Quick escape routes and clear passageways are key.
Does your building have a fire strategy?
Fire strategies can highlight blind spots and re-evaluating existing strategies is important when a building occupancy changes from residential to commercial or hotel.
“Controlling fires and the materials is one aspect, but every building and villa should have a fire safety strategy. How do we control it and how do we get people out, that’s the main thing,” said Andy Dean, head of facades at engineering firm WSP.
Most villas require a key to exit the front door and in case of a blaze lives can be lost while searching for the key.
“Things like having an internal thumb turn on the locks on exit doors instead of key locks can be part of a fire safety strategy for a villa. Because imagine a situation if there is a fire and the family have got to the front door but they can’t find the keys to get out. From the outside you need a key to get in but from the inside you should only need a thumb turn to get out,” Mr Dean said.
In towers, clear routes to the fire exit, stairwells, maintaining and checking sprinkler systems, smoke detection systems is needed.
“Making sure that the alarm system is not constantly being tripped accidentally by the wrong kind of devices. If things are not maintained they almost certainly won’t work properly. There are some really basic things one can do to significantly reduce the risk of the worst scenario happening and that is just by making sure that the existing fire safety strategy that is in place is working and it is still relevant,” he said.