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Delay between call point activation and full alarm activation


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Hi all

I'm looking for advice and or information to evidence on any stipulations on timeframes that a fire alarm call point can be activated and the delay between that activation and the full system activation especially with monitored systems. Is there any UK guidance on acceptable delay timeframes such as this?

Scenario is a special school where the students are activating call points multiple times a day in the worst cases. School has tried covers\screamers etc but that actually made the situation worse. I know some of our Care homes \ Day centres have key operated call points, but this school is quite big with over 80 staff and I think their worry is the amount of keys etc.

When requesting information from the fire alarm company about the potential of setting a delay from call point activation to full alarm, the company are asking us for the guidance on setting such delays, which I would have thought they should really know as it's their products.

So basically, is there any guidance available or is it a "where necessary" assessment.






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What category of automatic detection is there & is the building sprinklered?

19.2.2 (c) of BS5839-1 does give scope for call points to only sound an initial staff alarm:

"Any proposal to use a staff alarm as the initial response to a signal from a manual call point should be subject to special consideration. In such special circumstances, there should be adequate arrangements to ensure that a person operating a manual call point is not left in doubt as to the success of the operation (e.g. by means of visual indication at the call point that the signal has been correctly received at the control equipment and a suitable warning that operation of the manual call point will not
result in an immediate audible fire warning).

NOTE 1 It is common practice for both manual call points and automatic detectors in large places of public entertainment to initiate only a staff alarm, so that staff can be prepared to assist in an orderly evacuation, which is then initiated by a voice alarm message. Such arrangements necessitate a high level of training and awareness on the part of staff, and might not be appropriate in other premises"

London Underground is one example of silent manual call points in public areas.

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Hi AnthonyB


That's brilliant. We've now found exactly what we were looking for, a delay should not exceed 6 minutes.


This establishment does not have sprinklers, very few do have them other-than Care homes, and I have not been to this site so I couldn't say if it's an L1 for sure, but given the occupants of the building I would say it most probably is.


Thanks again.

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