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by the NFCC


Design, layout, fixtures and fittings

Hazard Knowledge

Industrial sites vary in size, type and complexity, which may impact on dealing with an incident. Features that should be considered include:

Some features may pose a significant hazard, especially if visibility is poor. The size, construction and internal layout of the industrial site may also affect incident ground communications.

There may also have been changes in use of an industrial site, presenting unexpected internal hazards. Some site owners sublet rooms, buildings or areas within a site; consideration should be given to their use, which may be completely different to the main industry.

Manufacturing, processing and engineering

Large manufacturing sites may cover many acres, making it essential to gather information about which area or building the incident is located in.

There may be inspection pits, pipework, machinery, tanks and unprotected edges.

Commercial and business

Sites such as shopping centres and warehouses can cover a considerable area, resulting in extended travel distances to reach an incident.

Very high shelving or racking systems, often found in warehouses, may become unstable. These fixtures may restrict access to the incident or present the need to work at height. Refer to supplementary information about racking systems and pallets.

Clad-rack warehouses, or self-supporting warehouses, are major works of engineering in which the racking itself makes up the building's structure, together with side and roof cladding.

Warehouses may also contain complex robotic systems. For further information refer to the hazard for On-site machinery, and the supplementary information.

Places of assembly and entertainment

In permanent sites there may be fittings such as fire curtains, stage trapdoors and lighting rigs.

Venues may be multi-purpose, sometimes separated internally and sometimes with joint access, shared alarm systems, escape routes and firefighting facilities. They may allow the flow of people from one venue to another, or be separated for members of the public but with corridors allowing access to other venues for on-site staff.

Event organisers may not stop an event if an incident is identified, delaying response and evacuation. People attending may not behave as expected due to:

  • Reduced visibility
  • Disorientation
  • Crowd behaviour
  • Impairment due to alcohol or drugs

For further information refer to the hazard of People.

For shorter-term use, there may be temporary structures, fixtures and fittings - refer to the hazard for temporary structures.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities often have a complex layout, especially where they have been extended. There may be numerous corridors, rooms within rooms and large quantities of fixed and mobile equipment.

Agricultural sites

Many buildings have relatively lightweight, combustible or fragile materials used in their construction, such as corrugated metal or asbestos cement roofs. They may also be of timber or steel construction, or use more traditional materials such as stone and thatch.

Construction sites

Fire and rescue services may be unaware of small construction sites or buildings undergoing building work, making pre-planning difficult. Sites known to fire and rescue services may alter significantly throughout the life of the project. Refer to supplementary information.