BS 8629:2019 is the code of practice for designing, installing, commissioning, and maintaining evacuation alert systems for fire and rescue services in buildings containing flats.
The code of practice recommendations is strongly advised for new buildings with a storey more than 18m above ground level containing flats and equally relevant as best practices for existing buildings.
In the past, when fires have occurred in a tall residential building with a ‘stay-put policy’ in place, it has been common practice for the fire and rescue service to evacuate the occupants of the affected flat only. On rare occasions, the occupants of nearby or adjacent flats would be evacuated too. The notification has been through firefighters physically knocking on doors as there was no other practical way of alerting occupants. When attending a fire incident, initial resources are focused on firefighting. In cases where more widespread evacuation is necessary, having an evacuation alert system enables occupants of flats to be effectively alerted by the fire and rescue service’s incident commander without diverting efforts away from essential firefighting operations.