Managing Protected Area

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I thought I would share this piece of information with you.

We recently obtained a fire suppression system maintenance in the Surrey area. It would appear that the company who was maintaining the system before us, carried out the required testing of the system, but did not carry out any integrity testing. Furthermore, the room was quite large with the main entrance and three further exits throughout the perimeter of the room. However, the three side exits doors did not have any door closures or manual release buttons/manual call points.

It also became apparent, that management who were responsible for the protected area which was the “Deed store,” did not really understand how a fire suppression system operated.

Information to assist you Managing You Fire Suppression System

Therefore, I put together the following information below to help them manage their protected area (Deed store). You may find this useful.

Recommendations are as follows:
The fire suppression system can be left in either manual mode or automatic mode.

The functions of the two modes are as follows:

Manual Mode: The detectors will have the ability to raise the alarm, however; the detectors will not have the ability to activate the fire suppression agent. The fire suppression agent can only be activated by operating the manual release button at the front of the fire alarm control panel or manual release buttons adjacent each exit from the room if fitted.

Automatic Mode: Both the detectors and the manual release will have the ability to discharge the fire suppression agent.

I would advise that the fire suppression system is left in Automatic Mode at all times when the deed store is unoccupied.

All staff entering the Deed Store should have the appropriate training as to how to operate the fire suppression system and the operational function of the system should be part of the training.

A permit to enter the Deed store should be in place with a sign “in” and “out” register kept as a log.

The three escape doors currently have no self-door closures or manual release call points at the three exits. This must be implemented as soon as possible, the door closure will ensure the door is closed to maintain the integrity of the room should a member of staff have to use one of these exits to escape a fire. And by installing the required manual release buttons adjacent each exit, will enable the member of staff to activate the manual release to discharge the gas into the protected area, whilst using one of these exits.

  • Instructions for use of the room would be as follows:
    Sign in the register provided.
    Change the system over from Auto to Manual.
    On completing work, leave the deed store.
    Change the system back from Manual to Auto
    Sign register with time and confirmation that the Deed store has been reverted back to Auto.

In the event of discovering a fire whilst working with the Deed store the following procedure is to be followed:

  • Leave by the nearest exit.
    Ensure the door is closed behind you.
    Activate the manual release button adjacent the exit.

If a fire were to occur with no one in the Deed store the system should be in auto mode and discharge automatically as per the design.

The above, when implemented will greatly reduce the possibility of the system failing to operate when required

Your insurance company will expect the above to be in place.

It is important that the people responsible for operating the fire suppression system understand the concept of the system and ensure the system is in Automatic mode if the room is unoccupied. Ensuring the fire suppression system is maintained to the relevant standard is also very important.

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