Our job here at BBC Fire Protection is to help provide guidance and insight into the best practice in fire safety. We want to protect your business and your life from the devastating effects of fire.
We have everything you need to help you in your role as the Responsible Person, Duty Holder or Appropriate Person.
Whether you’re responsible for a school, hospital, office, restaurant, shopping centre or a warehouse, Fire safety should be a top priority in all premises. As the person responsible for the Fire Safety in your organisation, you not only have the business in your hands, but the lives of everyone within that premises.
To make your position easier, we at BBC Fire have provided you with a fire safety checklist and guidance into the best practice of fire safety.
Fire spreads – FAST!
In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames. The best chance you have is to detect the fire quickly and give enough warning to allow people to get to safety.
In some cases it is enough to simply rely on the fire being discovered and to alert others manually. However, an automatic fire detection and alarm system is normally considered necessary in the following buildings/ situations where immediate action is paramount:
• Buildings where people sleep,
• Covered shopping complexes and large or complex places of assembly,
• Buildings with phased evacuation,
• In compensation for a reduction in standards of certain other fire protection measures (e.g. extended travel distance or reduction in the fire resistance of construction protecting the escape route),
• In lieu of vision between an inner room and its associated access room,
• As a means of automatically operating other fire protection measures such as closing fire doors, the release of electronically locked doors or initiation of smoke control systems,
• In data centres and other associated buildings with large volumes of electronic equipment,
WHAT DO I NEED MY SYSTEM TO DO?
It sounds like an obvious question, but in the panic of a fire you need to know that everything is being taken care of. An appropriate Fire Detection and Alarm system will notify everyone in the building at the earliest possible moment so that they can exit the building or follow other instructions that are issued immediately. Another benefit to an automatic FD&A system is that it can also alert the Fire Brigade to allow early intervention. The FD&A system may be connected to other systems or equipment for the automatic control of fire protection measures, e.g. fire dampers or fixed extinguishing systems in order to control the spread of fire.
Fire detectors can come in a variety types and are suitable for a multitude of environments.
To find out the most suitable FD&A system, we recommend discussing your needs with one of our fire specialists. A fire alarm system should be installed by companies certified to either LPS1014 or SP203-1 third party certification schemes which prove their competence in that area and we at BBC Fire Protection can assure you that we come under this category.
WHAT SORT OF SYSTEM SHOULD I CHOOSE?
Systems can vary from small, simple systems with one or two manual call points and sounders to systems which incorporate a large number of automatic fire detectors, manual call points and sounders connected to numerous intercommunicating control and indicating panels.
Systems may also be designed to include sophisticated techniques to avoid false alarm – this is usually preferred by the likes of shopping centres, manufacturing warehouses and data centres where a false alarm could prove damaging to productivity of the business to care homes, hotels and hospitals where an unnecessary evacuation can be problematic. Various audio and visual alarm systems are available to manage the controlled evacuation of a building in the event of a fire.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
BBC Fire Protection can provide you with a wide range of solutions that will cater for the FD&A requirements of any type of premises.
The types of equipment that we might recommend for your premises may include:
• Manual call points that allow people to raise a fire alarm, commonly known as “break glass” units,
• Point detectors that are designed to detect one or more of the four characteristics of fire; heat, smoke, combustion gas,
• Multi-sensor detectors that combine detector technology to improve the detection characteristics and reject false alarms,
• Optical beam detectors which provide economical and effective protection of large, open plan spaces where the use of traditional detection technologies would prove to be difficult and/or costly to install,
• Line type heat detectors are used in large industrial spaces such as tunnels or car parks with adverse environmental conditions,
• Aspirating smoke detectors are traditionally associated with early warning, high sensitivity applications such as the protection of computer rooms but they are also widely used to provide flexible and discrete detection solutions – for example in inaccessible, harsh, unusually high or aesthetically sensitive areas,
• Sounders and bells give an audible fire alarm warning but these may be supplemented by voice alarm devices that give spoken instructions, or even a sophisticated voice alarm system,
• Wireless systems are available which provide solutions where wired installations are not suitable,
• Other devices, such as visual alarms or beacons, are used if there is a risk of audio signals not being adequately heard by all occupants, either for disability reasons or by use of ear defenders.
HOW IS THIS EQUIPMENT OPERATED?
A control and indicating panel not only operates the day to day test and running of the fire alarm system but it is also at the centre of managing what happens in the event of a fire alarm.
This panel has the ability to not only indicate the zone in which a detector or call point has been activated, but has the capability of being a fully addressable panel that can give the details and location of the individual detector or call point that has operated.
A zone plan should always be displayed alongside the fire alarm control and indicator panel in order for staff and the fire brigade to immediately determine where the fire has been discovered.
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO CONSIDER?
Your risk assessment should successfully identify a specific range of protective measures that are appropriate for the particular type of premises and usage of the premises. The combination of the protective measures will vary with the application but the following need to be considered:
• Structural and passive fire protection,
• Fire detection and warning systems,
• Means of escape (escape routes), emergency escape lighting,
• Signs and notices,
• Firefighting equipment and facilities,
• Kitchen fire suppression systems,
• Gaseous extinguishing systems,
• Other fixed fire extinguishing systems,
• Recording, planning, informing, instructing and training,
As the person responsible for the Fire Safety in your organisation, you have a lot to plan, consider and implement, but we at BBC Fire Protection are here to take the stress out of your Fire Safety strategy.