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Residential Fire Safety

Discuss all things fire related.

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LittleNell83
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Residential Fire Safety

Post by LittleNell83 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:48 pm

Hello,

I know this may be a bit off topic but, I live in a block of flats. We have a communal fire system.
All good except:

We have discovered the fire brigade have no entry to the electrical cupboards, which are locked and tenants don't have a key. When a Sky engineer asked for access to update the equipment, this was refused by the managment agency.

The fire alarms don't seem to automatically call the Fire service when they go off - we had to call when there was an issue with smoke in the corridor and the alarm sounding.

The fire alarms sound in the corridors, but not in the flats. This is concerning, as there have been occasions that when the alarm has sounded, we struggled to hear it- as did our neighbours, until we went into the corridor. So had to knock on doors as we left to ensure others were aware.

The water hydrants on each floor are padlocked... leather strip through them.

I am just wondering what people think, and who is the best person to contact if there is an issue to be resolved.

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Re: Residential Fire Safety

Post by bernicarey » Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:34 pm

LittleNell83 wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:48 pm
We have discovered the fire brigade have no entry to the electrical cupboards, which are locked and tenants don't have a key. When a Sky engineer asked for access to update the equipment, this was refused by the managment agency.
Why did the Sky engineer need to get in the cupboard? Is it a communal Sky System? Surely if any Sky equipment is in the cupboard, then the management company need to provide access.
The FRS have big axes, they'll get in if they need to!
LittleNell83 wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:48 pm
The fire alarms don't seem to automatically call the Fire service when they go off - we had to call when there was an issue with smoke in the corridor and the alarm sounding.
Quite common not to directly call.
LittleNell83 wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:48 pm
The fire alarms sound in the corridors, but not in the flats.
Again, not particularly unusual, but they should be loud enough to be heard in the flats, otherwise why have them.
LittleNell83 wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:48 pm
The water hydrants on each floor are padlocked... leather strip through them.
What do you mean by "hydrants"? .scratch Hose Reels or Dry Riser ?

How big is the block?
How many flats per floor and how many floors?
Hose reels are not an easy thing for residents to use; they need pulling along corridors, usually needing a few people depending how far, possibly through fire doors, thus destroying the protection of the fire doors.
Many blocks of flats don't have fire extinguishers and a Dry Riser isn't for you it's only for the FRS and they either have keys or can always use cutters on a leather strip (or an axe on a DR door).

I'd ask the management company to see the Fire Risk Assessment.
You can always contact the Community Officer at the local FRS, they'll be more than happy to visit.

I'll be interested in Messy's view on this.
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Re: Residential Fire Safety

Post by Messy » Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:01 pm

100% agree with Bernicarey's post:

The fire detection system is a life safety designed to alert people in the area (the common parts) of a fire so they can leave to a place of safety. There is no requirement for the fire alarm system to call the fire service on a life safety system. It sounds like a defend in place strategy is in place, so the flats do not need sounders.

The fire hydrants are known as dry risers. The fire service plug their hoses in at the bottom and fill a vertical pipe with water. The fire service can then connect to an outlet on an upper floor, thereby saving time as otherwise they'd have to lay hose up the stairs

The outlets look like taps with round turn wheels. These are often secured in the closed position with a leather strap and padlock as you don't really want outlets left open on all 22 floors of a building!! The fire service will carry a knife or axe to severe the strap if they want it. This is why its leather and not a chain.

As a tenant/resident, you are totally entitled to approach your landlord and ask details of the fire safety strategy - indeed, now more than ever, landlords are more likely to engage with others. The landlord will have access to the buildings full fire risk assessment and other details.

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Re: Residential Fire Safety

Post by bernicarey » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:11 pm

Just to Add to this for LittleNell

I'm assuming that she is talking about a Dry Riser Outlet like this

Image

Whereas, many people will only be used to seeing something like this:

Image

As Messy said, they can cut the leather strap, or with a box, whether Inlet or Outlet, entry is still easy:

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Re: Residential Fire Safety

Post by LittleNell83 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:09 pm

There is only 3 floors of our flats, on top of retail premises. The doors are heavy enough to be fire doors. They have the strips.In the event of the alarm going off most of us leave the flats.

Thanks folks. It doesn't help signage is missing. They are the dry hose reels. They were only padlocked a couple of weeks ago. Which is also when signage. This was after the fire brigade arrived on a call out and asked for details of our management company so it could be there was something they weren't happy with.

As to the electrical cupboard, it is a communal Sky system. Management refused permission for the engineer to access the cupboard. This is despite being emailed in advance and originally being told it would be fine.

Thanks for the answers. It sounds like the only issue may be the volume levels in the flats. I'll email them this week about that.

Thanks,
Nell


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Re: Residential Fire Safety

Post by witsd » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:26 pm

bernicarey wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:34 pm
Again, not particularly unusual, but they should be loud enough to be heard in the flats, otherwise why have them.
Just to add one thought:

Unless there is a policy for all persons to evacuate the building in the event the alarm system is activated, I see no real need for them to be audible within the flats (at least, not to any specified level). Their purpose is purely to alert any persons within the common area and prevent others from entering from outside.

If the intention is for an evacuation to be triggered by the alarm, then it's no good them just 'being audible' from within the flats – at that point you'd be wanting the alarm to be 85 decibels by beds, otherwise what is an alarm sounding at 3 am going to achieve?
We often think that when we have completed our study of one we know all about two, because 'two' is 'one and one.' We forget that we still have to make a study of 'and.'

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Re: Residential Fire Safety

Post by bernicarey » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:02 pm

It seems there is a bit of a problem here in that the Alarm system is a 'Life Safety' to only alert people in common areas (are there any, other than the halls?) yet Nell says :
The fire alarms sound in the corridors, but not in the flats. This is concerning, as there have been occasions that when the alarm has sounded, we struggled to hear it- as did our neighbours, until we went into the corridor. So had to knock on doors as we left to ensure others were aware.
So the Management Company haven't informed the tenants what the Fire Strategy is for the premises.

At the moment, the tenants are taking their own actions, because they haven't been told what is supposed to happen.
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Re: Residential Fire Safety

Post by witsd » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:02 pm

This is pretty common at the moment. A lot of landlords seem reluctant to get the heck off of the fence and decide whether it's a stay-put 'delayed evacuation' policy or not.

As far as I've always understood things, if there are no serious issues identified and it's purpose-built accommodation, then stay put is still the default option, but as you say, it's no good not to bother informing tenants of what they ought to be doing, especially if any kind of common alarm is in place.
We often think that when we have completed our study of one we know all about two, because 'two' is 'one and one.' We forget that we still have to make a study of 'and.'

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Re: Residential Fire Safety

Post by Messy » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:37 pm

at that point you'd be wanting the alarm to be 85 decibels by beds

Blimey. That's gunna be LOUD!!
75 decibels will do

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Re: Residential Fire Safety

Post by bernicarey » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:31 pm

Messy wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:37 pm
at that point you'd be wanting the alarm to be 85 decibels by beds

Blimey. That's gunna be LOUD!!
75 decibels will do
I hadn't noticed that comment! :lol:

Yep, 85 dB(A) is hearing protection Action Level to wear ear protection!!
BS5839-1:2017 para 16.2.1 details recommended sound levels, and that's where you'll find it says 'not less than 75 dB(A)' to rouse people from sleep.
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Re: Residential Fire Safety

Post by witsd » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:16 am

LMAO, yes.

Whoops.

Still, given what my kids can sleep though... :director:
We often think that when we have completed our study of one we know all about two, because 'two' is 'one and one.' We forget that we still have to make a study of 'and.'

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