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What is the BS 8629:2019 Guidance for Evacuation Systems?

BS 8629 is a “Code of practice for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of evacuation alert systems for use by fire and rescue services in buildings containing flats”.

BS 8629 is a “Code of practice for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of evacuation alert systems for use by fire and rescue services in buildings containing flats”.

What is an Evacuation Alert System (EAS)?

An Evacuation Alert System is not a Fire Alarm System.  It is a system, designed to be able to withstand fire for extended periods of time, for use exclusively by the Fire and Rescue Service.  It will only be used in the event that a fire in a building designed for stay put, is developing to the point where residents in the building are becoming potentially at risk from fire, and who need to evacuate.

The person who makes the decision that evacuation is needed, is the incident commander.

Normally, if the commander considers that there is a need to evacuate occupants of flats, this is done manually.  In rare situations, like Grenfell, it may be necessary to initiate a more extensive evacuation, where FRS resources are already stretched.

This is where the Evacuation System is used.

Why BS 8629 is needed and which buildings does it apply to?

The standard BS 8629 was written following a request from the Scottish government, who wished to be able to reference a standard in their building regulations, to specify the requirements for an evacuation alert system, for buildings with storeys over 18 above ground level.  The system was to be installed, in applicable buildings, and be held ready for exclusive use by the Fire and Rescue Service (“FRS”).

Although BS 8629 is intended for blocks of flats, it does not provide any recommendations with respect to the type of applicable building, or when an evacuate alert system should be specified for use in a specific building.  This is left to the specifying authority.

When the standard BS 8629 was written, it was assumed that it would only apply to new builds.  It was written at the request of the Scottish government, but it was believed that it would also be of interest in England and Wales and, potentially, other countries who use British Standards.  Since publication, local authorities are considering its application in existing buildings, and to date many of the applications have been retrofits, rather than new builds.

The primary application is for high rise buildings over 18m in height.  However, there is no reason why it could not be specified for all purpose-built blocks of flats, although the cost of the system and the unusual situations where it would be used, make it less desirable for lower-risk buildings.

Fires in high rise buildings are not uncommon, but in most cases the fire does not spread beyond the flat of origin, because of the design and construction of the purpose-built block of flats.  However, over time it is recognised that the integrity of the internal compartmentation can become reduced by construction workers undertaking maintenance work, or internal changes to the building.  Where internal compartmentation becomes less effective, the risk of fire spread grows.

In the case of Grenfell, and the hundreds of other blocks that, at the time of writing, are similarly at risk, the exterior of the building has been clad with insulation that was intended to meet current energy efficiency rules, but where fire risk had not been adequately considered.  

Who needs to comply and how to meet the requirements of BS 8629:2019?

The BS 8629:2019 standard is designed for:

1. Fire and Rescue Service

2. Building Managers

3. Manufacturer of Evacuation Alert Systems

When an emergency system is in place, understanding maintenance and testing is absolutely critical to keep the system running and ready for use when needed.

Consulting a Compliance Expert will ensure that you comply with the design, installation and ongoing maintenance requirements of a system.  

Got a question about evacuation systems? Need help installing a Fire Alarm or Emergency Evacuation System? Get in touch today!

For over 45 years, Fixfire® has been providing quality products, systems and services for Life & Property Protection. Whatever your requirement, please call our Compliance Team for expert advice and a refreshingly different approach.

Freephone 08000 891999

STEP 1:
STEP 2:
You provide a suitable up to date drawing of your building in either:
  • Hard copy
  • PDF
  • Or preferably AutoCAD (dwg) format
Depending on the availability of installation records and the complexity of the building, we arrange a visit to identify the zone number associated with each Fire Alarm Manual Call Point and Fire Detector (for practicality this may involve two engineers).
STEP 3:
STEP 4:
Fire Alarm Zone Chart is created.
Fire Alarm Zone Chart is supplied in A4 or A3 glazed frame for installation adjacent to your Fire Alarm Panel.

For over 45 years, Fixfire® has been providing quality products, systems and services for Life & Property Protection. Whatever your requirement, please call our Compliance Team for expert advice and a refreshingly different approach.

Freephone 08000 891999.

