The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Firefighting & The Fire Service – Part 19

December 20, 2018 1:30 pm

In LWF’s fire engineering blog series for Architects and others in the building design business, we have been looking at the principles behind firefighting, starting with occupier firefighting and now concentrating on firefighting undertaken by the Fire Service. In part 18, we looked at how the hoses are positioned to protect other parts of the building or to provide a route of retreat. In part 19, we will continue from that point.


In order for the firefighters to be able to attend, enter the building and position their stopping jets in suitable positions, building integrity has to be maintained. This relies on an adherence to fire safety standards at the time of construction and through effective maintenance of the building by the occupier.


In addition, provisions such as external water supplies, access points, ladders, protected staircases, fire-fighting lifts, internal water mains and ventilation systems may be provided to assist with the process of getting a firefighter to the optimum location, in order that they can set up their jets and stop a fire from spreading, with the ultimate aim of extinguishing the fire.


One of the most important pieces of equipment a firefighter will rely upon is the vehicle most people refer to as a ‘fire engine’. It is in fact a pumping appliance and therefore is commonly referred to as a ‘pump’.  A pump will contain both low and high-pressure pumps, a portable pump, high pressure hose reels, a suction hose, branches, nozzles and tips. In addition, it is usually pre-loaded with between 1000 and 2000 litres of water and foam compound which together form the firefighting foam.


The length of most hose in the UK is 25 metres, but with some being a little less, it is safe to assume that a hose will reach 20 metres for planning purposes. A ‘length’ of hose can be attached to other lengths in order to create a ‘line’. The ‘line’ is the entirety of the lengths from fire pump to the branch where the hand-held equipment is found. As a simple example, where three lengths of hose are joined together, this would comprise a single line of hose of three lengths and would be approximately 60 metres long.


In part 20 of this series, LWF will continue looking at operations by firefighters at the scene of a fire. 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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