Mobility scooter bay fire protection
Tackling mobility scooter bay fires
In sheltered housing schemes and in blocks of flats that house many elderly people, it is common to see mobility scooters parked in the corridor outside each property. Sometimes this is by design: councils and housing groups have responsibilities to cater to their residents' mobility needs, and even in new buildings, spaces and charging points are sometimes designed into the corridors adjacent to the entrance of each flat.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, unfortunately, imposes a conflicting requirement: those responsible for the building must ensure that a reasonable level of safety is provided, and in 2011 the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) decided that the mobility scooters charging in corridors represent an unacceptable risk, as fires could flood what is intended to be a sterile escape corridor with smoke.
Moving the scooters elsewhere is not always a solution: in some cases, residents have lease agreements that specifically allow scooter charging in this way, and such a move would also create a high risk of residents injuring themselves through falls.
Plumis and Blue Light Safety have assisted Chesire Fire and Rescue Service in testing Automist as a scooter suppression system. The tests showed that with a correct spray pattern, Automist is an effective solution. When installed as a scooter suppression system, Automist should be activated by a smoke detector in the corridor and requires a customised wall mounting scheme for the nozzle assembly. For more information please talk to your local Automist installer.
The BRE have conducted research to quantify the typical production of quantities of smoke and heat from a burning Mobility Scooter. The data is intended to be of value to fire engineers, designers, fire risk assessors, and enforcers working in the care home sector since it will provide design parameters and allow an objective assessment to be made of the real fire risks from these machines. It will also inform decision-makers in properties in which mobility scooters are used, in providing information to assist them in determining and managing an appropriate fire safety regime.