The LWF Blog

Know your neighbour – Fire Safety Matters

October 31, 2011 10:42 am

All too often, we look so closely at our own issues, that we forget the impact others can have on us. This is also very true in the world of fire safety and the importance of it highlighted by recent high profile fires.

Neighbours are a risk and must be considered as such. For example, if your building was next to, or on the same site as a firework factory, you should be conscious of it’s presence and hopefully ensure adequate mitigating measures are in place. However, not all scenarios are as obvious of this.

All buildings present a risk – for instance, a fire started recently in a high street charity shop then spread to an adjoining furniture store. Fortunately any further spread was prevented by fire service intervention.

Steps can be taken to reduce these risks. Passive fire separation, i.e. fire walls are critical to reduce the likelihood of fire spread between buildings. More importantly if there is a risk to life, active systems may be required, for example, a fire in neighbouring building, may need to raise the alarm in your demise, to ensure your safe escape.

The activities / work processes of neighbouring buildings may also have an impact. For example, should compressed cylinders be used / stored, a fire involving them could send shrapnel up to 200m. This may cause a direct risk to life safety and later on have business disruption issues as emergency services enforce safety cordons.

Fire risk assessments should consider adjacent buildings and likewise, the significant findings of your risk assessment should be communicated to your neighbours.

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