The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Fire Control Centre – Part 2

July 20, 2020 1:27 pm

In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at those activities of a company which can be classed as fire safety management. Fire Control Centres are designed for phased evacuation or where the building is large or complex. In part 1 of this series on the fire control centre, LWF discussed provision, placement and communications. In part 2, we will consider what the fire control centre should contain.

A fire control centre should contain all necessary control and indicating equipment for the fire alarm, as well as for any other fire safety systems installed in the building. It should allow for the evacuation signal to be sounded in each evacuation zone independently, and the ability to signal a total evacuation, where appropriate.

A total evacuation would not be possible in a building where the stairs have been designed to cope only with a phased evacuation.

Provision should be made for cancellation of an automatic sequencing of phases of an evacuation procedure, except for the initial phase.

A control system should be included in the control centre which shows the location of any fire incident and the status of all automatic fire protection installations and facilities.

Overrides should be provided to work with all automatic fire protection provision, air conditioning systems or ventilation systems using recirculation, except for any systems which must be sited locally to the hazard, for example gaseous extinguishing systems or sprinkler system mains.

The control centre should include a communication system which conforms to BS 5839-9 and which can provide a direct link between the control room and all firefighting lobbies, Fire Service access points and any refuges provided for people with mobility issues.

It is important that an exchange telephone is provided with direct dialling for external calls, in case the ability of the telephone switchboard and system is affected by the fire incident.

The public address / voice alarm system should be accessible from the control centre to allow information to be given to occupiers of the building.

If CCTV is provided to monitor the control of evacuation, controls and screens should be provided in the control centre. The ability to see the progress of the evacuation can be a very useful tool in the management of an emergency situation and a phased evacuation.

In part 3, LWF will continue to look at what equipment and information should be provided within the fire control centre. 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 the LWF office 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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