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Author Topic: Signs for extinguishers and fire call points  (Read 150 times)
Fire Monkey
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« on: October 12, 2017, 10:24:41 AM »

Hello,

Can any one advise please on the requirements for signage for fire extinguishers and fire call points. If one was carrying out a fire risk assessment and all of the occupants were familiar with their surroundings i.e. very few visitors would there be a need for these signs (assuming that in all other areas the building was fundamentally safe and the significant findings of the FRA were simple and quick to rectify) unless if call points or extinguishers were partially or completely hidden? I am assuming that in a well managed building that if a fire extinguisher went missing (off its hood or stand) that this would be reported by staff and reported appropriately and a replacement installed. I am assuming that the level of emergency lighting is suitable and sufficient and that photo luminescent signs are not required. I also assume that in fire station such signs would not be required as those fire fighters wold have sufficient training!

If know that there is a need to consider BS5499 and that suitable training is required under the regs and the latter can be dealt with through the FRA and subsequent support (as an internal FRA assessor I would be responsible for delivering on the Action Points). I have supplied Fire Books that contain a section of extinguishers that explain their use.

I can understand that signs may be required in large public access buildings, especially where the means of escape of complicated or if multiple stories are involved but in well managed, buildings, lower risk buildings,  as  I see these as potentially an un-necessary business expense that does little to add to fire safety. I would take the view that if it can be shown that the risks have been understood and if required reduced or eliminated then signs may not required and the need or lack of need could be justified in the FRA. This should, if I assess properly even take into account the Provision Use of Work Equipment 1988.

Or should we just fit these signs every where?

Thoughts/comments wold be most welcome.

FM


 
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nearlythere
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 11:20:06 AM »

Hello,

Can any one advise please on the requirements for signage for fire extinguishers and fire call points. If one was carrying out a fire risk assessment and all of the occupants were familiar with their surroundings i.e. very few visitors would there be a need for these signs (assuming that in all other areas the building was fundamentally safe and the significant findings of the FRA were simple and quick to rectify) unless if call points or extinguishers were partially or completely hidden? I am assuming that in a well managed building that if a fire extinguisher went missing (off its hood or stand) that this would be reported by staff and reported appropriately and a replacement installed. I am assuming that the level of emergency lighting is suitable and sufficient and that photo luminescent signs are not required. I also assume that in fire station such signs would not be required as those fire fighters wold have sufficient training!

If know that there is a need to consider BS5499 and that suitable training is required under the regs and the latter can be dealt with through the FRA and subsequent support (as an internal FRA assessor I would be responsible for delivering on the Action Points). I have supplied Fire Books that contain a section of extinguishers that explain their use.

I can understand that signs may be required in large public access buildings, especially where the means of escape of complicated or if multiple stories are involved but in well managed, buildings, lower risk buildings,  as  I see these as potentially an un-necessary business expense that does little to add to fire safety. I would take the view that if it can be shown that the risks have been understood and if required reduced or eliminated then signs may not required and the need or lack of need could be justified in the FRA. This should, if I assess properly even take into account the Provision Use of Work Equipment 1988.

Or should we just fit these signs every where?

Thoughts/comments wold be most welcome.

FM


 

I don't do signs at MCPs FM. Its too late if you expect someone to have to read a set of instructions on a card at a call point if the fire warning is sounding. For employees, or other responsible people attached to the organisation, that should have been done during induction training and refreshed periodically. Where there are people who are unfamiliar with the building or an escape route which is used for that purpose only, there should be exit signage provided and a fire warden system in place.  I would have any exit, which are for public use, signed in a public building. With regards to signs at extinguishers they will usually all have signs on them already and if they are in a location out of sight an additional sign showing where they are if needed, e.g. in a cupboard.

In my opinion anyway.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 11:22:43 AM by nearlythere » Logged

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Tom Sutton
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 12:57:47 PM »

Check out http://www.crisis-response.com/forum/index.php?topic=6210.0
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All my responses only apply to England and Wales and they are an overview of the subject, hopefully it will point you in the right direction and always treat with caution.
Fire Monkey
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Posts: 114


« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2017, 03:15:16 PM »

Great - thanks for the link to the other thread. Most useful.