False Fire Alarms remain a huge concern within the education sector- interrupting already carefully scheduled, planned and well-prepared lessons or even causing major disruption and distress to exams.  

Clearly, these false alarms cause significant inconvenience and disruption to students, staff, and visitors. They compromise everyone’s safety in the school and present a significant risk to the local community since the Fire Brigade will prioritise the school over other emergency callouts.

Solutions you should consider:

Anti-tamper products

The first and most straightforward way is to use anti-tamper products.

Fixfire® supplies a wide range of solutions designed to protect Fire Alarm Devices from inadvertent damage or deliberate misuse/vandalism.

Products include:

  • Local plastic cover flaps which attach directly to manual call points.
  • The stopper consists of a clear, tamperproof, tough polycarbonate cover, frame and spacer that retrofits over a break glass call point. When lifted to operate the break glass unit, its optional battery powered integral sounder emits a piercing 96dB (at 1m). Immediate attention is drawn to the area and a prankster will either run or be caught!
  • A range of steel web stoppers designed to protect fire detectors and warning devices. They are constructed from heavy-duty galvanised steel rod which is plastic-coated for durability and external use.
  • A range of polycarbonate enclosures are available for the protection of devices such as fire alarm control panels and associated control equipment. The enclosures combine tough rugged construction with stylish design and offer excellent protection with a key lock for authorised access.

We also provide anti-tamper devices for fire extinguishers and associated products.

KeyCall® Call Point

KeyCall® is a patented anti-ligature Fire Alarm and Access Control call point. It is designed to use the same key as the doors, providing simple operation for staff whilst eliminating nuisance activations by service-users.

KeyCall® has been developed by Fixfire® specifically for approved applications where standard versions would be vulnerable to abuse.

It is one of the best solutions for SEN schools and it is also compatible with a wide range of Conventional and Addressable Fire Alarm Systems.

Conduct Fire Safety Training

Most fire safety courses offer a mix of classroom-based learning and practical training experience, educating attendees on how to respond in the event of an emergency.

 In order to fulfil your obligations under current Fire Safety Law, it is essential that you have a documented regime of Fire Safety tests and checks and personnel who are suitably trained to respond correctly in the event of an emergency.

All Fire Safety Training is provided by experienced, time-served and qualified persons from a Fire Safety background.

Video surveillance

Even if the cameras don't identify the culprit, they can identify who was in the area at the time of the false alarm activation. Fixfire® specialises in integration and will bring together your Fire, Access and Security systems providing enhanced functionality.

Fixfire® provides leading-edge integration with ancillary systems and equipment. Our mission is to deliver reliable, well-engineered installations that provide you with peace of mind 24/7.

Place fire detectors in the correct locations

Smoke detectors that are placed too close to kitchens, cooking appliances, locker rooms or bathrooms will most likely be accidentally activated by the smoke or steam emitted by these sources. Detectors might need to be relocated.

Smoke detectors are more sensitive and are installed in any environment where smoke or steam would not normally be present. Heat detectors are installed in areas such as kitchens where smoke detectors would constantly false alarm during routine cooking. Multi-sensors combine smoke and heat in one detector and offer immunity to false alarms in certain applications.

Use the right detector

New detectors have improved technology and can measure a range of conditions to potentially be more effective at detecting a fire condition.

Flush Fire Detectors ensure protection is not compromised in any areas where conventional ‘un-pluggable’ detection could be subject to abuse. It is widely used in SEN Schools.

Maintain your Fire System

Make sure the alarm system is properly and regularly maintained.

Fixfire® is BAFE accredited for the Design, Installation, Maintenance and Servicing of Fire Alarm Systems.

All works are carried out by our employed, uniformed and trained Fire Alarm engineers.
Following each visit, a Certificate of Inspection is issued.

Got a question about False Fire Alarms? Need Fire Safety Compliance advice?  Get in touch today!

For over 45 years, Fixfire® has been providing quality products, systems and services for Life & Property Protection. Whatever your requirement, please call our Compliance Team for expert advice and a refreshingly different approach.

Freephone 08000 891999

Evacuation Alert System
Evacuation Alert System
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What is the BS 8629:2019 Guidance for Evacuation Systems?
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