Elevator Recall Test

Q: How do I perform the elevator recall test?

 A: If you have never performed an elevator recall test, I suggest you have your elevator maintenance company show you how it is done the first time, then you can continue to do it on a monthly test. But, in lieu of that, here is how a monthly elevator recall test is performed:

  1. Take a copy of the elevator recall key, insert it in the corridor keyed switch on the level best used by the responding fire department, and turn it to the “Test” position. This key should be available from the elevator service company.
  2. This will recall all the elevators in that bank to the floor that you are on. The elevator will ‘recall’ to that floor and open the doors. The controls inside the elevator will not respond to normal touch and the elevator car will sit there waiting for someone to take control. The elevators will be “out of service” during this test, so plan on doing this test when it will least impact your operations.
  3. Remove the key from the recall corridor switch (leave the switch still in the “Test” position) and enter one of the elevator cars. Take the key and insert it in the keyed switched labeled “Fire Fighter Service” and turn it to the “Test” position (It should say “Test”, but if not, turn the switch anyway). Now you have manual control on the elevator buttons inside the car.
  4. Push a button to another floor, holding it until the doors closed. The elevator will travel to that floor, but the doors will not open. If you push the “Door Open” button, then the doors will open, and stay that way until another floor button is pressed.
  5. While in the elevator car, test the function of the emergency telephone in the car.
  6. Return the elevator car to the recall floor and test any other cars in that bank. Remove the key and go back to the corridor switch and return the switch to the normal setting.

That is a monthly recall test, which must be done each month to all elevators. You may find that the fire alarm system will become alerted during this test and before the elevators return to normal service you may have to reset the fire alarm system. But check with your state and local AHJs before conducting this test for the first time… There are some states that will only allow certified elevator technicians to perform this test.

Annual Testing & Balance of HVAC Systems

Q: Do you know if the ambulatory health care facilities are required to do an annual Test and Balance of the HVAC system?

A: No… I am not aware of that requirement. As far as I know, there is no standard for ambulatory healthcare occupancies (ASC) and healthcare occupancies (hospitals) to conduct annual TAB for their HVAC systems.

Now, having said that, the accreditation organizations and the CMS certification agencies do require you to demonstrate compliance with certain ASHRAE ventilation requirements in critical areas, such as operating rooms. But there is no actual standard that says you have to conduct annual TAB on the HVAC systems.

I suspect your accreditation organization and state agency who surveys on behalf of CMS will expect you to have documentation that your HVAC systems in your critical areas of the ambulatory healthcare occupancy is in compliance. An annual TAB report should be sufficient for that purpose.

Testing Elevator Fire-Fighters Service

Q: We have multiple hospitals that we provide fire-safety testing services to. With the new requirement for testing elevator fire-fighters emergency operations, we all have a different opinion about what needs to be done. I believe we need to test Phase I and Phase II. Some people believe its only Phase I and some believe its only Phase II that need to be tested. I even have one hospital that believes it’s only the emergency phone that needs to be tested. What is your opinion on this?

A: Well…. The hospital that believes only the phones need to be tested are not among the enlightened. They need to get a new understanding.

Section 9.4.6.2 of the 2012 Life Safety Code says all elevators equipped with firefighters’ emergency operations in accordance with section 9.4.3 (which references ASME A17.1 Safety Code for Elevators) shall be subject to a monthly operation with a written record. ASME A17.1 is the industry standard for Phase I and Phase II operations. Phase I is typically the recall portion, and Phase II is the in-cab operation of the fire fighters’ service. So, I would say both Phase I and Phase II must be operated monthly. Now, if the elevators are only equipped with Phase I, then of course you can’t test Phase II operations.