What is a Fire Strategy?
Often overlooked or misunderstood is a buildings fire strategy. It simply means how your building operates in the condition of fire with all the passive and active fire safety measures in place.
FIRE SAFETY SERVICES
The fire strategy of a building will be determined by the fire risk assessor or fire engineer and covers the above principles, using knowledge, experience, training and reference to Government guidance documents and codes of practices. This also includes references to tables on maximum travel distances, identifying ignition sources, use of your building, fire risk assessment report, emergency fire evacuation plan, amongst other important factors.
It is a critical document, which brings together a number of factors in determining how your building will operate in any fire situation. When the fire strategy is commissioned, it will take into account the existing arrangements on the structure of the building, whether in a high rise block there will be a ‘stay-put’ policy, or in residential and nursing care homes a policy of phased horizontal evacuation (PHE). The fire risk assessment report will also be considered and depending on the occupancy and the size of any fire compartments.
Smoke control, ventilation systems, and occupancy capacities will also be considered. The smoke control may also require smoke calculations by an independent fire engineer, such as in Atrium areas of shopping Malls etc.
The key to a robust and sound strategy is considering all the information above and then providing a detailed document outlining this consideration. Once the strategy has been completed, your site-specific fire emergency evacuation plan can then be prepared and finally practised by the buildings occupiers on a regular basis as required by The Fire Safety Order 2005.
Frequently Asked Questions about Fire Strategies
Below you will find answers to commonly asked questions.
Ideally yes, as this will determine amongst other things the fire procedures to follow, such as a continuous evacuation, or a ‘stay put’ policy. All being determined by the occupancy type within the building and whether there are independent, dependent or highly dependent occupiers.
Ultimately the nominated ‘responsible person’ under the fire safety order, but usually this person instructs a competent person to provide this as there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account. Usually your fire risk assessor will provide a fire strategy document if you instruct them and they are competent.
In its simplest terms, it is a document which explains in detail how your building operates under the condition of fire.