What Should Be Included in your Premises Information Box?
During Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, it was revealed that the London Fire Brigade faced challenges due to the lack of readily available on-site information, potentially impeding their response on that fateful night. The Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s findings underscored the need for a proactive approach to address such limitations. As a result, a key recommendation emerged: high-rise residential buildings should be legally obligated to incorporate secure information boxes within their premises.
The rationale behind this recommendation is clear. By mandating the presence of these secure information boxes, building owners and managers can ensure that vital information is readily accessible to fire and rescue services during emergencies. The boxes act as dedicated repositories for crucial documents, enabling swift and efficient decision-making processes in complex building layouts.
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, which came into effect on 23rd January 2023, have mandated the installation of secure information boxes in existing high-rise residential buildings. According to the regulations, responsible persons for high-rise buildings in England are now required to have a suitably secure information box installed within or on the premises. The information boxes contain essential details and resources crucial for effective emergency management. Among the key documents are:
Including clear and concise floor plans helps emergency responders navigate the building efficiently. By providing a visual representation of the layout, including key areas and exit routes, these plans aid in swift decision-making during emergencies.
Comprehensive fire strategy plans, also in A3 size, should be included. These plans feature floor layouts and elevation drawings that highlight the floor and flat numbering system. By understanding the building’s structure and numbering scheme, emergency personnel can swiftly locate and reach specific areas within the premises.
Identifying vulnerable individuals within the building and providing their corresponding locations is crucial for their safety during evacuations. Additionally, outlining specific evacuation plans tailored to the needs of vulnerable occupants helps ensure a smooth and efficient evacuation process.
A well-defined evacuation strategy should be included in the PIB. This strategy outlines the procedures, routes, and assembly points to be followed during an emergency. It helps occupants and emergency responders act promptly and in a coordinated manner.
Documenting the risks associated with the building, such as the types of construction materials used and the presence of external wall systems (EWS), is essential. This information assists in assessing potential hazards and formulating appropriate mitigation strategies.
Providing details about access points and firefighting facilities within the building is crucial for the fire and rescue service. This includes information on dry risers, firefighting lifts, firefighting shafts, hydrants, and other relevant firefighting equipment.
Incorporating information about the building’s active and passive fire safety measures is vital. This includes details about fire alarm systems, sprinklers, smoke control systems, and the structural fire resistance capabilities of the building.
Including up-to-date contact information for the responsible persons, Managing partner, landlord, and relevant local authorities facilitates effective communication and coordination during emergencies.
If the building has any unique or unconventional features such as basements or tunnels, these should be highlighted in the PIB. Providing information about such features enables emergency responders to tailor their response strategies accordingly.
Clear procedures for isolating services and utilities in case of emergencies should be documented. This helps prevent further risks and allows emergency responders to swiftly address critical issues.
Including a continuity strategy for the building ensures that essential operations and services can be maintained or restored promptly after an emergency. This contributes to effective recovery and minimises disruption.
It’s worth noting that the above list serves as a general guideline. Local regulations and specific requirements may vary, especially in Scotland or Northern Ireland, so it’s important to consult the relevant local authorities to ensure compliance with the applicable standards and regulations in your jurisdiction.
View the Governments fact sheet about Secure Information Boxes here
It is essential to grant access to the fire and rescue service, ensuring they can swiftly retrieve the necessary information and respond effectively to emergencies. Moreover, responsible persons must fulfil their duty of maintaining the information boxes and ensuring that the contents are regularly updated in accordance with the new regulations.
For more information on the maintenance of Premises Information Boxes then please read our summary blog here
The introduction of premises information boxes in high-rise residential buildings marked a significant stride towards bolstering fire safety protocols. By complying with these regulations, building owners and responsible persons contribute to safeguarding lives and enhancing the overall safety of their premises.
If you would like to speak with one of our consultants about PIB’s then please contact us below!
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