The LWF Blog

Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Fire & Rescue Service Facilities – Part 6

December 21, 2017 4:42 pm

In LWF’s blog series for those who work in Facilities Management or who have a responsibility for fire safety, we have been looking at the requirements of the Fire Service, both in terms of structural provision within the building and in relation to management procedures and information. In part 5, the design of dry and wet fire mains was discussed and in Part 6, we take a look at Foam Inlets and Private Water Supplies.


Foam inlets are generally provided in circumstances where there is a risk of an oil fire. The inlet allows the Fire Service to inject foam into areas at ground level or below. Some places where this type of system might be found are oil-fired boiler rooms, oil storage tank rooms and transformer chambers. The design of the system is relatively simple. A network of pipes with outlets in the area of risk and one inlet or more for the Fire Service to use. The inlets are usually found embedded in an external wall. Further information and guidance on foam inlets can be found in BS 5306-1:2006 – Code of practice for fire extinguishing installations and equipment on premises. Hose reels and foam inlets.


In the case of a large fire, the hose reel on a pumping appliance (fire engine) may not be sufficient to control the fire. In normal circumstances, the Fire Service would then attach their hose to a public fire hydrant supplied by water authority mains supply. The water main effectively provides an endless supply of water. However, on a large private site, the nearest public hydrant may be too far away to be useful. In such cases, the owner or occupier should provide private water supply hydrants for the use of the Fire Service. Such hydrants would be placed by roadways and preferably fed from a ring main which enables the hydrant to be fed in two directions.


BS 9990:2015 – Non automatic fire-fighting systems in buildings. Code of practice provides guidance on Private fire hydrants and states that hydrants should be sited within 90m of an entry to the building it is to serve, but should not be closer than 6m. Each hydrant should be spaced no more than 90m from each other and the water supply should be capable of providing 1,500l/minute.

All private hydrants should be marked by signs and the hydrants should be inspected and tested annually to ensure they are fit for use by the Fire Service in case of a fire.


In cases where static and natural sources of water are a possibility, consultation with the Fire Service must be undertaken to ascertain if any additional equipment such as sumps or portable pumps may be necessary to assist them in using supplies of water from rivers, canals, lakes etc. Any shortfall after considering all the options given may be resolved with the provision of a suitably sized water tank.


In Part 7 of this series, LWF will look at the Fire Service’s use of Smoke Control facilities. 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. 


While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.


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