The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Firefighting – Part 63

October 14, 2019 12:19 pm

In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at the provisions which should be made for firefighting activities. In part 62, we looked at the second 20 minutes of the firefighting timeline, which incorporates all actions from the fire alarm triggering through to the firefighters applying water jets to the fire. In part 63, we continue discussing firefighting.

Firefighting activities undertaken by the Fire Service can be roughly split into three categories – strategy, tactics and operations.
Firefighting strategy involves planning how the fire service will meet their objectives, which might be saving lives, mitigating damage to property or limiting damage to the environment. It is necessary for the firefighting strategies to be prepared in advance because the Fire Service cannot know which type of fire or building they may be called to extinguish.

Tactics are those methods employed by the Fire Service at the site of the fire in order to achieve their strategic aims.

Operations knowledge relates to how the equipment is to be used, what techniques and procedures will be necessary to fulfil the tactical plan.
Any provisions or facilities which are made at a site to assist firefighters in carrying out their duties may be considered the provision of an environment where offensive mode firefighting can be carried out.

The tactical firefighting objective involves ensuring that a firefighter can gain the optimal position in order to use a jet to stop a fire from spreading, and then the fire can be extinguished. Firefighting provision made by the building owner or occupier to assist in achieving the objective might be as follows:

Access to external water supplies
Suitable access points for Fire Service vehicles and personnel
The provision of ladders
The inclusion of protected staircases and firefighting lifts in the build
Internal water mains appropriately placed
Ventilation systems to extract smoke and provide tenable conditions

Such provisions can make the difference between a successful fire attack by the Fire Service, where they are able to achieve their objectives and save lives or limit damage to property/the environment, and one which is not.

The first attending pumping appliance at a fire will contain sufficient water to deploy a single stopping jet which is capable of holding the fire and avoiding fire spread. However, for the fire to be extinguished, well-placed hydrants should be available for priming to continue the water supply before the water in the pumping appliance is exhausted.

In part 64, LWF will continue to look at firefighting. 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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