The LWF Blog
Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Fire & Rescue Service Facilities – Part 1November 16, 2017 11:02 am
In LWF’s Fire Safety blog series for those who work in Facilities Management or have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, we are going to look at those facilities which should be provided for the Fire and Rescue Service, in case of a fire in your building.
Although the time when these considerations should be made is prior to construction of the building in question, it is important to be aware of and consider any necessary arrangements for the Fire and Rescue service as a new owner or tenant of an existing building, or if any renovations are planned on an existing build.
It is potentially possible that the provision of specific facilities to aid the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) is a requirement, either through local or standard building regulations, and so it follows that during the design and construction stage of a building, the FRS should be consulted to ensure that, as per the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, the relevant advice is obtained and acted upon.
While those responsible for the construction have a duty to consider the facilities needed by the FRS, equally, the FRS are also obliged by the Act to familiarise themselves with all necessary information relating to property in that area. They particularly need to be aware of the nature and position of water supply for firefighting means and how they will be able to gain access to a building. With this in mind, the FRS often conduct familiarisation visits to premises which are sometimes known as 7(2)(d) visits, named for the clause relating to those visits in the Act.
In this blog series, LWF will look at those provisions which should be made for the FRS to aid those attending in case of fire, such as:
Access arrangements to the premises and within the premises, including stairways and lifts
Dry or wet rising mains and foam inlets for FRS use
Private water supplies (if any)
Smoke ventilation provision and procedure for shutdown of plant facilities
Information such as floor plans, position of service controls
Any special communication facilities
Emergency switches relating to exterior or interior electrical installations if the voltage exceeds what is considered low.
In part 2, we will begin to consider each of the elements named above in more detail, along with any relevant guidance. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0208 668 8663.
Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.