Alarms Silent but Panel "Normal"?

I am helping to set up a haunted house inside an old middle school. Last night was the fire department walkthrough and alarm test. When we went to test the alarms, nothing happened. After we set off a pull station, the alarm panel was completely normal; no alarms or troubles came up, and no fire alarms sounded.

I would guess there are several possible reasons this could have happened, but what could those reasons be?

The pull station may contain a bad switch.
If the zone were broken, there would be a trouble.
Did any other devices activate the alarm or did you only test that one and stopped when you saw the problem?
What type of panel was it?

The best thing to do now is to call the alarm company and tell them what happened.

Did you try another pull station?? Probably a bad pull. But it could be anything. This is not the place for advice. You need to call your service company.

We did try another pull–nothing.

The master electrician for the district was notified that night; he happened to be there at the time.

The panel was a 4001.

Sounds like it’s time to replace that 4001…

Well, the deputy lead of security for the haunt says that they spent several hours fixing the old wiring… He says that much of the wiring was no longer connected, which made little sense to me, because the panel was not indicating any open circuits, but I didn’t go too in-depth into questioning him. They also spent the day replacing most of the pull stations, because the reset tool for the old stations was “lost.” At least this way, all the pulls in the areas of the building occupied by the haunt could be reset easily.

And I can verify that the repairs were successful :). We had about 150 guests in the lower gym (where the queue line was set up) waiting for 7:00 for the doors to open, when the alarm sounded. We evacuated everyone and started looking for pulled boxes or tripped smokes. No pulls were found activated, and no fire was noticed by our fire-watch crew or called in by zone leaders, so we figured it was probably the fog machines’ fault. The security lead reset the panel before we started looking for tripped smokes, so we lost the chance of finding it; the system stayed normal. We called the fire chief anyway, as per procedure (local system–no dialer). He also concluded it was likely the fog machines and had us keep them off the rest of the night. Apparently someone didn’t get the message.

After we finally got the actors back into place and the guests back into (mostly) the correct order, we opened-only about half an hour late. We let about four tours into the haunt (no more than 30 people) when the alarm went off again. Once more, we announced a full evacuation to the inside of the haunt, and got everyone out of the queue line (this time it was more coordinated; we had just practiced :slight_smile: ).

This time, we looked for tripped smokes. The one we had questioned earlier (about five feet from a fog machine), was no longer blinking like it had been after the first alarm reset. Other smokes were still blinking. I thought this was strange–most alarms I’ve seen have an “on” LED when tripped, but this one was “off”… maybe just a design difference. Anyway, we physically removed the fog machine from the area so that no one could plug it in for a second time. We re-opened another half hour late, and everything was normal for the remainder of the evening.

The idiot who disconnected everything proably stuck the resistors right in the terminals so that there’d be no troubles from the disconnected wires.

Otherwise, sounds like a very active evening. BTW, what were the signals?

There seemed to be a few different AC horns throughout the building, but I don’t know exact details. I thought I heard a bell at one point, maybe from outside, but I was never fully outside the building while the alarms were sounding. No strobes.

The old pulls were the round Standard pulls, some Cerberus and/or Siemens MS-51s, and one Simplex T-bar (which we were looking for the first night, because I had the key to reset it… Didn’t find that pull station until after the FD left… Not that it would’ve helped anyway…) The T-bar and Standards were replaced with MS-51s.