We are often asked if the Protective covers offered by companies like Safety Technology, Inc. are “legal” or “against code”. The short answer is no, they are perfectly acceptable in NFPA 72 the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. These units are intended to protect the stations from both damage and malicious activations.
Now let me preface this by saying everything in the code is the Minimal Requirement and that it is all subject to the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) acceptance.
Before we get into the use of Protective Covers, let’s get a feel for the basic requirements for Manual Pull Stations in general in both the NFPA 72 and the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101).
The Requirements for Manual Pull Station Installation are:
Manual Pulls must be wall-mounted and be:
a. Code states they must be red unless mounted in a red environment
b. If the AHJ authorizes a different color, and then they must be of a contrasting color to the background
a. A clear area must be supplied for access to the Manual Pull including the forward reach from a wheelchair (30 inches wide by 48 inches deep) or, side reach from a wheelchair (48 inches wide by 30 inches deep) per ADA
a. 42 - 48 inches off the floor (to the operable part of the station)
b. Within 60 inches (5 feet) of an exit and on both side of a “grouped opening” over 40 feet wide
c. There can be no more than 200 feet of travel between stations
Lastly, Manual Pull Stations connected to a Local System (one that does not connect to an outside agency) must be marked to warn that the station will not contact any outside agency and that the user must call 911.
With all that being said, there are just a few suggested requirements from the Annex in NFPA 72 regarding the Protective Covers. These are:
1. Covers must be Listed to assure they do not interfere with the operation of the station and that it will meet Accessibility Requirements per ADA
2. When installed, a Dual-Action Station becomes a Triple-Action Station and a Single-Action becomes a Dual-Action Station, and this will require approval of the AHJ in most jurisdictions
3. Some units include a battery-operated sounder to alert those folks in the area that the Station is being used/tampered with. Code states that personnel must be trained to understand that this noise means they must investigate to see if the activation is malicious or an actual emergency.
So, the bottom line is that the Code does allow for the installation and use of these Protective Covers for Manual Pull Stations. TC LifeSafety offers the STI Brand which includes their Stopper II Series and the new Universal Stopper Series. Both Series features either Surface or Flush Mounting as well as Optional Sounder. The Universal Stopper Series also offers colors ranging from Red, Yellow, Blue and Green as well as optional Relays for addressable notification and Flashing Lights for the Hearing Impaired.
Check out our Ask Dave Video https://youtu.be/BS745jk2XdA for more detail.