Closing Fire Doors via a FACP

So my school is supposed to be conducting a fire drill sometime this week. The school activates the alarms through the “Drill” button on the Fire Lite MS9600.

I would like to have them close the automatic fire doors during the drill, however, when the drill button is pressed, none of the doors close. Is it possible to close the doors through the panel by disabling a relay? If so, how, and which one would it be? In addition to that, is it possible to create a shortcut to close the doors?

Do the doors close on an actual alarm? The only real way, and what I recommend anyhow, is using a pull station or smoke detector to activate the alarms for a drill, and a different one each time. This allows you to test the system’s components at the same time. It’s also a more realistic drill in that it activates all system functions like door closers and dampers, not just the horn strobes. Just be extra sure, as always, that the system is placed on test with the monitoring station before any drill or testing of the system.


Yes, they do. Would the dialer disable be reset upon resetting the system?

The normal procedure is to call the monitoring central station to put the system ON TEST for a specified period of time. The account number and possibly a password will be needed. Always choose a longer time span than you think will be needed. Then do the drill using a pull station or smoke detector. When the local system is reset allow a few minutes for the system to send the data to the central station that the system is restored. After that, call the central station again to put the system IN SERVICE. The central station can also give a readout of the signals they received while the system was on test. That forms a double check that everything is working properly.

Some AHJs require at least one fire drill to be done with a pull station or a smoke detector, like in Texas.

Most drill buttons only sound the alarms, and do nothing else, but putting the system into full alarm will activate the dialer and trip the relays. If the fire doors are properly hooked up, when the system goes into full alarm by way of pull station or detector, the relay will trip and the doors will shut. The drill button will not do that.

It seems you are a student; you may want to talk to whoever is in charge of the drills to see if they will call the monitoring company to put the system into test mode, then have them pull a pull station, like Retired STR-SG suggested. They may not take you up on the idea but it certainly gets the idea out there.

The only way they would close is if an actual alarm was initiated. The door magnets are released upon a general alarm. A drill activation on those panels only turns on the NAC Circuit and nothing else, and doesn’t cause a general alarm, so it makes sense for them not to close. However manual evac on some panels (i.e. Simplex) does cause a general alarm when activated. It really depends on the manuafacturer. Although I agree that they should be activating a pull station or other device to ensure the system is working correctly.

That’s pretty interesting. My middle school did fire drills through the panel, and the doors closed. I’m not sure if the Edwards panel had a Manual Evac option, but they definitely had the doors close upon evacuation without pulling the alarm. I’m also assuming they had a hot key for closing them since all of them closed during severe weather.



Thanks for the ideas. I’ll definitely talk to the manager to see if this would be acceptable.

Remember though, the priority of a fire drill is to make sure the staff and students know how to respond in the event the alarm sounds. Obviously its an opportunity to test the system but first and foremost its to test the building occupants. Activating things like Door Holder release, gas shut-off, Master Boxes, etc, etc, just adds to the pile of things that need to be reset once the drill is over. Also, especially with older systems, door holder relays can burn out with frequent use due to collapsing magnetic fields causing voltage spikes damaging relay contacts, etc etc. Besides, evacuation procedures are no different when the fire door is closed or held open. You see a closed door, you check if it’s hot, you open it, and you keep going. What I would consider more important is taping off certain exits with caution tape before a fire drill, to simulate a blocked exit, to see if the occupants know how to safely reach their secondary exits.

All this is not to say we shouldn’t activate pull stations/smoke detectors to run the full evacuation sequence! I’m just listing out some of the potential reasons that fire departments, whose primary job isn’t to know how the system is programmed, might just opt for the drill switch instead of activating a pull station.

As already mentioned it really depends on the hardware and how it was programmed. With Simplex stuff I can use Drill or Manual Evac. Drill basically just activates the NACs while manual evac is the full monty.

At my school they activate the system every time through pull station. All the doors close and everything else. I know this because each time there is a drill, we have to hold the doors open, and I have also activated it once thus I feel it safe to say it’s activated through the idc.