SFPE Discussions

Assessment approaches involving managed evacuation

Hi All,
I am looking for some clarification on the application of the various assessment tools to demonstrate compliance with NZBC when pertaining to sleeping care occupancies.

Section 1.1.5, C/AS2 states that SI invariably requires a Fire strategy requiring moving to a safe place within a building and then states that Acceptable Solutions does not allow for Stay in place strategies related to Operating theatres, ICU’s, Hyperbaric Chambers, Delivery rooms and Recovery rooms.

Section 1.1.4. C/AS2 also states that other than where permitted for risk group SI and for early childhood centers, delayed evacuation strategy is outside the scope of C/AS2

On the other hand C/VM2 section 1.2 excludes all buildings with managed evacuation and buildings where evacuations is not direct to the outside. There is no reference to delayed evacuation

My query is

  1. Can we use C/VM2 for buildings with delayed evacuation?
  2. What is the definition of “Managed Evacuation”? Are schools (especially primary or day care centers) considered managed evacuation because small kids (especially below 5 yr olds) are not expected to up a go to a safe place when the fire alarm goes off, they will generally be guided by a teacher or teacher aide. what about staff managing movement of patients in an A&E Centre, doctors clinic or dentist? what about Police stations with detention facilities or courtrooms - are these occupancies considered to be managed evacuation?
  3. What is the definition of a Recovery room? Is a hospital ward considered a recovery room? What would not be a recovery room?
  4. Further to point 2 above, Section 1.1.5 to implies that one could use C/AS2 for care facilities that do not have critical care i.e. if people can be moved to an adjacent firecell it applies. Therefore can clinical spaces that have medical wards be designed using C/AS 2 if a medical ward is not classified as a recovery space?
  5. Further to point 2 above, Accident & Emergency clinics are classified as Risk Group CA. These occupancies can also have people that may be recovering after a minor procedure and may require managed evacuation, so do these then sit on the borderline of assessment via C/AS or C/CM and performance based design? Then there are imaging facilities that could have people that may need managed evacuation

My reason for these questions are because under C/AS or C/VM you only need to meet the requirements of the relevant solution whereas if we attempted the design via performance based design then there seems to be very onerous requirements to be satisfied where it pertains to vulnerable occupancies.

For example - A care home qualifies under Section 1.1.5 , to be assessed using C/AS2 and therefore all you need to consider is the prescriptive requirements of C/AS2. If then we proceeded to do this design by C/VM for any reason then it will head down a performance based route because it becomes managed evacuation. Performance based design will then require a whole raft of requirements like staff number ratios, vulnerability of occupants, time to get an occupant ready to move, time it takes an occupant to move, how many staff are required per occupant etc. etc.

I am not sure if I am overcomplicating the assessment approach. Any feedback is appreciated

Hi Biswadeep
Couple of interesting points come out of your discussion. Simply put C/AS2/1.1.5 is not correct using the word ‘invariably’ (meaning always) as there are plenty of examples of SI where direct evacuation to outside will occur such as many resthomes and a large number of care in the community houses and homes. Not all of SI comes within the term ‘unable to self-evacuate without assistance’, therefore moving to a safe place in the building will not be applicable.

The last childcare I did had 2 firecells due to children numbers but evacuation (6 months to 4yrs) was total for all children.

I have had plenty of surgeries where I am awake before I leave theatre and move to the ‘recovery room’ where I am sat up with a cup of tea and a sandwich. Nothing to stop me evacuating immediately.

Is there a possibly of using a Firewall within the design, so that you can effect a horizontal egress out of the building, and into a different building?
(Note firewall Canadian version, not fire separation or fire resistance rating.)

As for why prescriptive would allow you somethings and the performance will allow you others with information requirements, is a function of the additional risk and the steps to be taken to mitigate that risk, as if it’s a standard building working with standard numbers, than the risk is standard. If you adjust one of other factors, you than have to re-verify that the risk is decreased, so that you are not putting the insurance company at risk, by adjusting things that impact their risk of a payout.

You need to provide sufficient information to get a peer up to speed on what your idea is, and allow them to have a reasonable chance to correctly assist you in determining the applicability of your idea.

Project Fire plans, which are updated with the operational information allows for the restrictions of legality to be applied to the plan, so as to mitigate risk.

As for managed recovery

If you can’t egress under your own power, who is going to get you out? The staff, or the fire department. Normally the fire department would prefer not to have the extra responsibility, and the staff should be taught to deal with the situations so as to reduce the amount of “work” for the fire service, so that the “work” that they do is focused on controlling and managing the hazard, not policing and preparing the battleground the confrontation with the hazard, so that no civilians get hurt. For every patient there is a time required to move them, and tools and techniques that can be used to reduce that time.
So where you don’t have control of your own safety someone needs to provide you safety, and it’s normally those whom are providing you the services which remove the ability for your own self preservation.