Our 3-Step Escape Plan

  • First Escape Route
  • Second Escape Route
  • Meeting Place

Use this space to note any additional information about your escape plan, i.e. who will assist

Your checklist
  • Get low

    Smoke is poisonous and more deadly than flames.

    If you breathe smoke for more than a few breaths it can kill you.

  • Be fast

    A house fire can kill you in less than three minutes.

    Don't spend time trying to save possessions.

  • Close doors

    A closed door buys you time.

    It slows down the spread of fire, giving you more time to get to safety.

  • Get out - stay out!

    People have died by going back into a fire.

    Don't leave the meeting place to go back inside for any reason.

Fire & Emergency New Zealand

Designing for fire safety

The purpose of fire safety design in a building is to allow people to escape the building before being overcome by the effects of fire.

The traditional approach

Until 1991 the building code in New Zealand was a prescriptive code that followed a set of rules for designing a building. This was common in many countries where a lot of similarly specific rules had been developed that related to fire safety in buildings. The kinds of provisions that were specified included:

  • the number of emergency exits from a building
  • where the exits must be located
  • signs required at exits
  • systems required to detect fires
  • alarms required to warn people of fire
  • sprinkler systems to extinguish fires
  • building construction materials  which would slow fire growth
  • construction to limit fire spreading from one area to another
  • structural elements to stand up for long enough to get people out and enable firefighters to mount an attack.

A performance-based approach

Since 1991 the  traditional approach to fire safety in building design was replaced with a performance-based approach. The traditional approach was  expressed in the prescriptive approved documents with formed part of the building code. These approved documents are one way of satisfying a building’s performance requirements, but a designer can put forward alternative solutions for approval.

Using an alternative solution allows the designer to design buildings using fire engineering rather than relying on rules. Fire engineering relies on the principles of fire science, human behaviour and risk management. This process requires the designer to think through the following issues:

  • fire ignition growth and spread
  • how people will become aware of a fire and what they might do
  • location of people in the building and their state
  • how quickly people can get out
  • fire development
  • how the smoke and fire might affect people
  • smoke generation and how it could spread
  • how the building materials will respond to the fire.

Considering all these issues allows a fire safety solution to de developed that suits the particular building and its use.

Fire Safety Assessment Tool

When designing a building, whether it be by traditional prescriptive acceptable solutions or a performance-based approach there is a need to understand the impacts of the design features.

Whenever it is not possible to meet today’s requirements, the Building Code allows for design on an “as nearly as is reasonably practicable” (ANARP) approach. Fire and Emergency have developed a tool to assess a buildings fire safety design against the performances required from a holistic point of view. The tool helps with understanding some aspects of the impact in order to assess what may be reasonable or not.

More detailed information is provided within the document itself and you can download it through the following link.

Fire and Emergency Holistic Fire Safety Impact Matrix (download via Dropbox)