The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Fire Safety Management – Part 24

April 14, 2020 12:50 pm

In LWFs 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. In part 23, LWF discussed the fire safety manager’s responsibilities in terms of training and education, before considering security. In part 24, we consider how the fire safety manager should work to ensure fire safety systems respond properly in a fire emergency.

It is important that safety systems respond correctly in a fire situation and the fire safety manager is responsible for this task. Although it is classed as a task, as with many fire safety requirements, it is comprised of many areas of work:

Effective housekeeping
Compliance with all relevant codes and regulations
Maintenance of structural and/or passive safety systems
Regular inspection, testing and maintenance of active fire safety systems
Testing under simulated emergency conditions
Safety audits and inspections
The recording of false alarms and appropriate actions being taken to mitigate them
Using the data gained from drills, false alarms and any near-miss events to learn from.
In larger buildings and complexes, the task may also include:
Ensuring all systems work properly with the emergency procedures
Effective integration of the fire safety systems and maintenance with other systems (e.g. ventilation).

We will examine several of these areas of work in more detail, starting with housekeeping:

Effective housekeeping procedures must be established and followed rigorously to ensure that escape routes remain clear of blockages and to reduce the chances of fire and smoke spreading throughout a building.

No items or boxes should be stacked in an escape route, even on a temporary basis. Rubbish should not be allowed to sit in an escape route and no items of a miscellaneous nature should be allowed into these areas.

Fire doors should be kept closed at all times, unobstructed on each side and must be available for use. Fire doors which incorporate hold-open devices must be fully operable, without any obstruction and must be closed at night.

All wayfaring signs (Fire Exit etc.) and wayfaring guidance lighting must be unimpeded and unobstructed at all times.

The fire safety manager should carry out a general inspection of all fire safety equipment at regular intervals.

It is also important for the fire safety manager to ensure vehicles are not parked on service roadways where the Fire Service would need to gain access with their appliances.

In part 25, LWF will look at fire safety maintenance and testing. 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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