When the firefighters attended the fire at Grenfell Tower, they were unable to operate the mechanism that should have allowed them to take control of the lifts. The Inquiry recommended that the owner and manager of every high-rise residential building be required by law to carry out regular inspections of any lifts that are designed to be used by firefighters and to report these results to the fire and rescue service at monthly intervals and that they also be required to undertake tests of the mechanism which allows firefighters to take control of the lifts and to inform the fire rescue service monthly that they have undertaken them.
These regulations will help prevent similar situations as the Fire and Rescue Service in the majority of cases will know before arrival that a lift intended for their use in an emergency is out of service and plan accordingly.
The responsible person will be required to check other essential firefighting equipment once a month and take necessary steps to fix them “essential fire-fighting equipment” includes both equipments provided in buildings to fight fires and important fire safety features and facilities.
The regulations provide a clear list of what a Responsible Person will be required to check. These are:
- lifts for use by firefighters
- evacuation lifts
- inlets for dry-rising mains
- inlets for wet-rising mains
- outlets for dry-rising mains
- outlets for wet-rising mains
- smoke control systems
- suppression systems
- fire detection and fire alarm systems including any detectors linked to ancillary equipment such as smoke control systems (in the common parts),
- evacuation alert systems
- automatic door release mechanisms linked to fire alarm systems
Responsible persons will also be expected to report on any damage they discover during checks to the firefighting shaft during construction activity or by any other activity, such as vandalism (removed doors, smashed glass or other failures that allows smoke spread).
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