The LWF Blog

Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Fire & Rescue Service Facilities – Part 8

January 11, 2018 2:13 pm

In LWF’s 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 the facilities which must be provided to the Fire Service, whether structural or in terms of information. In Part 7, smoke control was discussed in terms of initial design and control in case of a fire. In Part 8, we look at what will be needed when the Fire Service arrive at the premises to deal with a fire.


Particularly in the case of large and complex buildings and sites, it is important to prepare a pack for the Fire Service with information on the site. A suitably labelled container should be kept at or near the entrance to the building so that it is accessible to the relevant person who will meet with the Fire Service upon arrival. The information pack should contain all relevant information and plans of each floor, including basements if appropriate; any hazardous materials stored on site; service control locations, sprinkler stop valves and any other information which might be used at the time of a fire.


In addition to the pack, it can be useful for basement plans to be displayed in the building, as well as signs to indicate the whereabouts of potentially hazardous materials. Depending upon the type of hazard, this signage may be legally required in any case.


Communications between Fire Service personnel are of the utmost importance, particularly in large and complex buildings in which their own portable radios may prove unreliable. It is important in such cases that consideration is given to a dedicated communications system for use by the Fire Service in a fire situation. Such systems may involve the placement of dedicated telephones in fire-fighting lobbies as well as a control point at access level.


BS 5839-9:2011 Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings. Code of practice for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of emergency voice communication systems provides the recommendations that should be complied with for the installation of two-way speech communication systems set up for use by the Fire Service.


As such communication systems are specifically made for use during a fire situation, it is important that they are installed using cables with enhanced fire resistance, to avoid failure when it is most required. BS 8434-2:2003+A2:2009 provides the necessary requirements for that level of fire resistance.


LWF’s next blog for Facilities Management will be ‘Fire and Human Behaviour – Part 1’ as we begin to look at that most unpredictable of variables – people. 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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