Fire in skyscrappers – Are we ready?


According to the definition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 2012), high  rise buildings are defined as “building greater than 75 feet (approximately 23m) in height  where the building height is measured from the lowest level of fire department vehicle  access to the floor of the highest occupiable story.” 

The EPF building blaze has caused bad traffic congestion on both the Federal Highway and Jalan Gasing.
The EPF building blaze has caused bad traffic congestion on both the Federal Highway and Jalan Gasing in 2018.

Have you ever dreamt of living in a tall building, waking up to KLCC as your view? Or working in a tall tower while flexing your lanyard. That sounds pretty cool. But have you ever imagine, what’s going to happen if the high rise buildings, occurred to be in an event of a fire? Now, now are we ready?

National Association of Fire Officers (NAFO) has made it mandatory to install active and passive protection systems in high-rise buildings to make them fire safe. Continuous fire safety auditing is also essential to check the readiness of the premise as well as residents in case of a fire. To minimize the loss of life and property due to fire, every high rise should have mandatory safety guidelines in place


What are the safety guidelines for high rise buildings?

Fire detection system

Fire detectors should be placed on each floor, and two-way communication should be established between the ground floor and other floors. Public Address System (PAS) should be installed on every level, and regular instructions should be given according to the situation.

Fire alarm system

There are two kinds of fire alarms system, manual and automatic. Automatic fire alarm systems such as smoke and heat detectors are mandatory elements in international building codes, and particularly useful in spotting fires during times when occupancy in the building is low.  

Sprinkler system

In the basement, parking and other areas, where highly combustible things are stored, sprinklers must be provided. The NFPA, estimates the automatic suppression systems lower the cost of damage by 60%. The sprinklers should be connected to the main water tank so that there is an ample amount of water to control the fire. 

Fire extinguishers

Portable fire extinguishers should be installed in each corridor along with First Aid box ready and available 24×7. 

Signage Escape route map

Maps clearly showing the route to escape should be provided in each corridor. This should be in luminous paint so that it is useful even if there is a power failure and to enable evacuation at night. 

Fire drills

Drills are the only means that can be used to check how efficient your emergency response plan is. The residents should know where the emergency equipment is and what way to reach there is. Also, they should know how to evacuate the building in the least possible time. Conduct regular fire drills to prevent panic in an emergency is as important as staying away from flames and fumes.  

Also, there should be a built-in firefighting system that includes a wet riser, dry riser,  and hydrant. Every high-rise should have a minimum of two entrances and staircases, each, both far from each other. There should be an alternative source of power supply that needs to be maintained and kept operational. 

In conclusion, fire-related accidents are beyond our control, but we can at least be prepared to address the situation in a well-planned manner so that there is a minimum loss of life and property. 



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