What is a fire strategy?
Necessary in complex builds and commercially functioning buildings, a fire strategy is simply a general plan that outlines how best to implement fire safety best practices, in the event of a fire. A fire strategy, in short, is a summary of the “what” you will do in the event of a fire, whereas fire safety products themselves – such as fire curtains – are the “how” you will get that “what” done.
A complex building includes builds that feature interconnected individual building segments and facilities, for example, a housing complex (flats), hotel, shopping mall or hospital would all fall into this category.
A building’s strategy usually comes in the form of a document report that, along with detailed and to-scale evacuation drawings, clearly states the appropriate evacuation routes, the building’s fire safety features, their specifications and how they should be used – if they do not automatically deploy.
Why Your Business Needs A Fire Strategy
Your business not only needs a fire strategy because it is required, but also because, for a business, it safeguards and protects your customers, staff, and future.
A fire strategy will not only help to ensure that the risk of a fire occurring is minimized, but it will also aid in making sure that people can easily escape the building, if necessary. Having a succinct strategy in place will also ensure appropriate arrangements, such as fire procedures and the use and maintenance of fire safety measures, are firmly practiced and in place.
Please note that for purpose-built domestic, educational and other commercial buildings, a fire strategy will be examined and commented upon by your local fire and rescue authority.
You should not confuse a strategy with a fire assessment, which will be carried out by local housing authorities for the purpose of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
Fire Strategy Made Easier by Fire Curtains
One way to streamline your fire strategy is via the installation of a company’s fire curtains. Fire curtains provide a one-stop solution; they protect evacuation routes – both stairwells and lifts – offer sufficient boundary protection and they work to compartment larger open spaces in order to curb the spread of harmful smoke, heat, and fire.
This high level of capability means that, in the unfortunate event of a fire, fire curtains can keep damage to material assets to a ‘predictable’ minimum. They ensure that all those inside the building remain safe. Even those responsible persons on duty remain out of harm’s way as fire and smoke curtains can be integrated to work with alarm systems, meaning that when an alarm is triggered the curtain will automatically deploy. Unlike with more traditional fire safety measures, which require manual control and application, thus often requiring personnel to come into close contact with both toxic fire and smoke.
Consequently, fire curtains are more and more frequently replacing more traditional methods, which are also more time consuming to keep running. With fire curtains, all that is needed – by law – is annual servicing. Although bi-annual servicing would be recommended to ensure fire curtains are maintained to a high functioning level and that when and if it comes to it, they will work how they should, which is essential when lives are on the line.
There are only a few fire and smoke curtain manufacturers approved by an Independent Third Party Accreditation to carry out the servicing of fire barrier curtains and smoke curtains.
Fire Curtain Applications
Another reason why fire curtains can simplify your fire strategy is that they are suitable for a whole host of applications: different weaves in the E-glass and fiberglass materials that fire curtains are comprised of are often matched with different coatings to offer a variety of properties. This means that fire and smoke curtains can be suitable for a range of applications. It is this adaptability that allows a fire company to offer solutions that are custom-made to suit every application or system. This includes:
- Atrium, Lobbies & Receptions
- Openings in Walls
- Egress & Corridor Separation
- Boundary Protection
- Stairs & Escalators
- Lifts & Lift Lobbies
- Protected Means of Escape
This means that rather than managing a variety of fire safety equipment you can simply opt for fire curtains. This is beneficial as all staff can be trained and briefed thoroughly on how to use one system rather than a multitude of systems, which can often be very confusing. The simpler a fire strategy is, the easier it is to maintain, and it can also save valuable time and money.