Fixed Fire-Fighting Installations

These are firefighting systems which are normally installed within the structure of the building. They may already be provided in your premises or you may be considering them as a means of protecting some particularly dangerous or risk-critical area as part of your risk-reduction strategy.

Hose Reels

Permanent hose reels installed in accordance with the relevant British standard (BS EN 671-3: 2000) provide an effective firefighting facility. They may offer an alternative, or be in addition to, portable firefighting equipment. A concern is that untrained people will stay and fight a fire when escape is the safest option. Where hose reels are installed, and your Fire Risk Assessment expects relevant staff to use them in the initial stages of fire, they should receive appropriate training.

Maintenance of hose reels includes visual checks for leaks and obvious damage and should be carried out regularly. More formal maintenance checks should be carried out at least annually by a competent person and it is highly recommended that flow tests are carried out on hose reels on a frequent basis, please contact us for further assistance.

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Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler systems can be very effective in controlling fires. They can be designed to protect life and/or property and may be regarded as a cost-effective solution for reducing the risks created by fire. Where installed, a sprinkler system is usually part of a package of fire precautions in a building and may form an integral part of the fire strategy for the building.

Sprinkler protection could give additional benefits, such as a reduction in the amount of portable firefighting equipment necessary, and the relaxation of restrictions in the design of buildings. Guidance on the design and installation of new sprinkler systems and the maintenance of all systems is given in the Loss Prevention Council (LPC) Rules or BS EN 12845 or BS 5306-2 and should only be carried out by a competent person.

Routine maintenance by on-site personnel may include checking of pressure gauges, alarm systems, water supplies, any anti-freezing devices and automatic booster pump(s). A competent maintenance contractor should provide guidance on what records need to be completed.

Following a sprinkler operation the sprinkler system should be reinstated by a competent person. A stack of spare sprinkler bulbs should be available on site for replacements, preferably in a separate building e.g. the pump house.

If a sprinkler system forms an integral part of your fire strategy it is imperative that adequate management procedures are in place to cater for those periods when the sprinkler system is not functional. This should form part of your emergency plan.

Although the actual procedures will vary, such measures may include the following;

  • Restore the system to full working order as soon as possible.
  • Limit any planned shutdown to low-risk periods when numbers of people are at a minimum (e.g. at night) or when the building is not in use. This is particularly important when sprinklers are installed to a life safety standard or form part of the fire safety engineering requirements.
  • Avoid higher-risk processes such as "hot-work".
  • Extra staff should be trained and dedicated to conducting fire patrols.
  • Any phased or staged evacuation strategy may need to be suspended. Evacuation should be immediate and complete. (Exercise caution as the stairway widths may have been designed for phased evacuation only.)
  • Inform the local fire and rescue service.

If, having considered all possible measures, the risk is still unacceptable then it will be necessary to close all or part of the building. If in doubt you should seek guidance from a competent person.

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