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by the NFCC

Control measure

Building systems and fixed installations

Control measure knowledge

Some premises have systems that can assist the fire and rescue service in obtaining information about the nature of an incident, including:

These systems could identify the initial location and time of any actuations, and any subsequent firespread. In some premises there will be a building fire control room that is used to monitor these systems.

Provision for emergencies and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), as well as suppression systems, may provide valuable detail on a building’s possible behaviour and the scope of an incident.

Some buildings will have slave control or repeater panels, which could be helpful for gathering information, but may not have all of the functionality of a main control panel.

Building systems may store data that could be used post-incident; this could be of use when trying to establish a timeline of the events leading up to the fire and rescue service’s intervention.

Fixed installations may be present, including:

  • Firefighting shaft
  • Fire mains
  • Hose reels
  • Firefighting lift
  • Sprinklers and drenchers
  • Wet or dry risers
  • Gas suppression systems 

A firefighting shaft should be kept clear of obstructions and smoke, as this is the primary means of egress for firefighters in an emergency.

Hose reels are a fixed firefighting media designed for undertaking first aid firefighting intervention, commonly found in commercial buildings. Hose reels will not provide sufficient flow or pressure to deal with a well-developed compartment fire.

See Hazard – Failure, or inappropriate operation, of fixed installations

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • During fire safety inspections, gather information about fixed installations and building systems installed and ensure they function appropriately

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Check building system indicator, slave control, alarm panels and CCTV to assess the status of facilities
  • Identify the presence and effectiveness of fixed installations and where appropriate, take control of their operation

  • Consider the use of wet or dry risers and fire mains to supply water to the scene of operations

  • Identify the presence of any active heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • Review the effectiveness of active, passive and fire engineered protection before handing over the incident
  • Document any failure of fire safety measures and communicate to relevant department