fire service access

45m fire service access

Providing compensatory protection when fire service access is difficult

Approved Document B proposes that fire service vehicle access should be achieved to within 45m of the furthest point in the dwelling when measured from the fire appliance's parking position. When this guidance cannot be achieved there is the potential for debate over the most appropriate and practical solutions. Approved Document B would suggest that dry rising water mains be provided where basic vehicle access is achieved, however this is often disputed by fire services on grounds of travel distance, availability of water supplies and additional time prior to commencing fire fighting. It is not uncommon on compact developments for ideal access to be impossible to achieve and therefore Automist offers reasonable and cost effective alternative solutions.

When the fire service arrives at the scene, the fire could have been growing for at least 20 to 30 minutes (based on the time required for detection, the call to the fire service and then the fire service response). This could result in a very large fire, threatening the lives of firefighters. Where it is not practical to plan for easy fire service access in a project, automatic fire suppression systems present an alternative. With Automist installed to the accommodation rooms, fire size and compartment temperatures can be greatly reduced (as demonstrated in Appendix A of our Technical Guide). As a secondary benefit, the suppression will also help to improve conditions for escape within the dwelling prior to fire service arrival and also assist with limiting fire damage.

Where Automist is used in lieu of the normal fire engine access arrangements, suppression will normally need to be installed throughout the premises, although some rooms may be excepted on a case-by-case basis if they do not present a significant fire risk. As with any construction project, this should be discussed with your building control officer before the project commences.