Fire risks are real, with 622,173 incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services in England for the year ending March 2023. Many things can keep you safe from fires. But fire escape regulations are crucial to exit a blazing building safely. Understanding and following UK regulations is, therefore, a legal and moral requirement. In this guide, we’ll help you understand the main parts of the rules and how to follow them well. Whether you’re a building manager or a contractor working on a commercial or high-rise space, this article is for you.
If you need help with fire and security solutions, we, Sovereign Fire & Security, are here to guide you. Our mission is to prioritise your safety and well-being. We offer comprehensive fire and security solutions for Southwest England and beyond, including state-of-the-art fire escape systems and emergency lighting. All our services comply with the UK’s fire escape regulations.
Our experienced team ensures that all fire escape installations and systems meet industry standards. We also provide ongoing maintenance and testing to make sure everything works properly. With our expertise and commitment to safety, we aim to give you complete peace of mind. So, trust us to keep you and your surroundings safe and protected.
Understanding the Minimum Requirements for Fire Escapes
The UK Government set the rules for fire escape safety in The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The regulations give a minimum safety standard in almost all non-domestic premises.
You need to meet the regulations’ requirements to protect yourself legally and keep occupants safe. They cover the following factors:
1. Number, Size and Visibility of Fire Exits
Every building needs enough fire exits depending on its size and layout. The exits must be big enough for everyone to leave the building. Large buildings need multiple doors in strategic places for easy access.
If you are a building manager or contractor, you must solve the puzzle of how many people will be in the building and plan the best places for fire exits. It’s also your duty to ensure the routes to emergency exits are always clear and they are easy to find, day or night. People can become irrational when there’s an emergency. Often, they’ll get scared and confused, even if you’ve trained them on what to do. You need to add signs around the building to show the way to safety.
The signs should be in the correct positions to lead directly to exits without obstacles. You also need to add emergency lighting in case the regular lights stop working, which can happen if the fire has damaged the building.
2. Easy to Open
Your fire exits should be simple and easy to open. In case of a fire, you can’t have anything slowing you down. Panic bars or push bars are helpful because you can open the door without keys or complicated locks.
You should ensure the doors open in the direction of the escape route and aren’t locked in a way that adds any complications in an urgent situation.
3. Materials and Maintenance
Fire escapes should be like unbreakable shields, protecting you from the heat and flames. Your exit doors should use fire-resistant materials like steel, fibreglass, fire-rated wood, aluminium, tempered glass, and fireproof composite materials. We recommend you contact a specialist who understands the best materials and can help you install a safe fire door that complies with regulations. A fire door that properly resists the blaze can save lives because occupants have more time to escape in a secure environment.
Take good care of your fire escapes and make sure they always function. You need to make regular checks to ensure that self-closing devices are operating and the fire doors are in efficient working order and in good repair. You’ll need to run checks for any signs of wear, damage, or obstruction that may hinder the operation of the exits. With this, you should periodically test fire escape systems to ensure all components, including emergency lighting and exit signs, work correctly.
You must complete checks every 12 months for flat entrance fire doors. And you need to check at least every three months for entries in communal areas of buildings such as stairways, corridors, plant rooms, service cupboards and risers.
Supplementary Requirements for Enhanced Safety
Beyond the minimum requirements of the regulations around fire exits, we recommend further measures to ensure even better protection for your premises.
Consider advanced technologies like aspirating smoke detectors. These devices can sense tiny traces of smoke before it’s even visible to the naked eye. You can combine this with flame detection systems to spot flames in the room at their earliest stage. You can also install lit-up fire exit signs, always switched on, for enhanced visibility.
With extra fire safety training, all the occupants in your building can learn how to handle emergencies with confidence. The training teaches crucial skills such as escaping the building and using fire extinguishers to put out small fires. Your teams can enjoy a powerful way to get together and deal with problems before they escalate by developing a group awareness of fire safety.
We also recommend hiring an expert to inspect your building. Experts can uncover hidden risks building managers might miss. They will ensure your fire safety measures remain up-to-date and effective, giving you peace of mind.
Fire Escapes and Building Security with Sovereign
Fire safety is essential not just to keep up with regulations but to keep everyone safe. If you manage a building or help with its construction, you must ensure fire exits are accessible and well-designed.
Sovereign Fire & Security know all about fire escape regulations and more. We can guide you through the process, from designing and installing fire escape systems to adding emergency lighting and fire alarms.
We care about keeping you and your building’s occupants safe. That’s why we offer a range of services to keep you protected. Explore all our solutions by contacting us today and see how we can make your building safer.
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