The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Assessment of landing valve locations – Part 40

May 7, 2019 1:34 pm

In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others in the building design business, we have been looking at how the placement of landing valve locations should be assessed and decided upon. In part 39, LWF discussed a 2004 study commissioned by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) named Physiological assessment of firefighting, search and rescue in the built environment. Fire Research Technical Report 2/2005, and the correlation between the distance firefighters carrying equipment had to travel up flights of stairs and the distance they are then able to travel into the compartment of fire origin. In part 40, we continue to consider landing valve locations from that point.

In the UK, it is standard practice for firefighters to use a firefighting lift where provided and exit to the stairway two floors below the floor where the fire is situated. The above-named research indicated that firefighters, having climbed two flights of stairs with their equipment, should not travel more than 32 metres into a fire compartment. However, real fire situations have shown that firefighters routinely enter buildings of five storeys or more and have penetrated the fire floor to a distance of 45 metres. If the findings of the study were to have been accepted as a standard, this would mean that all buildings above two floors in height would have dry risers installed. 

Upon arriving at the floor which is two floors below the fire floor, the firefighters commence one of two courses of action. They either establish a bridgehead on that floor and connect hoses to a landing valve and run the hose up the staircase to the fire, or the senior officer investigates the next floor and indicates it is safe to establish the bridgehead one floor below the fire floor, and the hoses are run up the remaining staircase to the fire. Exact operations vary locally and can be subject to dynamic risk assessments.

From the routine procedures carried out by the Fire Service, it becomes more obvious that if one landing valve is to be installed for each staircase, the best location is within the staircase enclosure. This means that only the fire-resisting doors to the fire floor are held open by a hose line passing through and shortens the hose lines in use.

In cases where more than one landing valve is to be installed for each staircase, it would seem prudent to place one in the staircase enclosure and one adjacent to the fire compartment door, as there may be times when it is safe to enter the fire compartment without a charged line of hose and, in this eventuality, it would mean that all fire-resisting doors can be kept closed, it is however noted that this isn’t commonplace.

In part 41 of this series, LWF will continue looking at the placement of landing valves. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us. 

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact Peter Gyere on 020 8668 8663.

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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