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Manual call points but no detectors

Guest JonathBir

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Guest JonathBir

Hi all

If a site has a means of raising an alarm (call points) but no detection, do they have to carry out any servicing other than weekly tests?

I understand an detection system with a fire panel should be serviced and maintained at least twice per annum but I'm not sure if there is no panel and no detection.



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A fire alarm has four areas, the detecting circuit, the sounding circuit, the control and indicating equipment, and a back up battery. Your detecting circuit is the manual control points making it a M category system and if you do not have the other items then it will not conform to BS 5839 part 1. In all situations it should conform to BS 5839 which requires the six monthly tests.

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  • 5 weeks later...

If you have no control panel and just call points, bells/klaxxons and a mains switch at the distribution board then you have a VERY old 3 wire 240V fire alarm system that not only does not conform to British Standards (& didn't 35 years ago either) but contravenes the Health & Safety (Safety Signs & Signals) Regulations 1996 as it does not have a secondary power supply.

It cannot be serviced to BS5839-1 and due to the simplicity only requires rotational weekly testing of call points, as the only thing a service engineer could do is a mega weekly test just using a lot more call points.

The system will require replacement.

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  • 4 years later...
Guest Call points

Hi , I’ve been asked to add a call point to a smoke alarm system which has no control panel . Is this possible or do I need To  recommend installing one ? 
thanks Paul 

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The premises should have call points first before detection - domestic smoke alarms are normally not suitable for commercial premises (unless of course you are talking about a HMO where in smaller ones they are OK)

Not all Grade D smoke alarm systems can have call points added so knowing what exactly you've got would help.

A proper fire detection & warning system to BS5839-1:2017 may be required if it's a commercial building.

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  • 5 months later...
Guest Big John


I was wondering if someone could help me please.

I am considering moving in to a purpose built detached block of flats for the over 55's (15 flats in total). There are two protected escape stairways one either side of the building, the lift and the flats are located in the centre section 3 flats per floor with fire doors either side of each centre communal landing area leading to/from both protected stairwells.
I noticed during a look at the flat that there was a fire panel, a smoke detector and wall bell  fitted on each of the 6 floor levels in the central communal section and one smoke detector is fitted at the very top of each of the two stairwells. A Heat detector is also installed within the flat entrance which is also part of this buildings fire alarm system. 

My question is, I did not see any break glass units and when I questioned the agent he said that it didnt need them.

Could you please tell me if that is correct information or not please as i have always thought all fire alarms have break-glass units

Thank-you your help is appreciated


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If your premises were built for stay put you would not expect to see call points or even alarm sounders. However the configuration of your system sounds like one designed for a premises where a full evacuation is required and as such call points would normally be required - this is also the case in sheltered housing (more commonly called over 55 or retirement villages as it sounds better) where it is stay out other than for the common areas or flat of fire origin.

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  • 1 year later...
Guest Gavin


We had a fire alarm system fitted in our building (3 flats) in 2007, our new fire alarm maintenance company says we now need manual call points.


Do we really need to have manual call points, we dont want any visitors setting them off or falling against them drunk sometime.




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  • 2 weeks later...

Why did your flats have a fire alarm system fitted in the first place as they are not normally required other in the form of detectors to operate smoke vents.

It's not up to your fire alarm company to tell you what to do (as it often ends up way above what is needed) but your Fire Risk Assessment - if a truly competent person has carried it out they would state what you do and don't need.

Usually in flats you need one of two systems:

Detectors (no sounders or call points) to stairs and corridors to operate smoke vents where 'Stay Put' is in use.

Detectors, call points and sounders to common areas and a detector and sounder in each flat hallway to raise the alarm where 'full evacuate' is in use

In certain small stay put blocks where the smoke control is manual not automatic you don't need any fire alarm at all - even if you build it today under current regulations.

A lot of flat blocks were mis-sold or mis specified audible common area only systems which won't wake sleeping occupants and because they only go off when the stairways are already affected by fire or smoke can (& have) drawn other occupants who did hear it to their deaths.

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