Any thoughts on replacing 6L foam units with 3L ones. Has extinguisher technology improved to the point where these units  can be smaller yet still have the same fire fighting capacity?

Also has any one come across any data regarding foam units, that are five years old and the need to replace them or carry out a discharge test? I am interest to know what the discharge test failure rate is. basically I would like to know if the discharge test is worthwhile doing.

Thanks

FM
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Tom Sutton
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2017, 04:21:16 PM »

No, the fire rating for afff foam extinguishers is 9 litre 183B, 6 litre 144B, 3 litre 55B, you would need three 3 litre foams to replace a 6 litre, better to stay with the 6 litre.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 04:25:42 PM by Tom Sutton » Logged

All my responses only apply to England and Wales and they are an overview of the subject, hopefully it will point you in the right direction and always treat with caution.
Owain
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Posts: 397


« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2017, 04:56:29 PM »

I also assume that in fire station such signs would not be required as those fire fighters wold have sufficient training!

Not everyone working in a fire station will be a firefighter. Larger stations may have 'civilian' support staff.

And it is possible in smaller stations that when there's a call-out all the fire service staff jump on the appliances and roar off into the sunset sirens wailing, leaving no supervisory or support staff on site, but painters and plumbers etc carrying out maintenance will be left to get on with their job. They may be unfamiliar with the premises.

In fully retained stations with no staff on duty said painters and plumbers etc may be given a key and left to get on with it.
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Messy
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« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2017, 07:28:07 PM »

I agree that fire action notices by MCPs are a waste of time. Nearly all MCPs are on circulation routes or by exits from the building, so who the hell will be stopping to read them? We put fire action notices in tea points and on the back of toilet doors - at reading height when sitting! Seriously - who can avoid reading when, er, waiting.

As for fire extinguisher signs - again, we do not use them. The only exception is a bespoke sign we display above our Class D powder extinguishers (for metal fires) to highlight 1) it is a specialist extinguisher 2) only trained staff should use it and 3) it is not safe on electrical fires

We never sign a MCP. If a person doesn't recognise this red glass fronted box as a MCP, I doubt a red pointy finger sign will help. However, we do sign green break glass door overrides and yellow vent break glasses (again, with bespoke signs), as people generally don't know what they are.

I hate the 'over signage' that you find in so many places. My hatred probably stems from some terrible times I spent when I was younger at Youth Hostels that had signs every 2 metres (don't do this. Please do that etc) Roll Eyes
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nearlythere
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« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2017, 07:52:09 PM »

I also assume that in fire station such signs would not be required as those fire fighters wold have sufficient training!

Not everyone working in a fire station will be a firefighter. Larger stations may have 'civilian' support staff.

And it is possible in smaller stations that when there's a call-out all the fire service staff jump on the appliances and roar off into the sunset sirens wailing, leaving no supervisory or support staff on site, but painters and plumbers etc carrying out maintenance will be left to get on with their job. They may be unfamiliar with the premises.

In fully retained stations with no staff on duty said painters and plumbers etc may be given a key and left to get on with it.
Contractors are required to be provided with fire safety information for where they are working so as to ensure their safety. That should include the means of escape. 
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nearlythere
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« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2017, 07:56:48 PM »

I agree that fire action notices by MCPs are a waste of time. Nearly all MCPs are on circulation routes or by exits from the building, so who the hell will be stopping to read them? We put fire action notices in tea points and on the back of toilet doors - at reading height when sitting! Seriously - who can avoid reading when, er, waiting.

As for fire extinguisher signs - again, we do not use them. The only exception is a bespoke sign we display above our Class D powder extinguishers (for metal fires) to highlight 1) it is a specialist extinguisher 2) only trained staff should use it and 3) it is not safe on electrical fires

We never sign a MCP. If a person doesn't recognise this red glass fronted box as a MCP, I doubt a red pointy finger sign will help. However, we do sign green break glass door overrides and yellow vent break glasses (again, with bespoke signs), as people generally don't know what they are.

