Fact Checked

What is a Fire Alarm Pull Station?

Misty Amber Brighton
Misty Amber Brighton

A fire alarm pull station is a wall-mounted device that usually has a T-shaped lever in the center. This station is connected to an alarm system that sounds when the lever is depressed. In some cases, pulling this lever will cause a light to flash as well. The alarm and flashing lights usually alert building occupants as to the presence of fire in a building.

This early warning device is typically found in a commercial office building, large retail outlet, manufacturing facility, or any other area where members of the public gather. Many local governments regulate the placement of a fire alarm pull station in newly constructed buildings.

A large factory may have several fire alarm pull stations strategically placed throughout the facility.
A large factory may have several fire alarm pull stations strategically placed throughout the facility.

This mechanism is typically a square or rectangular box, which protrudes just slightly from the surface it is attached to. It is most often painted a bright red color so it can be easily located in case of emergency. The station may also be identified by the words fire alarm in white letters across the top. The lever usually has an arrow on it to let a person know which way to pull, in order to activate the alarm system.

A fire alarm pull station is usually hung at or near eye-level in a hallway or on the wall of a common area. Ideally, it is located in a section of the facility that is unobstructed by other items and easily accessible. A large factory or an office complex with many floors may have several of these stations strategically placed throughout the facility.

Most of the time, these alarms are uncovered so an individual does not need to worry with removing a cover before sounding an alarm. There are also models that have a clear, heavy-duty plastic cover over the top. These are mainly used when there is a concern that someone may set off a false alarm intentionally, such as in a school. An enclosed fire alarm pull station often makes a beeping noise when the cover is removed to deter persons from tampering with it unnecessarily.

These alarms generally require very little maintenance, aside from an annual inspection by a trained fire inspector. They are relatively easy to operate, so personnel do not normally need any specialized training. This means a fire alarm pull station is usually a valuable resource to a business owner or landlord, and can be used to help save lives and protect property.

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Discussion Comments

@kentuckycat - You are absolutely correct, and although people do not usually get in trouble if they exit a fire door accidentally, they can get into grave trouble if they do so at their work place and cause panic.

I know that people have been charged by their companies for creating such a panic accidentally with the amount of money lost in the amount of production lost during the alarm.

Now I do believe that this is overkill in punishing someone I do feel like this should serve as a stern warning for people to be careful in exiting their workplace buildings as they should familiarize themselves with the fire exits and be sure they realize which doors are which.

I really have to wonder if companies are required to have their employees know which doors are fire exits and make sure they know to only go through them in an actual emergency?


@titans62 - Your are right that it can be easily overlooked and that is why despite the drawbacks of the door alarms that activate it is still something that is the easiest way to "pull" a fire alarm.

Although it may seem like it is too easy to activate and may be activated by accident these types of doors usually require a bit more force in order to push open and if they are anything like what they are at my factory the fire alarm is screwed into the door and it passed a sensor attached to the side of the door that activates it.

This sensor is always at eye level and allows for the person to easily be able to see it so that they may realize if they are making a mistake.

To be honest I do not see how someone could mistake these types of doors as most of the time they say on the door that these are fire alarm doors and the writing is usually quite clear.


@matthewc23 - There are in fact fire alarms that can be activated by simply pushing a door, but the problem with these types of fire alarms is that these can be opened far too often accidentally by people that simply walk through the door and do not know any better as far as what they are doing.

I really think that the best way to activate a fire alarm is to simply have sensors as well as pull alarms located by all the doors so someone may be able to see it as they exit the building.

I know this sounds simple, but when it is done this way someone that exits is bound to be able to see the alarm and feel that they need to activate it.

It all sounds like a really simple thing to do, but, like you said, it can be something so simple that it could be easily overlooked.

Where I work at there are fire alarm pull stations, but to be totally honest, I do not like these types of fire alarms as I see them as possibly being overlooked if someone were afraid and left without thinking that they had to do something to warn other people of an impending fire.

I know that one would think that everyone should realize they must alert others of a fire, but some people become flustered and do not realize that they have to do something that is quite simple in order to warn others of the impending danger.

I really feel that there are better types of fire alarms that can be activated individually that are able to be activated without possibility of some scenario like this happening.

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    • A large factory may have several fire alarm pull stations strategically placed throughout the facility.
      By: .shock
      A large factory may have several fire alarm pull stations strategically placed throughout the facility.