Things you used to think about fire alarms that you later fo

Post things here that you used to think about fire alarms, but later found out weren’t true.







I used to think that all fire drills were done by pulling a pull station.

That sprinklers would go off when someone pulled the alarm.


That and when one activated they all did. I remember how I found out both were wrong.



We were living in this sprinklerized condo for a few months and one day we decided to “clean” the oven (meaning set the oven to “clean mode”). Well despite the fact that there was no smoke, for some reason the smoke alarms went off. They were these, and they were interconnected, but IDK if they were interconnected with other apartments (there were 4 apartments per building). They only went off for a few seconds, but when they did, I ran out of the house for fear they were going to activate, but they never did. I did still believe this for a while briefly into 6th grade where I was mistakenly told that the school’s smoke detctors were sprinklers.



As for the “one actiavtes all” theory, I was reading up on it online and there was this “Fact or Myth” page and one of the statements was “when one sprinkler activates, all the sprinkler activate”. In my head, I said “true”, but when I scrolled down, I saw “FALSE” on the page and an explanation that only the one over the fire activates.

I thought for the begining of elementry school that when you pulled a simplex T-bar, it would open up and that you would push the white button inside to set off the alarms. I actually knew sence kindergarden that most of the fire alarm myths were false (ex. sprinklers all go off, pull stations set off sprinklers, ect.) cause I used what little logic I had at the time.



Anyways, I had good reason to believe that the simplex station would open when pulled, here was how the system was set up. In ther entire school, there was only that one pull station behind the front reseption desk (simplex t-bar) and the alarms were wheelock 7002t s. The system had no panel, the system was instead wired from the single pull to the entire system. (This also means that there was no water flow sensor for the sprinkler system, only a water gong.) So when ever there was a fire drill, the station would be opened via key and would be left open for the entire drill. Sence I didnt relise that the switch on the pull was a NC switch, I had assumed that it was regular puss button switch that wasnt held down by the handle. And seeing as there were no instences where the pull was pulled via the handle, I assumed the previousaly stated.



(Oh, and the summer I graduated from that school, the entire school district, 51 schools, had their asbestos removed aand re roofed some of them (elementry school included) and they took the time to replace all fire alarm systems with a EST system, EST gennises, EST lift-pull style stations, and EST traffic cone style smokes, and of course a addressable EST panel. In other words, it was ESTs biggest contract for the region I believe.)

A couple of other things is the popular “ink in the pull station” myth, although in the case of my ES, I was told white paint would spray out, and several pulls had white paint on them to support this, but I still don’t know for sure and being as I have one of those pulls, the possability does seem rather low.



Another good one was exactly how the Simplex T-bar pulled. Most of you are probably too young to remember this, but I’ll throw it out anyway: do any of you remember a site called “The Internet Fire Alarm”? It had a Simplex T-bar pull station and a 4903 alarm. Supposedly when you clicked on the pull station, the strobe on the alarm would flash and there’d be a siren sound. Well, it never worked correctly for me (the strobe would flash, but there’d be no sound) and what’s more when you clicked the pull, it didn’t “pull” correctly: it’d go from this to this. Towards the end of the site’s existance when you pulled the alarm the 4903 signal actually turned into a stretched version of the pull station.



It wasn’t until I stumbled upon TSW did I see what the pull station actually looked like when activated, so for a while, I debated whether the handle went straight down, or down and out.

Is this the same thing as <LINK_TEXT text=“http://forums.thefirepanel.com/viewtopi … ilit=myths”>http://forums.thefirepanel.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4403&hilit=myths</LINK_TEXT>

Meh, I’ll allow it. Most of what is discussed here probably are myths but because they don’t have to be, the topic makes sense.

I used to think that you could reset a panel and then silence it.

You can do that…

I remember that website. I only ever went to it once, and the same thing happened when I pulled it. Only the strobe flashed, but there would be no sound.

Hmm…yeah…Neve mind then…

I know that this topic is a bit old, but I used to think that all lights on fire alarms were strobes

Warning: I was very young at the time…

I once thought the small wire that runs from the top of the strobe tube in the 4903 strobes spun around.

I also once thought the handle on the Simplex T-Bars slowly went back up and made a clicking noise, like a rotary phone

I also thought fire alarms faded out when you turned them off too!


That's true in some buildings. One of my schools had a sign by the pull station by the office that was a reminder to call the fire department before pulling for a drill.

I originally thought that a Simplex 4251-30 sounded the alarm just from breaking the glass (a teacher’s aid in my first grade class thought that happened, so I believed her). Therefore, I got really scared if anyone played with the hammer or got close to bumping into the station. Obviously I know that isn’t true anymore. I originally thought that the glass was used the first time the alarm was pulled, and then the handle from then on.



Unlike Simplex4Life, I actually originally thought that all translucent visual signals were incandescent lights, since I was used to having Simplex 2903 light plates (with 9838s under them) at my elementary school.



I also originally thought that all newer, ADA alarms were speaker/strobes and that all older alarms were electromechanical horns. I didn’t know an electronic horn existed until I heard the SpectrAlert Classic horn/strobes at my temple.



Finally, I originally thought that Simplex’s older alarms were horn/light combos, not horns on light plates.

Same with those two. I also used to think all horn-only systems did Continuous, while all horn/visual systems did some kind of March Time or temporal code.

My second ES had 9838s too, but they were on 9101 strobe plates. Those are the first visual signals I remember seeing (I don’t remember for sure what kind of alarms my first ES had, but they could’ve been Edwards 360s or maybe National Time horns, as I seem to remember seeing something red and round next to the bells, which I think were 6 inch Adaptabels) I found out that not all of them were strobes when I got to MS which had Standard 4-350s behind those old Standard light plates in the section I was in.