What needs to be included in a fire strategy plan? Firestopping FAQs
A fire strategy plan is a document that is unique for every building, outlining the measures that a building or organisation has in place to prevent fires, and how they will respond in case of a fire emergency. It would normally define where the compartment lines are and what fire rating is required.
A fire strategy implements ways to minimise the destruction caused by a potential fire, ultimately, saving lives and protecting property. It can also help ensure that building occupants are prepared to respond quickly and effectively in the event of a fire.
It is a legal requirement in the UK. Regulation 38 of the Building Regulations requires that “the person carrying out the work shall give fire safety information to the responsible person no later than the date of completion of the work, or the date of occupation of the building.”
A responsible person is defined as the person who owns the building or has control over areas of the premises.
What needs to be included?
A fire strategy should include the following key components:
- Means of warning – measuring the standard of fire detection required such as fire alarms, links to alarm receiving centres, and alarms that activate other emergency measures (e.g., for the release of fire doors).
- Evacuation plan – the procedures for safely evacuating occupants from the building in case of a fire emergency, including escape routes, assembly points, and communication protocols. There must also be adequate emergency lighting and signage for occupants looking to escape the building.
- Internal fire spread (passive fire protection) – measuring the level of internal protection. Passive fire protection measures include compartmentation, fire doors, fire-resistant materials, cavity barriers, etc. These measures protect escape routes by preventing the spread of fire and smoke.
- External fire spread – analysing any possible further damage if the fire should spread externally across cladding, rooves, and neighbouring buildings.
- Fire service access and facilities – ensuring that the building is accessible for the fire service and their external vehicles, including fire hydrants within the building. This section also needs to establish whether there is a requirement for access points, fire mains, firefighting lifts, etc.
- Fire safety management – looking at the evacuation strategy and fire safety training for members of staff who will direct the evacuation. It also includes addressing specific fire risks within the building and implementing fire protection maintenance.
Who should create a fire strategy plan?
A fire strategy plan should be created by a highly competent person, for example, an accredited fire risk assessor or a fire engineer.
However, if the building has a relatively simple approach implemented then a competent fire risk assessor or consultant would be able to advise, and for more complex scenarios, a chartered fire engineer.
A fire strategy plan should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure it remains relevant and effective, and to reflect any changes in the building, its occupants, or the surrounding environment that may impact the risk of fire.