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March 20, 2005

                           []< ET NEWS                                 
Issue No. 195    ISSN 1554-074X    3-20-2005

- News
- ET News Journal
- Job Opportunities
- Fire Alarm Class Schedule
- Comments & Acknowledgements


American Institute of Architects, California Council Supports ...
Business Wire (press release) - San Francisco,CA,USA
... voted March 16, 2005, to rescind its July 29, 2003, decision by an
8-2 vote to select the National Fire Protection Association's NFPA
5000 as California's next ...



I'll see you in Chicago this week.

Have fun!


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We have recently been asked to develop a quotation for a fire alarm
system in a renovated two-story school building that has been
converted to offices. An elevator has been added to facilitate access
to the second floor by handicapped individuals. Do we have to provide
for elevator recall in accordance with NFPA 72? It would seem rather
silly as the elevator only extends from the first floor to the second


The requirement for elevator recall rests with whatever Authority
Having Jurisdiction has responsibility for enforcing the requirements
of a state or local elevator safety code, and the requirements of
whatever building code is enforced in your jurisdiction.

Typically, state and local elevator safety codes reference ANSI/ASME
A17.1-2000, Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators. The American
Society of Mechanical Engineers holds the American National Standards
Institute's accreditation to develop this document.

Some jurisdictions may still reference ANSI/ASME A17.1-1996. They may
also reference certain addenda that ASME has added to the 1996
edition, namely A17.1a-1997 and A17.1b-1998.

In any case, the A17.1 document requires what it calls "Firefighters'
Service - Automatic Elevators." ASME divides this service into "Phase
I Emergency Recall Operation" and "Phase II Emergency In-car
Operation." The requirements for what normal folks refer to as
"elevator recall" exist in the Phase I part of the document.

Generally, three interrelated conditions can exempt an elevator from a
requirement for so-called "elevator recall." If the building code or
other jurisdictional construction document does not require the
elevator hoistway or portion thereof to meet requirements for
fire-resistive construction, if the vertical travel of the elevator
does not exceed 6 ft 8 in., and if the elevator hoistway does not
penetrate a floor, then A17.1 does not require elevator recall.

In the case you described, unless your elevator meets these three
conditions, then whatever elevator safety document has jurisdiction in
your area likely requires elevator recall.

NFPA 72-2002, National Fire Alarm Code, Section 6.15.3 describes how
the building fire alarm system interfaces with the elevator control
system to meet the requirements of ANSI/ASME A17.1-2000. The
requirements contained in this Section carefully coordinate with the
requirements of A17.1.

We would summarize the requirements of this Section as follows:

Section requires system type smoke detectors, or other
permitted types of automatic fire detectors, that may initiate
elevator recall to connect to the building fire alarm system.

When the building does not have a fire alarm system, Section
requires the detectors to connect to a dedicated fire alarm system
control unit designated as an "elevator recall control and supervisory

Section requires that only the elevator lobby, elevator
hoistway, and elevator machine room detectors initiate recall, unless
otherwise required by the Authority Having Jurisdiction.

Section requires that even if other detectors on the same
circuit have operated into an alarm condition, the detectors that will
initiate elevator recall must still be able to do so.

Section requires the location of a lobby smoke detector
within 21 ft of the centerline of each elevator door within the
elevator bank controlled by that detector. An Exception permits
Chapter 5 to determine the detector location when the ceiling height
exceeds 15 ft or when the ceiling configuration is other than a flat,
smooth ceiling.

Section only permits smoke detectors in unsprinklered
elevator hoistways when the detectors actuate hoistway smoke relief

Section permits the use of other types of detectors when
ambient conditions preclude the use of smoke detectors.

Section details what should happen when a detector in an
elevator lobby, elevator hoistway, or elevator machine room initiates
an alarm. The detector shall initiate an alarm on the building fire
alarm system. The fire alarm control unit and required remote
annunciators shall visibly indicate the zone from which the alarm

Section requires that detector actuation from an elevator
hoistway or elevator machine room cause separate and distinct
annunciation at the fire alarm system control unit and any required
annunciator. This will alert fire fighters that the elevators are no
longer safe for use.

Section requires three separate elevator recall control
circuits. Detectors at the designated elevator recall level shall
actuate the first circuit. These shall include elevator lobby
detectors and machine room detectors, if the machine room is located
on the designated elevator recall level. Detectors in the remaining
elevator lobbies shall actuate the second circuit. Detectors in the
elevator hoistway and elevator machine room shall actuate the third

With this summary of the NFPA 72-2002 requirements in mind, one must
then proceed to ANSI/ASME A17.1-2000 to determine what the three
elevator recall control circuits will accomplish.

Actuation of the second or third elevator recall control circuit shall
send the elevator to the designated level. Actuation of the first
elevator recall circuit shall send the elevator to the alternate level
approved by the Authority Having Jurisdiction.

In the case of your two-story elevator, you can only have a designated
level and an alternate level, since you only have two levels.

ANSI/ASME A17.1-2000 also details the operation of the manual key
operated controls in the elevator car and what happens when the
multiple position switch is in the various positions.

Wayne Moore and Dean Wilson are senior engineers at Hughes Associates,
Inc., a leading international provider of engineering and research
services to the fire protection field, including fire hazard and risk
assessment services, fire protection systems design and testing, code
consulting, loss control, and forensic engineering services. Its
clientele includes architects, building owners and manufacturing
companies in the private sector, as well as the Department of Defense
and other governmental bodies. For more information on Hughes
Associates and its services, call (410) 737-8677.
Web site address: 

Subscribe to The Moore-Wilson Signaling Report:


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Contact me to find out how your group can sponsor an AFAA seminar.

March 22-24, 2005 Chicago, IL
Fire Alarm System Testing and Inspection Seminar 
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I & II)

April 5-7, 2005 Boston, MA - Sponsored by New England AFAA
Fire Alarm Plan Review Seminar
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I & II) 
More info to follow

April 13-16, 2005 - Phoenix, AZ
Automatic Fire Alarm Association Annual Meeting

April 19-21, 2005 Brooks, OR - Sponsored by Oregon AFAA
Fire Alarm Plan Review Seminar
Understanding IBC Fire Alarm Requirements

April 26, 2005 Great Falls, MT - Sponsored by Montana State University
Advanced Fire Alarm Seminar
More info to follow

May 10-13, 2005 Minneapolis, MN - Sponsored by MN AFAA
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I & II) 
Fire Alarm System Testing and Inspection Seminar 
Fire Alarm Plan Review Seminar

May 3-4, 2005 Buffalo, NY - Sponsored by WNYAA
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I & II)

May 17-18, 2005 Denver, CO - Sponsored by Rocky Mountain AFAA
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I & II)

May 24-26, 2005 Laurel, MD - Sponsored by MD-DC-VA AFAA
Fire Alarm System Testing and Inspection Seminar 
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I & II)


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This reprinted material is not the complete and official position of the NFPA on the referenced subject, which is represented only by the standard in its entirety.