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Control measure

Consider if fire protection features have been removed or deactivated

Control measure knowledge

While a property is undergoing building work, active or passive fire protection features may have been removed or deactivated, including the means of detection and raising the alarm. This could have an impact on the activation of sprinkler systems, extraction systems, other suppression systems, fire doors, shutters and other measures.

The consequences of any deactivation of a system should be considered, particularly when complex fire engineering is installed. Refer to National Operational Guidance: Fires in buildings for further information.

With the deactivation of detection zones it is possible for the fire alarm panel to give a false indication of the seat of fire. This is because the fire or smoke may travel from an isolated zone to a live zone before being detected. The same may be true where covers are placed over detectors to prevent dust or contaminants causing activation.

 

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Figure 16: Fire in Walworth Town Hall, London, thought to have been started during building work to repair the roof - photograph courtesy of London Fire Brigade

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Engage with the responsible person to confirm the status of fire protection systems in the building and to conduct familiarisation visits and pre-planning

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Identify signs that fire protection features or systems have been removed or deactivated
  • Liaise with the responsible person (or appointed competent person) to establish the status of fire protection features
  • Confirm the location of the fire - the fire alarm panel may indicate the zone of detection when the fire or smoke has actually spread from an isolated zone
  • Consider the impact that the removal or deactivation of fire protection features or systems may have on fire development and on the evacuation of occupants