Essex Security and Fire Protection Association

Making Essex Safer

BSIA welcomes new policy to reduce false fire alarms

The British Security Industry Association has welcomed the new Chief Fire Officers Association policy for the reduction of false fire alarms and unwanted fire signals.

BSIA Technical Director, Alex Carmichael, comments:

"The new policy, which has been put together in partnership with the BSIA, Fire Industry Association and Telecare Services Association, heralds a fresh commitment from these organisations to the reduction of false fire alarms and unwanted fire signals. It advocates a holistic approach to ensuring a cultural change from the Fire & Rescue Services, the fire industry, the wider business community and the public in the reduction of unwanted fire signals.

"The policy, which has been put together after extensive consultation, should bring real benefits in saving the Fire & Rescue Services the valuable time and resources it takes to respond to false fire alarms. Our members and the other organisations are committed with a spirit of cooperation to ensure that the new policy has a successful outcome and achieves its goals."

The Chief Fire Officers Association policy was launched at Fire and Rescue 2008 in Liverpool on the 27 August 2008 and has been endorsed by Sir Ken Knight CBE, Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser.

It is available to download from

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New British Standard addresses fire safety in buildings

A new standard has been published by BSI British Standards which provides guidance on fire safety in buildings.

BS 9999, Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings, presents recommendations on how businesses can comply with legislative requirements on fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings.

A progression from the Draft for Development, DD9999, the Standard covers four main areas:

· fire safety management;

· the provisions of means of escape;

· the structural protection of escape facilities and the structural stability of the building in the event of a fire; and

· the provision of access and facilities for fire-fighting

The new standard will replace the each of the current standards within the BS 5588 series (a series of standards focusing on fire precaution in the design, construction and use of buildings), apart from BS 5588-1. These standards shall now be withdrawn on 6 April 2009.

The guidance within BS 9999 expands on a number of areas which can affect fire safety throughout the lifecycle of a building.

Some guidance provided includes the use of structured risk-based design, where varying human factors can be taken into account by building designers, as well as how to address any alterations, extensions or changes to the use of existing buildings - although it does not apply where buildings are used as individual homes, and there is limited application in the case of some specific specialist buildings.

Another factor addressed within the new standard is the means of escape for disabled people in the event of a fire (in respect of design as well as management) in order “to reflect the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act and the principles of inclusive design.”

David Smith is Chairman of the BSI committee that drafted BS 9999. He says:

“BS 9999 is a major step forward in the provisions for fire safety in buildings. This single consolidated and consistent document replaces a series of standards and makes use of recent research and fire engineering principles in establishing the parameters for fire life safety.

“It will be of great value to all involved in the design, construction and management of buildings, including architects and engineers, fire safety managers, building managers and those who approve buildings, such as the fire and rescue service, health and safety inspectors and specifiers.”

More information can be found on the BSI British Standards website >>

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