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Author Topic: Security During a Fire Alarm  (Read 2974 times)
Posts: 25

« on: April 03, 2017, 04:43:24 PM »

I have a quick question about securing a building when the fire alarm goes off.  Just to check I'm on the right track.

The company I work for is very protective over its data (the nature of the work demands this).  One of the issues they want to resolve is to limit the potential for someone to access the working floors during an evacuation, when doors fail safe.

We have some doors which have a motorised push bar that is access controlled on the way in and a mechanical push bar on the way out. Effectively means you cant go through into the classified area when the alarm goes off - but you can leave to egress the building. The bars are certified EN 1125. Obviously we are being selective on how we deploy them, for example if a door fails secure that forms an alternative route - they cannot be fitted.

Of the issues that I've identified, on was that if the fire service wanted access they would need to have a pass to access these areas. I've checked with the fire service and they were fine with this.

I'm sure this would come up in other areas such as banks - so wanted to open this up to the wisdom of the forum. Alternatively if anyone could point me in the direction of any guidance on this kind of issue - do please let me know.

David Rooney
Hero Member
Posts: 888

« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2017, 08:29:13 AM »

Out of interest ... is it a "one out all out" system, ie. one detector or one call point goes off and everyone evacuates?

Do you have lots of "public" in the building or are you concerned a casual member of staff might go into a restricted area?

I guess it's not possible to restrict access into individual rooms rather than have access control on corridor doors on the means of escape?

Do you have permanent security staff?

Do you have an analogue addressable fire alarm system covering every room?

I'm only thinking that you might reduce the chances of the issue arising if you could introduce a "staff alarm" so that a single detector going off would initiate a "2 minute" search period or similar if you have enough trained staff in the building to carry out a search so the evacuation and door opening didn't become an issue in the first place.

This doesn't necessarily get over the problem of someone hitting a call point as this would normally go into full evac. and you would still have the problem ....

CTA Fire - BAFE SP203 - F Gas Accredited - Wireless Fire Alarm System Specialists - Established 1985 -
Natural Born Cynic
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Posts: 659

« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2017, 09:33:29 AM »

No guidance that I'm aware of, but I've been involved with 'sensitive' facilities before & having similar arrangements for fire brigade access has been successfully implemented, in consultation with the relevant fire authority.  There have been occasions where they have preferred a mechanical key override to the latch, rather than swipe cards/ Cotags - but this is only straightforwardly possible if solenoid-operated keeps are chosen (not mag-locks or shear-locks).  There has to be a very robust 24/7 arrangement whereby the Brigade are met and the keys / pass handed over, though.

The only time that I wouldn't be at all happy with this arrangement is for a door separating the fire-fighting lobby from the fire-fighting stairs - as BS 9999 says this should be completely free from any fastenings.
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Posts: 677

Get a bicycle. You will not live to regret it

« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2017, 11:54:59 PM »

It is not uncommon to have a number of fobs/access cards ready for fire service use in case of emergency.  These can be handed to the fire service on their arrival along with other information about the site, maybe plans, etc.

If you use a 'sweep' system to ensure that everyone has evacuated then the fire wardens responsible for checking the secure areas will probably need access.

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