Disabled Pull Station

 I was at a hospital recently that was installing a completly new fire alarm system in their building. I came across the disabled pull station in the picture to the left, and noticed that there was a large piece of tape across the handle of the pull station.

The facility manager that I was with said that particular device was part of the new system and it was not activated yet. He pointed out that there was an old fire alarm pull station (which I had not noticed), located within a few feet of this device and it was still activated.

This is a very big advantage that I have over the facility managers: They are in their building day in and day out and they do not typically think like a person who has never been been inside the facility before. Since I noticed the disabled pull station first, it did not make me look for the other activated pull station, which was about 5 feet away. If there had been an actual fire emergency, it is possible that a person who is unfamiliar with the fire alarm upgrade to see the disabled pull station, and not necessarily notice the old activated pull station, and move on down the corridor in search of one that actually operates which would delay the activation of the fire alarm.

I suggested to the facility manager that he install a sign over the disabled pull station, stating this device was not activated and a description (with an arrow) describing where the closest active pull station is located. Since this particular hospital had established a procedure of posting all public signs in three languages (English, Spanish and Chinese) then this temporary sign would also have to have all three languages.

A surveyor or inspector could very well cite this hospital for failure of proper interim life safety measures, or at the very least, failing to identify all safety and security risks in the environment.