During a recent conversation with a fire officer, he referred to the Kent County Council Act, apparently, there are similar acts for all counties across the UK, where it states that there is a legal requirement for ‘adequate means of access for the fire brigade to the building’. In the context of an automated gate there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration to ensure compliance with this legally binding requirement:
- If the gate is not linked to an alarm, it is important to check that a suitable fireman’s switch has been fitted to the installation or that the manual release is easily accessible
- In the event of a power outage at the time of the fire, it is necessary to check if the gate can still open by either moving over to battery or generator backup or alternatively designing the gate to be fail safe i.e. meaning that it would be able to open manually. Note, this would only be achievable with certain types of operators and a magnetic lock
- The requirement to ensure fire brigade access to the building also reinforces the need to have segregated pedestrian access to allow easy egress from the property in the event of a fire.
All of the above reinforces the importance of the architect or principle designer fully understanding what is required to not only achieve a compliant installation but also one that will provide the fire brigade with easy access in the event of an incident.
For more information contact Gate Safe www.gate-safe.org