The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Access & Facilities for the Fire Service – Part 57

January 17, 2019 12:39 pm

In LWFs blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 56 of this series, LWF spent time looking at the access required by Fire and Rescue Service vehicles to healthcare buildings not fitted with fire mains. In part 57, LWF will continue looking at those measures which should be taken to ensure the Fire Service has access to the building(s), initially with typical vehicle access route specifications.


When a Fire Service appliance attends a fire at a healthcare building or hospital, it is essential that they are able to access the outside of the building in question. One of the ways in which it is important this is addressed is through the provision of suitable roads on the site.


A standard pump (fire engine) requires a minimum road width between kerbs of 3.7 metres, gateways must be a minimum of 3.1 metres (between posts or obstructions). They have a minimum turning circle between kerbs of 16.8 metres, which is larger when turning between walls – 19.2 metres. They require a clearance height overhead of 3.7 metres and roads must be suitable for vehicles exceeding the minimum carrying capacity of 12.5 tonnes. It is noted that there are sometimes local deviations from national guidance, therefore early consultation with the Fire Authority to ascertain details of current/future specifications is recommended.


A high-reach appliance shares many of the same characteristics, with the following differences: The minimum turning circle between kerbs is increased to 26 metres and 29 metres between walls. The clearance height increases to 4 metres and the minimum carrying capacity for each high-reach vehicle is 17 tonnes.


When the Fire Service attend a fire in a low-rise building without a basement, their needs in order to undertake their duties will be met by adherence to the measure required for vehicle access around the building and access to the normal means of escape from the building.


The potential requirement for additional facilities for the Fire Service, e.g. fire-fighting shafts, fire mains and fire hydrants, can be determined by the height of the building, the depth of the basements, the floor area and the provision of hospital streets.


In part 58 of this series, LWF’s blog series for healthcare venues on fire safety will continue on the subject of Access & Facilities for the Fire Service by looking at what is required in the way of fire-fighting shafts in those buildings which do not have a hospital street. 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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