Fires in roofs
Knowledge and understanding
|Fires in roofs||
Understand all associated hazard knowledge
A roof is not classed as an element of structure and may collapse during the early stages of a fire, depending on its design, especially if the fire is in the top storey of a building or within the structure itself. The design, size, type and materials used for construction can vary extensively.
The materials used in the construction of roofs and those used in their covering can be flammable. As a roof is not classed as an element of structure, the fire safety requirements for roofs are far less than for habitable storeys. The materials and cavities within roof spaces can cause fire to spread rapidly and extensively. A lack of compartmentation between properties (e.g. terraces) can also allow for extensive spread of fire to neighbouring residencies. Some roofs may have the presence of decorative features such as false chimneys and have the potential for failure in a fire.
Certain designed roofs may form a habitable space and incorporate features such as roof lights or dormer windows. Such features can act as means of access & egress for the fire and rescue service, as well as a means of ventilation. Cavities are often created within habitable roof spaces between the ceiling and wall construction and the ridge and wall plates respectively with limited access for firefighters. In the case of uninhabited roofs, small hatches often provide the internal access for the roof space.
As roofs are designed to protect from the elements of weather, this also presents difficulties in fighting fire from the outside, this intervention may have limited affect and therefore early consideration should be given to internal firefighting tactics.
Where internal access is not easily achievable, then consideration should be given to the use of working at height procedures and / or aerial appliances for creating external access to scene of fire.
- Control measureAssess the impact of fire or firefighting on structural materials
- Control measureAppropriate speed and weight of intervention