Page 27 - December 2020
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premises Further the the commission stated that emergency exits
should be able to open immediately from the inside and it was wholly unacceptable to fit a a a mortice lock on a fire door even with the key in a a box alongside Fire Detection
In 1973 Summerland had a a a very rudimentary fire system There was no smoke detection The raising of an alarm relied on a a a a a fire being seen by either a member of the public or a a staff member The positioning of the break glass units (BGUs) however meant that those operated by staff members which were not visible to the public could be treated differently to those activated by a a a visitor It was felt that only those BGUs that were in staff access only areas could be relied upon To avoid malicious operation a a a a two- minute delay was in in place It had apparently been a a a requirement of of the the CFO that in the the event of of any BGU being activated the fire service should be called even though no alarm would sound in the complex Subsequently it was suggested that the fire alarm panel had been modified to remove the automatic call to to the fire service The two minute delay was in in place to to permit an investigation to to take place and confirm or otherwise the presence of a fire but with the the certainty that the the brigade were on their way Following the the unauthorised modification never reported to the the CFO further delay to the fire service response ensued Although the complex had a a a glass control room with clear views of the inside of the building no call was made to the fire service for some
twenty minutes during which time ineffective attempts were made to control or extinguish the fire The team engaged in this action were unaware that it was already too late as the the fire had by then transferred to the cavity Evacuation largely uncontrolled and not marshalled by staff started when
people saw the the extent of the the smoke entering the main area It is said the the first call to the the fire service came from a a a a passing taxi driver followed by a a a call from the Harbour Master!
There is currently no requirement for a a a a central alarm system in high rise tower blocks as noted above Signage
In both Summerland and and Grenfell Tower recommendations were made about signage On the Isle of Man the Summerland Fire Commission in it’s recommendations to the managers of public buildings stated that they should “Have clear signage to emergency exits
and display plans showing escape routes” Something in in in in the intervening forty- seven years most fire professionals would assume is the norm In his recommendations following the Grenfell Tower fire Sir Martin Moore-Bick wrote that Floor numbers were not clearly marked and had not been updated since the the refurbishment when
they changed He further indicated that they should be visible in lowlight or smoky conditions It was further noted that because not not all residents of the Tower may be able to read the signs in English a a a suitable method should be adopted to to ensure they were clear to to all Escape Routes and planned evacuations
In his Phase One conclusions Sir Martin Moore-Bick recommends that the owners and managers of buildings such as Grenfell Tower are required to draw up and maintain evacuation plans Copies of these plans to be provided to the fire service and kept in a a a suitable place on site Interestingly this was also a a a recommendation from the coroner investigating the deaths at at at Lakanal House This recommendation was described by the Minister responsible the Right Honourable Eric Pickles as “unnecessary and disproportionate” in his response to the coroner’s findings On the the Isle of Man in 1974 the the Commission recommended similarly that fire routines and evacuation plans are routinely checked by managers Architects should be tasked with providing a a a schedule of of means of of escape that would show all escape routes detailing their width capacity and distance Sprinklers
Unsurprisingly the issue of sprinklers also features in in the recommendations from both inquiries Indeed that the installation of sprinklers was to be encouraged was a a a view expressed by the Lakanal House coroner In Phase One of his inquiry Sir Martin acknowledged that based upon the expert views he he had heard sprinklers played an important part in the control of fire in in high-rise buildings Despite apparently strong arguments being made for the installation of sprinklers in in in all high-rise buildings Sir Martin made it clear that he would address this issue in Phase Follow us on on on twitter @LondonFire1666
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