There is nothing more important than the safety of your building’s occupants. Updated regulations and industry innovations have increased smoke and fire protection, and elevator controls play a huge role in fire alarm system emergency functions. Smoke detectors, heat detectors, sprinklers, shunt trips and recall operations are all important features that help protect the vertical shaft and the elevator car inside it. Continue reading for more information on how elevator systems are becoming safer in the event of a fire.

Firefighters’ Emergency Operation (FEO)
The B44 Elevator Code makes Firefighters’ Emergency Operation (FEO) mandatory for most new passenger elevators regardless of building height or occupancy. Firefighters’ Emergency Operation consists of two parts:
Phase I – Emergency Recall exists to protect the occupants of a building. If people are in an elevator when a Fire Alarm Initiating Device (FAID) activates, the elevator will automatically move to a safe floor, away from the fire, and shut down with the doors open. The elevator will then remain unavailable for normal use until it is reset.
Phase II – Emergency In-car Operation then comes into effect, which allows firefighters to use an elevator during fire operations by maintaining control from inside the elevator car.
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Elevators For Use by Firefighters
The determination whether an elevator requires the Firefighters’ Elevator designation is based upon the Building Code “High Building” classification. This depends on multiple factors such as building Group and Division, building occupancy and building height.

If your building does classify as a High Building, it’s subject to additional safety requirements such as positively-pressurized elevator shafts, full generator emergency power and Central Alarm and Control Facilities (CACF). A red fire hat symbol on the main floor level entrance door jamb identifies an Elevator for Use by Firefighters.

Did You Know?
The State of Illinois has made a code modification to ASME A17.1-2019, requiring the witnessing of initiating devices for Fireman’s Emergency Operation. It states that all initiating devices (smoke detectors, etc.) for all elevators shall be tested every 5 years by an elevator inspector. Fire devices are already tested once a year by both the elevator and fire company, but this rule is written to also include an elevator inspector. Coordination may become an issue, as it’s difficult to get all three parties onsite at the same time to perform the inspection, and there will most likely be additional costs to the building. This modification excludes the City of Chicago.

Fire Prevention Week
In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country. During Fire Prevention Week, children, adults, and teachers learn how to stay safe in case of a fire. Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires.
Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage.
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Industry Partner Spotlight: USA Fire Protection
USA Fire Protection is an industry leader in the application of fire sprinkler and alarm technology. Their team has completed projects ranging from multi-level skyscrapers to single-family homes, from existing buildings to new construction. Whether you’re modifying your existing system or adding protection to your current system, USA Fire Protection will assist you in finding the right life safety and fire protection solution for your needs.
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