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Fire Alarm Call Point Covers




All Fire Manual Call Points should be fitted with a protective cover, which is moved to

gain access to the frangible element.


1. INTRODUCTION

In conjunction with other partners, FIA conducted a research program with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service into false alarms.

The report published in 2016 highlighted a number of sources of false alarm. Activation of a manual call point was shown as the cause of a false alarm for 12% of all false alarms in the survey.

This was due to either physical impact on the call point or accidental or malicious activation.

The report concluded that by fitting of a protective cover on the call point it could reduce the level of false alarms by 16%.


As a result of the Scottish False Alarm Report (SFAR), it was decided to incorporate compensatory measures into the re-write of BS 5839 Part 1 (to be BS 5839 Part 1: 2017).

This guidance documents looks at the benefits of call point protection and where and how they should be fitted in line with recommendations in British Standards.


2. BS 5839-1 RECOMMENDATIONS

In the 2013 version of BS 5839-1, the fitting of protective covers was considered to be a variation to the recommendation to use Type A call points. This was because it was thought that by fitting a cover to a call point it was no longer a Type A call point but a Type B call point because it was considered as two actions to activate.


However, on reviewing the requirements of EN 54-11 (Annex A), moving a protective cover has not yet broken the frangible element and so the call point remains a type ‘A’ and is not therefore a type ‘B’ and so NO variation to BS 5839 Part 1 Clause 20 is required.

As a result BS 5839-1: 2017 Clause 20 (see annex B) has been amended as follows:


0.1 Recommendations


The following recommendations are applicable.

a) The method of operation of all manual call points in a system should be that of type A as specified in BS EN 54-11. All call points should be identical unless there is a special reason for differentiation


NOTE 1 The Type A manual call point is defined in BS EN 54-11 as follows. “Type A Direct operation. A manual call point in which the change to the alarm condition is automatic (i.e. without the need for further manual action) when the frangible element is broken or displaced.”


NOTE 2 The fitting of a protective hinged cover to the type A manual call point is not deemed to conflict with 20.2a).

b) Other than in premises occupied predominantly by trained staff, All manual call points should be fitted with a protective hinged cover, which is lifted moved to gain access to the frangible element.

As a Code of Practice is not retrospective, there is no requirement to fit protective covers to existing installations. It would be prudent however, to suggest to the end user that protective covers be fitted to any call point that has evidence of initiating, or has the potential to initiate a false alarm.


3. TYPES OF PROTECTION

The recommendations from the SFAR suggested that all manual call points should be fitted with a protective cover to help reduce incidents of accidental activation of the call point due to breaking the ‘glass’. Also, the recommendations included, in certain vulnerable areas, side impact protection for the call points to prevent inadvertent operation due to impact from trolleys and other such objects.


3.1 Activation protection

There are three basic categories of false activation requiring protection:

I. Accidental - misunderstanding of unit, ie fumbling for light switch, confused with door release

II. Opportunist - passing nuisance, ie school prank/drunken fun

III. Malicious - Deliberate attempt to operate, ie casual vandal

Examples:


• Manufacturers’ own simple transparent hinged cover.

• Hinged cover supplemented by area covered by Video Protection System and well signed.

• Manufacturers’ own simple transparent hinged cover complete with (polypropylene) breakable seal.

• Third party designed cover-all transparent spring loaded hinged cover.

• Third party designed cover-all transparent spring loaded hinged cover complete with built in local alarm which sounds prior to full access to the frangible element.



3.2 Impact protection

There are three basic categories of false activation requiring protection:

I. Pressure on frangible element – clumsy, ie shoulder bag swinging

II. Object striking the MCP – accidental, ie football in gym/stock item falling

III. Vehicular contact - ranging from push-along trolley to forklift truck



Examples:

• Manufacturers’ own simple transparent hinged cover.

• Third party designed cover-all transparent spring loaded hinged cover.

• Purpose designed and installed local protection, ie wedge shaped picture frame

• Purpose designed and installed floor or wall deflector, ie bollard, barrier or dado rail

• Purpose designed heavy duty open fronted enclosure. (be mindful of standards)


For More Information


Contact:

Adam Boulton

Mobile 07534 656008

Email: estimates@lanternfire.co.uk

Office: 0330 124 4517

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0330 124 4517

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