The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Fire Attack Access and Planning – Part 58

September 9, 2019 11:57 am

In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others in the building design business, we have been looking at the fire safety provision made for firefighting. In part 57, we discussed one possible solution to the problem of firefighting safely in ultra high-rise buildings. In part 58, we will talk about fire attack access and planning starting with the main objectives of access to a building for firefighting purposes.

General objectives and access requirements can be laid out which are common to the majority of buildings and tactical firefighting objectives, but possibly the most important point to make is that each building and usage should be considered by individual assessment. With the information in hand, the optimum locations of fire attack access doors and internal fire attack routes can be determined.

Previously in this blog series, the positioning of landing valves was discussed and it was suggested that if one landing valve were to be used for each staircase, it should be positioned within the staircase enclosure at each intermediate landing between levels. Additionally, if every part of every storey is within 50 metres of the fire-resisting doors at the entrance to the compartment, from a staircase in which there are landing valves, or if more than one landing valve is to be installed, one should be installed within the fire compartment itself, adjacent to the door from the firefighting shaft.

Assuming the above criteria, the travel distances relate to three functions:

1) Carrying equipment from the fire pump to the lift
2) Travel in the lift to a floor two floors below the floor of fire origin
3) The distance a hose line must deploy into the fire compartment from a half landing.
Floor areas can be increased and so the travel distances will increase, if the floor areas are accessed from fire protected corridors, as in the case of hospital streets, and if those corridors are ventilated or pressurised to control smoke ingress.
If it is known that the fire is contained within a fire compartment and the access corridor is a safe route, the physiological issues experienced when working in a hot environment won’t apply until the fire compartment itself is entered. The travel distances then relate to two additional functions, in addition to the three named above.
4) Carrying equipment along a ‘fire safe’ corridor.
5) Deploying the hose line into the fire compartment from the fire protected corridor.

In part 59 of this series, LWF will discuss internal access to large single-storey buildings. 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 0800 410 1130.

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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