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Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – Part 28

January 13, 2020 2:52 pm

Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF) is a specialist fire engineering and fire risk management consultancy whose aim is to give information on best practice in fire safety for facilities management personnel through this blog series. In part 27, LWF discussed the fire safety duties required by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO or the Order). In part 28, LWF will begin to look at means of escape as per the RRFSO.

While the term ‘means of escape’ is not explicitly used in any of the articles within the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO), it is mentioned in the definition of ‘general fire precautions’ and the subject matter is covered in Article 14 of the Order – ‘Emergency routes and exits’.

Article 14(1) states that ‘where necessary in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons, the responsible person must ensure that routes to emergency exits from premises and the exits themselves are kept clear at all times’ and simply means that the escape routes should not be obstructed at any point.

Article 14(2) lays out requirements for compliance in premises where necessary, whether due to the type of premises, activities carried out there or particular hazards present, to safeguard relevant persons:

– Emergency routes and exits must lead as directly as possible to a place of safety;
– In dangerous circumstances, it must be possible for persons to evacuate the building as quickly and safely as possible;
– The number, distribution and dimensions of emergency routes and exits must be sufficient when considering the use, equipment and dimensions of the premises and the maximum number of people who may be on the premises at any time.
– Emergency doors must open in the direction of escape. Any door which might open contra to the escape route flow is capable of causing a blockage and becoming a cause of people being trapped inside the building.
– Sliding or revolving doors must not be used for exits intended as emergency exits.
– Emergency doors must not be locked or fastened so that they cannot be opened easily by any person who may need to use them in an emergency.

It should be noted that although some of the statements above may sound absolute, they are in fact laid out for implementation where necessary. The necessity is established by the fire risk assessment.

In part 29, LWF will look at measures for securing means of escape and fire-fighting and fire-detection. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.

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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