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Manual call points: what does it do?

manual call point fire alarm

Manual call point: what does it do?

There is always something to learn every day for anyone desirous of learning. Most of us have been hearing about manual call points. Some may have seen a small box mounted on walls, mostly in public offices and hotels. The small box is called the manual call point. It is an integral part of a fire safety system.

This blog will explain the meaning of a manual call point and everything you should know about it. 

In fire safety management, a manual call point (MCP) is an important device that assists in getting everyone to respond to fire emergencies when they happen. The manual call point activates the fire alarm. It is a vital fire detection system that every person should install in their facility. 

What are Manual call points, and What do they do?

A fire alarm call point is essentially a small box containing a button that someone can press in case of an emergency, and it will manually trigger the fire alarm in the building. They mount the fire alarm manual call point on a wall. The manual call point is also called the break glass or red manual call point. 

The fire alarm call points are part of the fire detection system in a building. The triggering of a fire alarm can get some of the various emergency procedures to start. Some of the activities that can occur when the fire alarm is triggered include

  • The alarm alerts everyone in the building that there is a fire emergency going on at that time.
  • The fire emergency team will start the evacuation process for the building occupants.
  • The manual call points will notify the exact location of the fire through the control panel.
  • The manual call points will sound the alarm even when the automated fire alarm system is malfunctioning or is damaged.
  • The triggering of the MCP will activate the smoke management system in place.

Do I have to break the glass of the manual call point for it to trigger the alarm?

The manual call point has a glass part you can break to trigger the alarm. This system can cause someone to get a hand injury by breaking the glass. Some of the latest designs or models have a depressable plastic instead of glass that reduces the possibility of an injury. 

What do you do when you uncover a fire at your workplace having a fire alarm manual call points?

If you happen to uncover a fire in your workplace building and you have your colleagues in the building, the best you can do is to trigger the fire alarm call point immediately to enable the sounding of the alarm. The sound will get the attention of your colleagues and prompt them to get to safety. This action could get the necessary system to fight the fire before it gets out of hand. 

What do you do after using the manual call point?

After using the manual call points, it has to undergo a reset by a competent person. The Competent person will manually use a safety key to restore the manual call point to its original state. 

Which location is good to place the fire alarm manual call points?

If you pay close attention to the public buildings or facilities you have visited, you will see the manual call points placed on various walls in those areas. Every fire alarm system has multiple call points you can trigger during an emergency. 

Most times, the fire alarm call points are located near the fire exit and escape routes to enable you to be safe to trigger the alarm without slowing the evacuation process.

The fire alarm call points should be installed on the wall side of the exit doors leading to a staircase to help the alarm system identify the floor where the fire occurred. 

Manual call points regulatory requirement according to BS 5839

  • Locate all manual call points on each floor of the building and not more than 30 meters from any point in the building. 
  • Place the manual call points higher than 1.4 meters from the floor level.
  •  Locate it in visible areas that are accessible to all.
  • Install in high-risk areas.

Different Colours of manual call points

There are different colours of fire alarm manual call points. They are red, green and white. Their colours are an indication of the functions that they do. 

Red manual call points- are mainly the fire alarm call points that activate the fire alarm. It notifies the fire service and triggers the smoke sprinkler and control systems. They are the types mainly in most buildings.

Green manual call point-  They are for releasing a door during an emergency and when people are trying to escape the building. They are most times located close to an exit of the building. 

White manual call points-  No single function is attached to this point. Most times, a signage will indicate the work it is doing. It may have other uses and not for calling the fire services. 

When you notice a fire, trigger the manual call points and do not hesitate to take action.

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How often should you test a fire alarm manual call point?

There should be a weekly test procedure for the manual call points to prevent tampering in the building. There could be a rotation place for testing each fire alarm manual call point to ensure they are in good condition. For instance, if there are about 13 manual call points on a floor, you can pick one of the call points and test it for a given week and then repeat the process for the others. 

The fire marshal or fire warden is responsible for checking if these devices are in good condition. They should check for various things if there Is evidence of worn-off or visible signs of damage and make their report for rectification.

The fire marshal is responsible for checking the elements of the fire safety system and ensuring they are good.

As part of regular maintenance in the facility, every six months, a competent engineer will inspect and check the components of the alarm system thoroughly. 

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