Blake Fire and Security Systems

A Fire Alarm Zone Plan Will Make Your Business A Safer Place

Date: 13 August 2019

In 2004, multiple fire safety failings led to the devastating fire in Rosepark Care Home, resulting in 34 casualties and 14 fatalities - 10 of whom were dead at the scene. One of those failings was a lack of Fire Alarm Zone Plans.

A small fire that broke out in a storage cupboard quickly spread. It ripped through the entire building taking the lives of 14 residents.

Since the fatal accident at the South Lanarkshire care home, the legislation was updated to reflect lessons learned - resulting in an increased awareness of zone plans among business owners.

However, there may still be business owners and Responsible Persons that don't have them in place - leaving their business at greater risk than it should be.


What is a Fire Alarm Zone Plan?

A Fire Alarm Zone Plan shows the layout of the building and clearly highlights the separate fire alarm zones to help evacuations in an emergency situation.

The plan should also include:

  • Building levels
  • Escape routes and final exits (exits that open out into a place of safety, such as the car park or school field)
  • Circulation areas (corridors, stairs, lifts etc)
  • A "You are here" sign so that visitors and employees can map out their exit route

It is critical that your Fire Alarm Zone Plan corresponds to the orientation of the building. So, if there is an a fire exit door to your immediate right, it should also be to the immediate right of the "you are here" sign on the plan.

Zone plans can also include additional information such as:

But it is critical that they don't become cluttered, otherwise their original purpose is compromised. It has to be quick, easy and clear for all staff and visitors to evacuate in the case of a fire safety drill, or a real fire emergency.

Avoid prosecution, fines and even jail! Discover the 10 things the Responsible Person MUST get right with our FREE guide. Click below to get started!

10 things the responsible person must know

Do I need a fire alarm zone plan?

Yes you do!

If the local fire service visited your property for an inspection and you didn't have a fire alarm zone plan located on or near your fire alarm control and repeater panels, you'd be flagged up for neglecting fire safety standards.

This would be considered a non-conformance against the British Standard for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire alarm systems in non-domestic premises.

As well as aiding the evacuation of staff and visitors in a fire, it helps the emergency services to quickly identify the origin of the alarm which is where the fire started, and the direction it's most likely to spread.

This information is absolutely, categorically critical in a fire.

It saves lives.

fire alarm zone plan

The victims of the Rosepark Care Home are a prime example of what can happen if a number of these small fire safety details are neglected.

Zone plans could have helped some of the victims escape the fire in the complex building layout.

There were other deficiencies in fire safety that contributed to the deaths:

  • Staff waited 9 minutes after the alarm had been sounding to contact the Fire Brigade
  • Fire dampeners in the ducting had never been installed
  • The self closers on all bedroom doors had been disabled
  • The bedroom doors had all been wedged open - allowing in the smoke and gases that directly killed some of the residents.

The Responsible Person must understand their role

Sheriff Principal Brian Lockhart, who investigated the matter, commented:

"The management of fire safety at Rosepark was systematically and seriously defective. The deficiencies in the management of fire safety at Rosepark contributed to the deaths...Management did not have a proper appreciation of its role and responsibilities in relation to issues of fire safety"

It is the Responsible Person's duty to ensure all fire safety precautions are in place and that a Fire Risk Assessment has been correctly carried out.

Download your free guide below and learn the 10 things every responsible person MUST know to comply with the law.

10 things the responsible person must know

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