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 18m 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.
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Following the recommendations of BS5839 Part 1 2017 (Fire Alarm British Standard), it is a mandatory requirement to have an up to date, clear and accurate Fire Alarm Zone Chart adjacent to your Fire Alarm Control Panel and any repeater panels you have in your premises.
The purpose of the Zone Chart is to assist persons responding to an alarm to quickly identify the specific location in the building and to help the Fire Brigade understand the building layout before they enter.
The Zone Chart shows the division of each zone area with a ‘You are Here’ arrow to identify the position of the Fire Alarm Panel. The view of the building should be orientated in relation to the Fire Alarm Panel position to minimise confusion.
What is involved in producing a Zone Chart?
- Hard copy
- Or preferably AutoCAD (dwg) format
You have a legal duty of care to dispose of waste legitimately and safely via a licensed waste carrier. Failure to do so can result in prosecution, even if you have outsourced the disposal to a third party.
The Fixfire® Extinguisher Recycling Process is your reassurance that any Fire Extinguishers we remove from your premises have been disposed of in a safe and legal manner. 97% of each processed Fire Extinguisher is recycled.
Our contracted Extinguisher Recycling Unit (ERU) is a dedicated facility offering a service for the safe processing and recycling/disposal of fire extinguishers. The facility operates closely with the local Water Authority and the Environment Agency to develop safe, efficient and environmentally friendly processes, ensuring that ISO14001 certification is upheld.
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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:
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.
- 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® 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.
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