Grenfell Tower - Stay Put Policy - Wireless Evacuation Warning System


Truly awful scenes from the Grenfell Tower fire. Thoughts go out to all affected and to all those who have lost family or friends. I hope this forces changes to fire safety in these buildings so we never need see such a tragedy ever again.

The "Stay Put Policy" recently discussed can be explained as follows:

Fire safety in blocks of flats is highly dependent upon fire resistant construction. The idea being that each flat is effectively a self contained "box" made of fire resistant materials so that if a fire starts within the flat it should not break out of the flat for at least 60 minutes. And similarly if there is a fire outside the flat, the occupants should be safe for at least 60 minutes.

So each flat becomes a "compartment" and the common areas such as stair cases and lift lobbies all become compartments containing a fire for at least 60 minutes.

Hence the term "compartmentalization".

In an ideal world where the fire brigade are called when the fire starts and all the building materials and construction methods can be guaranteed this is an accepted solution.

But the "Stay Put" policy fails when the fire resistant construction is not up to standard. This can happen through poor construction or when holes are drilled through walls and not fire stopped properly and therefore smoke and flames will travel very quickly between compartments putting occupants at increased risk.

A problem with the Stay Put policy is that generally within blocks of flats and buildings where this policy is enforced there is no requirement for an automatic detection system (smoke detectors) or a means of giving warning to evacuate.

Because in an ideal world the fire will be dealt with before it breaks out of its compartment.

Although how the brigade would know there is a fire depends on people noticing and calling the fire service ....... ?!

So the only way residents can be told to stay or go is by fire fighters running around and knocking on doors.

As demonstrated at Grenfell Tower this was shown to be impossible due to the speed of the fire spread and the physical impossibility of contacting that many residents on so many floors.

CTA Fire has always campaigned for manual evacuation alarm systems within blocks of flats and similar buildings to provide fire fighters with a means to manually set off an alarm within each flat to signal an evacuation if a fire were to ever breach the compartmentalization and get out of control.

Wireless sounders could be installed very quickly in all flats.

They wouldn't prevent fires but they might just save a life.

Contact CTA Fire for more information - 01795 519 822

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