I hate the 'over signage' that you find in so many places. My hatred probably stems from some terrible times I spent when I was younger at Youth Hostels that had signs every 2 metres (don't do this. Please do that etc) Roll Eyes
Or what about a sign saying don't put any signs here Messy?

Anyone noticed the number of "Fire Exit - Keep Clear signs on main entrance doors or a Fire Door - Keep Shut sign on an inner entrance lobby door or outside a final exit door.
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We're not Brazil we're Northern Ireland.
Fishy
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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2017, 08:24:27 PM »

I agree that fire action notices by MCPs are a waste of time. Nearly all MCPs are on circulation routes or by exits from the building, so who the hell will be stopping to read them? We put fire action notices in tea points and on the back of toilet doors - at reading height when sitting! Seriously - who can avoid reading when, er, waiting.

As for fire extinguisher signs - again, we do not use them. The only exception is a bespoke sign we display above our Class D powder extinguishers (for metal fires) to highlight 1) it is a specialist extinguisher 2) only trained staff should use it and 3) it is not safe on electrical fires

We never sign a MCP. If a person doesn't recognise this red glass fronted box as a MCP, I doubt a red pointy finger sign will help. However, we do sign green break glass door overrides and yellow vent break glasses (again, with bespoke signs), as people generally don't know what they are.

I hate the 'over signage' that you find in so many places. My hatred probably stems from some terrible times I spent when I was younger at Youth Hostels that had signs every 2 metres (don't do this. Please do that etc) Roll Eyes

One day, I'll find the picture that I had of a 'Fire Exit' sign screwed inside the (only) door of a toilet cubicle.
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AnthonyB
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« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2017, 09:18:34 PM »

No, the fire rating for afff foam extinguishers is 9 litre 183B, 6 litre 144B, 3 litre 55B, you would need three 3 litre foams to replace a 6 litre, better to stay with the 6 litre.

It's not been that simple for years, different foam compounds and spray nozzles from different manufacturers mean that you can get 6 litre models rated 34A:183B and 9 litre models rated 43A:233B. Some standard 6 litre foams now are 21A and the 3 litre models are almost all 13A and several are now 70B not 55B.

A lot of people are installing on capacity (as in the pre 80's days when there were no fire ratings) meaning that where a customer has a fire point of 2 x 13A 6 litre foams replaced they sometimes end up with 2 x 27A rated foams in their place when they could have reduced to 1 (most foam extinguisher installations aren't based on the need for a particular B rating, just the A rating)

Discharge testing/extended servicing foams (or indeed any wet) is in theory worth doing if you already have the training and equipment and certainly with the UK & US made kit, however with imported stuff it has been hit and miss with regards to linings being OK (although this seems to have improved in recent years). Many people don't bother though because of the need to give staff additional training and equipment (filling has been off the service syllabus for years), environmental restrictions, time costs, failure rates and low new equipment prices.

Extinguisher signage - the intention was to sign only if not in plain view (the Government Guidance reflects this) but the way the relevant article in the Order is written is with such terrible grammar that it's easy to read it as needing signage regardless of location and the extinguisher trade have lobbied hard enough to get this also reflected in the sales guide that is BS5306-8.

Call point signage - with newer call points that comply with EN54 and use a pictogram instead of 'FIRE' unless they are not in clear view or need to be seen from a distance I don't automatically require extra signage as the call point already has it.

Fire Action Signs - The DCLG guidance suggests these should still be used in larger or complex premises next to call points and this is a throwback to the Fire Precautions Act days when a fire certificate would invariably require Notice N1 (or N2) next to each manual call point. To me these are more use next to a call point than the call point pictogram as they not only draw you to the MCP but then tell you what to do (not everyone remembers their training)
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Anthony Buck
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