull stations marked “Local Alarm Only”. In these cases, the equipment would trigger visual and sound alerts, but it wouldn’t alert the authorities.

Usually, buildings that count on automatic fire alarm activation, triggered by devices like heat or smoke detectors, also have pull stations installed. There, the equipment acts as an extra measure of security.

After its activation, the pull station will lock in a particular position. To restore the equipment, you would have to use a key or specific tool that comes with it.

Requirements for installation

Besides being considered a necessary safety measure, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires the installation of a manual fire alarm pull station in almost every building. Even when there are automatic devices connected to the system, the pull station is still required.

The equipment needs installation next to building exits and must be installed at a specific height. The access to it must be free at all times, and there should be no obstructions in front of it. To check more details about the procedures for installation you can consult the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code.

How to choose the best option for your fire alarm system?

Before choosing the type of pull station to install in your building, we recommend you to contact a fire alarm installation company to assist you. 

It would definitely be useful to look for well-known brands and to ensure that the model you are looking for is certificated by experts, like UL. Such institutions can guarantee the manufacturer’s compliance with the necessary standards and precautions against damage. 

At JEM Security, you can find different types of pull stations from many brands. Including prominent and respected brands, such as Simplex, Silent Knight, Siemens, Gamewell, and Notifier to name a few. If you have any doubts about which one is the best for your fire alarm system, give us a call. We’ll be glad to help you to find the best solutions.

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