Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works

Why is the Pull Station Not Resetting?

By Douglas Krantz | Maintenance

Why is the Pull Station Not Resetting?

Why is the Pull Station Not Resetting?

Greetings Douglas,

I'm curious to know why my fire alarm panel is not resetting after I pulled it for a fire alarm drill?

Once I pulled the pull station, I opened up the inside with a key and I flipped the switch back up to "Normal" mode, and then closed and locked the pull station.

When I got the "all clear" signal, I pressed the Alarm Acknowledgement button on my main fire panel. Then I pressed then Signal Silence. After that, I pressed and held down for 10 seconds the SYSTEM REST/Lamp Test button.

The fire alarm sound turned off, but my fire panel will not reset because it's still reading an alarm for that pull station.

The pull station has a solid red light activated. The other pull stations in the building are all blinking red light, and my emergency mag locks for my doors are not energizing to hold open the doors.

I feel there is something wrong with this pull station, and it's telling the panel it's still activated.

What are your thoughts?

Thank you, AP

First off, don't touch the system without first calling the monitoring company and telling them to put the system "On Test" so that, should they receive another fire alarm while you work on the system, they will take "No Action" to send the fire department.

Just pressing reset again can send another fire alarm signal to the monitoring company, and you don't want to have to explain things to arriving firefighters.

You performed the fire drill the correct way, by trying it. You weren't intending to, but you were also testing the fire alarm system. The system did sound the alarm, but did not reset. Now you know there is a problem.

Pull Station and Panel in Alarm

Fire alarm systems detect fires and go into alarm either automatically, like with a smoke detector, or manually, like with a pull station. When going into alarm, there are two places that are activated into the alarm mode: the automatic or manual device, and also the fire alarm panel. With the pull station, the pull station went into alarm, and the panel went into alarm.

Resetting the Fire Alarm System

When the reset button on the is pressed on the fire alarm panel, a reset signal is sent to the electronics inside the panel, and also to all the devices in the building. The panel, though, will not reset until it has received a message from all of the devices saying, in essence, "I'm Normal, Not in Alarm". The panel has to know that all the devices in the building are back to normal. The pull station did not tell the panel it was reset, so the panel stayed in alarm.

Failure to Reset

There are a number of possibilities. Two of the possibilities are:
  • The switch inside the pull station might be broken or not reset properly, (I've made this kind of mistake also) the pull station might still be in alarm. The red light on the front of the pull station will probably be steadily on.
  • The plastic mechanics inside the pull station might be broken or out of place, preventing the pull station from resetting. The red light on the front of the pull station will probably be steadily on.

Checking it Out

Before opening the pull station to check it out, if you haven't called the monitoring company to put the system "On Test", call them so they don't dispatch the fire department. Also, let the occupants of the building know that there might be another fire drill.

Open up the pull station. Make sure the switch feels right, and the mechanics fell right. Close it up again, and try resetting the panel again.

If the fire alarm system isn't resetting, call your fire alarm maintenance company and have them fix whatever is wrong with the system. Probably, even though the pull station looks fine, the pull station is still bad and needs to be replaced.

Douglas Krantz
Life Safety
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