Get the Briefing on Changes to Fire Standards in 2014

Are you responsible for Fire Safety at your facility? Catch up with the latest changes to fire safety standards and regulations in 2014. Get the overview fast and find out what you need to research in depth later.

They re-wrote the bible this year. The bible of the non-domestic fire alarm systems industry, BS 5839-1. Facilities manager for a non-domestic building? You need to understand these changes.

So what are the changes you need to know about right now?

BS 5839-1 Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings. Code of practice for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems in non-domestic premises

Care Homes

Special attention has been given to care homes in the new standards due to findings from the inquiry into the Rose Park care-home tragedy of 2004. These affect any facility sleeping more than ten people where those people would require assistance to evacuate in the event of a fire. These are as follows…

  • You need an ‘addressable system’ – The control panel clearly shows which specific alarm in the system has been triggered so that the fire can be found without staff searching the building.
  • Your system must automatically dial up the fire and rescue services and should not be filtered in any way. (Although you may choose to delay triggering the general alarm until staff have checked for evidence of a real fire.)

All Non-Domestic Facilities

  • You need a ‘zone plan’ and you need to keep it up to date.
  • All personnel responsible for looking after fire safety systems need to prove their competence. The standard recommends staff membership of relevant BAFE schemes to achieve this.
  • You need to check with your local fire and rescue service what their policy is on attendance. You may be surprised that they do not attend automatic transmissions for example. Spending cuts may lead to services charging fees for attending false alarms.
  • High ceilings? (e.g. warehouses) Check out the new rules for detection systems.

BS 5306-8 Fire extinguishing installations and equipment on premises. Selection and positioning of portable fire extinguishers. Code of practice

Main changes include better linking to service standards and risk assessment and an attempt to future proof the regulations against changes to environmental recommendations.

  •  Now your recommendations for coverage and type of extinguisher will be linked to your risk assessment instead of applying blanket rules.
  • Your annual service check will now include a check that your coverage and type of extinguisher is up to date with the most recent standard.
  • Unoccupied areas of the building must now be covered.
  • Effect of type of extinguisher on the processes in the building must now be considered.
  • ABC powder extinguishers may no longer be considered suitable for enclosed areas. Filling a small room with powder could obviously be a problem for people trying to get out.
  • Storage of bio fuels containing ethanol to be covered by AR Foam extinguishers.
  • Areas where cooking oil is used and stored now require class F extinguishers, not class B.
  • Number of extinguishers per floor and distance to next extinguisher rules have been tweaked. You’ll need to check these.

And finally, is your building ‘essential to the community’? If so, the new standard recommends that your fire safety provisions exceed the standards set. It could mean the difference between losing the building forever or bringing it back to life after the unthinkable happens.

Need to know more?

Due to these unprecedented circumstances, we have adopted measures to ensure EFL Fire & Security can still provide essential services in line with government guidelines to new and existing customers.

We recognise that fire, life safety and the security of property and assets is important to you. Please contact us on 01903 830664 for assistance or email with any fire and security requirements