One of the requirements that CMS and Joint Commission surveyors is requesting from hospitals and nursing homes is documentation that the elevators have been tested for ‘Recall’. Elevator recall is a test that the Life Safety Code requires to be accomplished on a monthly basis. Section 9.4.6 of the 2000 edition of the LSC says all elevators equipped with Fire Fighter Service shall be subject to a monthly operation. Now, the phrase ‘elevator recall’ is a bit of a misnomer, as the monthly test requires activating all of the Fire Fighter Service functions, not just the recall portion.
LSC sections 18/19.5.3 requires compliance with section 9.4, which in turn requires all existing elevators that travel a distance of 25 feet or more above or below the level that bests serves the needs of the emergency personnel, to comply with the Fire Fighter Service Requirements found in ASME/ANSI A17.3 Safety Code for Existing Elevators and Escalators. This code references other ASME/ANSI publications which describes the specific requirements for the installation of Fire Fighter Service for the elevators. Furthermore, LSC section 9.4.6 requires the Fire Fighter Service in each elevator to be tested once a month with a written record of the test and findings maintained on the premises. The elevator recall portion is commonly referred to as “Phase 1” and the in-car manual control system for fire-fighters is commonly referred to as “Phase 2”. Both phases, if equipped, must be tested for each car. Please check with your local and state authorities on the qualifications to conduct this test, as some AHJs only permit trained or certified individuals to conduct this test.
If you have never performed this Fire Fighter Service test, then 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:
- 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.
- This will recall all the elevators in that bank of elevators 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 and the elevator car will sit there waiting for a fire fight 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.
- Remove the key from the recall corridor switch (leave it 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 (I think it will say “Test”, but if not, turn the switch anyway). Now you have manual control on the elevator buttons inside the car.
- 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.
- While in the elevator car, test the function of the emergency telephone in the car.
- 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 ‘Elevator 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.