The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Fire Mains – Part 60

February 5, 2019 11:38 am

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 59 of this series, LWF discussed the requirements for healthcare buildings with a hospital street and which do not require a fire-fighting shaft. In part 60, we will look at the provision of fire mains.


Fire mains must be provided in every firefighting shaft, or in some instances, in healthcare buildings with a hospital street as required. Additionally, where healthcare premises include a floor which is over 50 metres above ground or main access level, wet rising mains should be provided. In instances where fire mains are provided in buildings lower than 50 metres above ground or main access level, wet and dry mains are both considered suitable.


Wet or dry fire mains should be designed and installed in accordance with BS 9990:2015 – Non automatic fire-fighting systems in buildings. Code of practice.


When considering the issue of provision of fire hydrants, it should be noted that a building containing any compartment of 280 m2 or more, and which is erected more than 100 metres from an existing fire hydrant should have additional hydrants provided according to the following criteria:


 Buildings provided with fire mains – hydrants should only be provided within 90 metres of dry fire main inlets;


 Buildings not provided with fire mains – hydrants should be provided within 90 metres of an entry point to the building and not more than 90 metres apart.

BS 3251:1976 – Specification. Indicator plates for fire hydrants and emergency water supplies states that each fire hydrant should be indicated clearly by the affixing of a plate in a nearby and conspicuous position.


Where there is no water main available, or there is insufficient water pressure and flow in the main, or an alternative source is proposed, it should be provided in accordance with the following:


 A charged static water tank of at least 45000 litres capacity, or


 A spring, river, canal or pond capable of providing or storing at least 45000 litres of water (at all times of the year) to which access, space and hard standing are available for the Fire Services’ pumping appliance, or


 Any other means of providing a water supply which is suitable and is considered appropriate by the Fire and Rescue Authority.


The content of this blog assumes that the building has not been constructed within easy access of public hydrants, although these may be used if they are available and suitable.


In part 61 of this series, LWF will continue the subject of access and facilities for the Fire Service by considering the venting of basements. 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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