The municiple alarm circuit, which connects over a couple hundred master boxes, a direct tie of a commercial or residential building to the fire department, and street boxes is maintained and repaired by a team of Poquonnock Bridge Firefighter's who are specially trained in Gamewell Municiple Fire Alarm Systems. This team of firefighter's are also contracted through the Poquonnock Bridge Fire District to maintain and repair the Gamewell Systems in the Old Mystic Fire District and Noank Fire District.
Red pull boxes, you see them on every street in our district and on most commercial buildings, at apartment complex's, condominium complex's and schools. It's called a municipal fire alarm system and has been in use for over 150 years. In the Poquonnock Bridge Fire District we have had them in continuous use since the early 1940's and have expanded the system over the years to include Red Pull Masterbox's. The difference between the two is this.
A Red Pull Box is usually found on a telephone pole on most streets likely near a hydrant. They operate mechanically by winding up a large spring in each box and they transmit a coded number signal electrically over a looped circuit at very low milli-amps.The loop is a continuous circuit and when you pull the box a coded wheel with teeth matching the box number starts spinning lifting an arm breaking the circuit and in turn each break in the circuit rings the bells with the coded number signal in the fire houses and at Groton Fire Alarm.This is instantaneous and starts the fire trucks on the way to the pull box.
A Red Pull Masterbox operates the same exact way but with one added feature. These are found on buildings or very close to buildings and are hooked to the buildings fire alarm panel.So if a buildings fire alarm sounds due to a smoke or heat detector, hallway pull station or sprinkler system activation, it sends an electric signal from the buildings fire alarm panel to the Red Pull Masterbox which is activated by a local energy trip in the masterbox. The bells instantly start ringing as described previously.
This system allows for a much quicker response to fires which means the fires are much smaller and can be contained with less damage and lives saved. Over the years this system has saved hundreds of millions of dollars to our taxpayer's. But more importantly it has saved many lives due to EARLY NOTIFICATION of the fire department.
During a power or phone outage or both...the Red Pull Box's work and you need to use them to contact 911 for Fire, Police and Medical Emergencies.
Traditionally the system is the most reliable communication device during blizzards, hurricanes, storms and power outages. It is self contained and does not need electicity from the power companies to operate.In past storms the system has stayed up and running and has only been down for a couple of hours during the last two hurricanes until a couple of wires downed by trees were reconnected. The system was the only form of contacting 911 in an emergency during these storms. The power grid and phone system were out for days, but the Red Pull Box's worked the whole time. Resident were instructed by radio if they needed Fire,Police or Ambulance to pull the nearest Red Pull Box and all three emergency services were sent until power and phone service were restored.
The municiple alarm circuit is maintained and repaired by a team of Poquonnock Bridge Firefighter's who are specially trained in Gamewell Municiple Fire Alarm Systems. This team of firefighter's are also contracted through the Poquonnock Bridge Fire District to maintain and repair the Gamewell Systems in the Old Mystic Fire District and Noank Fire District.