Fire Safety in Tower Blocks

Fire Safety in Tower Blocks

Tower Block
We’ve seen the amount of damage a simple house fire can cause to a poorly-built tower block. Not only can the fire spread around the inside of a tower block, but if the conditions are right and poor materials are used, it can even spread across the exterior of the tower block and completely destroy the entire building. So in this article, we’re going to be summarising what safety measures you should be taking in a tower block to ensure that everyone living inside has peace of mind knowing that they’re safe and protected should a fire break out.

Fire safety risk assessments are important

It’s important to carry out a fire risk assessment every year to ensure that you get the latest recommendations. This may include things like optimising your sprinkler systems, examining wear and tear on the building that could compromise the structure’s compartmentalisation and also renewing any older passive fire protection elements such as fire-resistant materials and doors. A fire safety risk assessment will go a long way in helping you understand the exact risks you could be facing and where your fire safety has flaws or weaknesses. Carrying out a fire risk assessment will also grant you a certificate that can be displayed in the building to show everyone that you’ve taken the right measures to ensure their safety.

Focusing on compartmentalisation

Compartmentalisation is the art of subdividing your building block into different compartments that will all contain the fire as best as possible. Compartments will usually consist of rooms and corridors to ensure that if a fire does start in an apartment, it does not spread through the interior or exterior of the tower block. If you fail to focus on compartmentalisation, then the fire will spread incredibly quickly and engulf the entire tower block within minutes. You should be focusing on creating compartments by using specific materials that are formulated to be fire resistant, and you should also follow any current building regulations that govern the types of materials you use and how you should compartmentalise your tower block so that it prevents rapid fire spread and also gives multiple routes for escape.

Setup clear escape routes for everyone inside

Escape routes are crucial in a tall tower block. Routes need to be clearly marked so that people inside can escape with ease and you should also consider installing some form of guidance system that will lead people to the exits even if the air is heavy with smoke. Escape routes should also clearly be marked with signs to ensure everyone knows where to go, and it needs to be completely clear of any flammable materials so that the path is clear. Signs should be the main way to let people know where they should go, what they should keep clear and they should also be aware of any fire hazards that they themselves are causing.

Ensure you have sturdy fire doors

Fire doors are going to be one of the most important components of a passive fire protection strategy. This is because fire doors need to be able to stop fires for a very long time, but also be able to allow people access in and out of the various compartments you’ve built. Common areas should contain fire doors and they should be clearly labelled so that they are not wedged open–they should be kept closed at all times. Remember that fire doors typically mark compartments so they should be used very liberally throughout the tower block to ensure fires do not spread.

Smoke detection and sprinklers

Smoke detectors should be fitted as standard on every floor of your tower block and sprinkler systems should be tested on a regular basis to ensure that they work correctly. All apartments in the tower block should also be fitted with smoke detection to ensure that the fire is detected as early as possible. A failing sprinkler system will only cause more issues when a fire actually does occur, so make sure it’s tested or replaced every five years to ensure they are working correctly. This may be carried out as part of your fire risk assessment. Hopefully, this article has taught you a couple of key factors to keep in mind it comes to ensuring fire safety in your tower block. Fires can spread incredibly quickly if you’re not careful about how you set up the compartments in your tower block, and you should be mixing a combination of active and passive fire protection to provide the best safety measures for the inhabitants of your tower block.