The LWF Blog
Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Fire & Rescue Service Facilities – Part 7January 4, 2018 2:49 pm
In LWF’s fire safety blog series for those who work in Facilities Management or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, we have been looking at those plans which should be in place in order to facilitate the Fire and Rescue Service.
While some arrangements are administrative and might involve liaison with the local Fire Service, there are practical provisions which must be in place in certain types of building to ensure they are able to safely attend and extinguish a fire in the premises. Part 6 discussed sources of water which may be used where water mains are not available. Part 7 will move on to look at smoke control.
Short-term exposure to smoke from a fire affects vision through tearing of the eyes and also because smoke quite literally blocks the vision of a person when it fills a space. Smoke also affects breathing function; longer-term exposure can have very serious effects including death. It is, therefore, essential that the Fire Service is able to remove smoke from a building.
The methods of smoke removal can be as simple as opening windows in the building and in order to make this possible, each openable window or vent should be fitted with simple lever handles. In the case of buildings where the majority of windows are sealed for air-conditioning, it is important that a proportion are openable, typically with a ‘budget lock’ or with a square-ended key.
Some architecture means that the windows are not manually openable and in these situations, a remote-control facility should be provided for use by the Fire Service. The switch should be located as agreed with the Fire Service.
Some buildings may have complex air-conditioning systems which the Fire Service should be able to control. They may need to shut down or modify the air flow.
It is important that at the building design stage, the Fire Service are consulted to ensure that sufficient provision is made for smoke ventilation and once the premises are operational, that the local fire service is made aware of the location and arrangements of ventilation and other fire-fighting facilities within the building.
In Part 8 of this series, LWF will give an overview of the kind of information which will be of use to the Fire Service, how it should be compiled and where it should be kept in case of fire. 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.