Building/fire regs; location of fire alarm button & proximity to light switch..?

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  • Building/fire regs; location of fire alarm button & proximity to light switch..?
  • Premier Icon househusband
    Subscriber

    Today I managed to evacuate the school at which I teach by setting of the fire alarm – something I’m sure many of us have dreamt of doing as pupils!

    We had an extension built to house our behemoth table saw as previous location didn’t meet regulations in terms of space around it. This extension has no natural light and and the light switch is on the wall to the left as you open the door and enter – inches away from the fire alarm button…

    So guess which switch I pressed first this afternoon…

    School were fine and several people agreed that having the alarm in such close proximity to the light switch is pretty stupid.

    Does anyone know if this is covered by any building or fire regulations? Would be grateful if anyone could advise if it is, and perhaps even guide me toward anything relevant.

    Cheers.

    project
    Member

    Lift off covers are available for fire call points, some even with an alarm fitted to identify quicker which one has operated and deter malicious alarm activations.

    alanl
    Member

    Is that a ‘break glass’ fire switch rather than a plain switch?
    If so, it shouldnt cause an alarm when pushed.
    If it is a plain switch, it shoudl be changed for a break glass type.

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    I would doubt there is anything in the regs to stop you doing that but a risk assessment should show it as a problem.

    Personally I’d put a flip top lid on the alarm or a bit of wood sticking out between the two switches so your have to reach around it to hit the alarm from the door side.

    project
    Member

    call points and light switches are usually located near exit entrance doors so you can raise an alarm when entering or leaving and switch the lights on or off.

    Premier Icon Lummox
    Subscriber

    Phone your local fire and rescue service and ask to speak to their technical fire safety department. They will tell
    You exactly what is and what isn’t permissible. Don’t second guess with this as if something were to happen someone’s coming for you with a liability/compensation claim.

    Premier Icon househusband
    Subscriber

    Thanks all.

    The Rector (Headmistress) was fine about it and there’s no question of me being in any trouble; I think I’ve just highlighted an issue – the janitor herself said that council building control should be made aware. It wasn’t a glass fronted switch, nor does it have a flip lid on it.

    DanW
    Member

    Thank goodness that block of wood is correctly labelled though! Who know what you’d do if you needed to keep the door open in an evacuation without the labelling ๐Ÿ˜€

    Premier Icon househusband
    Subscriber

    You’re not the first to point that out, DanW!

    rwamartin
    Member

    Not a fire expert but with my “a little knowledge is dangerous” hat on, the callpoint requirements are covered by BS5839-1. This says that they should be no more than 1.4m from floor level (+-200mm) and no-one needs to travel more than 45m (25m if disabled) to reach one. They should be sited at “all stairwells AND EXITS FROM BUILDING”.
    There doesn’t appear to be anything more specific than that. If I remember correctly there is a clause somewhere in BS5839 about minimizing false alarms. I would say that if you locate it to the other side of the firedoors it would be fine as it is reachable at the exit but minimises the false alarm possibility by being away from the switch.

    Rich.

    Premier Icon househusband
    Subscriber

    rwamartin – awesome!

    rwamartin
    Member

    It might be prudent to move the chairs before the fire officer visits and hide the wood with “door stop” on it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Premier Icon househusband
    Subscriber

    It might be prudent to move the chairs before the fire officer visits and hide the wood with “door stop” on it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Funnily enough it’s the school technicians that put that stuff there – and they’re the most officious and jobsworth of everyone… ๐Ÿ™„

    Premier Icon bruneep
    Subscriber

    aye, I’d advise you to get that stuff moved. ๐Ÿ™„

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