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Fire safety terms and definitions are crucial in understanding how to prevent and respond to fires. Some important terms include.

For the purpose of this fire rules, the following definitions shall apply.

1) Assisted evacuation

  • Strategy that exists during which a designated person or persons provide assistance, during an emergency, to another person(s) to leave a building or a specific part of the built environment and to reach a final place of safety.

2) Automatic fire detection and alarm system

  • A system comprising components and sub-systems required for automatically detecting smoke, heat or fire initiating an alarm and other actions as appropriate.
  • This system also includes manually operated electronic fire alarm (MOEFA) system.

3) Combustible material

  • A material which either burns itself or adds heat to a fire, when tested for non-combustibility in accordance with accepted standard.

4) Common path of travel

  • That portion of the exit access which the occupants are required to traverse before two (or more) separate and distinct routes or two (or more) exits become available.
  • Common paths of travel are part of travel distance.

5) Down-comer

  • An arrangement of firefighting within the building by means of down-comer pipe connected to terrace tank through terrace pump, gate valve and non-return valve and having mains not less than 100 mm internal diameter with landing valves on each floor/landing.
  • It is also fitted with inlet connections at ground level for charging with water by pumping from fire service appliances and air release valve at roof level to release trapped air inside.

6) Dry riser

  • An arrangement of firefighting within the building by means of vertical rising mains not less than 100 mm internal diameter with landing valves on each floor/landing which is normally dry but is capable of being charged with water usually by pumping from fire service appliances.

7) Wet riser

  • An arrangement for firefighting within the building by means of vertical rising mains not less than 100 mm nominal diameter with landing valves on each floor/landing for firefighting purposes and permanently charged with water from a pressurized supply.

8) Emergency lighting

  • Lighting provided for use when the supply to the normal lighting fails.

9) Emergency lighting system

  • A complete but discrete emergency lighting installation also fed from the standby power source to the emergency lighting lamp(s), for example, self-contained emergency luminaire or a circuit from central battery (with or without monitoring system) connected through wiring to several escape lighting luminaries.

10) Escape lighting

  • That part of the emergency lighting which is provided to ensure that the escape route is illuminated at all material times, for example, at all times when persons are on the premises, or at times the main lighting is not available, either for the whole building or for the means of egress.

11) Evacuation lift

  • Lift that can be used, during an emergency, for self-evacuation.

12) Exit

  • That unobstructed component of means of egress which is between the exit access and the exit discharge or public way.
  • Exit components include exterior exit doors at the level of exit discharge, interior exit stairways, exit passageways, exterior exit stairways and exterior exit ramps.

13) Exit access

  • That portion of a means of egress that leads to an exit (for example, doorways, staircase lobby, ramps, Veranda, corridor or passageway leading to an exit).

14) Exit access corridor

  • A corridor in exit access which may not necessarily have the requirement of exits being met.

15) Exit discharge

  • The component of a means of egress between the termination of an exit and a public way.

16) Fire barrier (or Fire Resisting Barrier)

  • A fire barrier is a vertically or horizontally aligned member such as a wall or a fire curtain, or a floor.
  • These may be with discontinuities created by openings with a specified fire resistance rating, where such members are designed and constructed with a specified fire resistance rating to limit the spread of fire that also restricts the movement of smoke.

17) Fire compartment

  • A space within a building that is enclosed by fire barrier or fire resistant walls on all sides, including the top and bottom.

18) Fire door and fire door assembly

  • Any combination of fire door, frame, hardware and other accessories that together provide a specific fire-resistant rating to the opening in terms of its stability, integrity and insulation properties, when installed in the openings in fire separation walls.
  • Fire door is a component of fire door assembly.

19) Fire exit

  • A way out leading from exit access with or without panic bar provided on the door.

20) Fire fighting shaft (fire tower)

  • An enclosed shaft having protected area of 120 min fire resistance rating  comprising  protected  lobby,  staircase  and fireman’s lift, connected directly to exit discharge or through exit passageway with 120 min fire resistant wall at the level of exit discharge to exit discharge.
  • These shall also serve the purpose of exit requirement/ strategy for the occupants.
  • The respective floors shall be approachable from fire-fighting shaft enabling the fire fighters to access the floor and also enabling the fire fighters to assist in evacuation through fireman’s lift.
  • The firefighting shaft shall be equipped with 120 min fire doors. The firefighting shaft shall be equipped with firemen talk back, wet riser and landing valve in its lobby, to fight fire by fire fighters.

21) Fire load

  • Calorific energy, of the whole contents contained in a space, including the facings of the walls, partitions, floors and ceilings.

22) Fire load density

  • Fire load divided by floor area.

23) Fireman’s lift

  • A lift or a group of lifts invariably associated with all the features and requirements of a fire-fighting shaft. Such lift(s) are installed to enable fire services personnel to reach different floors with minimum delay, and shall meet the additional features as required in accordance with this Part.
  • This lift also serves the purpose of meeting the requirement of evacuation lift for assisted evacuation.

24) Fire resistance

  • Fire resistance is a property of an element of building construction and is the measure of its ability to satisfy for a stated period, some or all of the following criteria:
  1. Load bearing capacity (Stability) (R) The ability of a load bearing element to withstand fire exposure without any loss of structural stability.
  2. Integrity (E) Resistance to penetration of flame and hot gases.
  3. Insulation (I) Resistance to temperature rise on the unexposed face up to a maximum of 180°C at any single point and average temperature of 140°C.

25) Fire resistant wall

  • Fire resistance rated wall, having opening(s) with specified fire resistant rating, which restricts the spread of fire from one part of a building to another part of the same building.

26) Fire separation

  • The distance in metre, measured from the external wall of the building concerned to the external wall of any other building on the site, or from other site, or from the opposite side of street or other public space for the  purpose of preventing the spread of fire.

27) Fire stop

  • A fire resistant material, or construction, having a fire resistance rating of not less than the fire separating elements, installed in concealed spaces or between structural elements of a building to prevent the spread/propagation of fire and smoke through walls, ceilings and the like as per the laid down criteria.

28) Fire suppression systems

i) Gas based systems

  • Systems that use gaseous agents as fire suppression media, such as, all agents alternate to Halon gases, listed and approved for use by relevant Indian Standards; other methods/types of gas based systems where their protection is equal to or better than what is suggested above for the type of application subject to the acceptance of Authorities concerned may also fall under such systems.

ii) Water based systems

  • Systems that use mainly water as firefighting media such as hydrant system, sprinkler system, water spray system, foam system and water mist system.

29) Fire wall or fire separating wall

  • A fire resistance rated wall having fire protected openings, which restricts the spread of fire and extends continuously from the foundation to the roof (and through the roof at least 1m above the roof in case of combustible roof), with sufficient structural stability under fire conditions to allow collapse of construction  on one side or either side without collapse of the wall.

30) Fire exit hardware

  • A door-latching assembly incorporating an actuating member or panic bar that releases the latch bolt upon the application of a force in the direction of egress travel, provided on exits.

31) Means of egress

  • A continuous way of travel from any point in a building or structure to a public way, consisting of three separate and distinct parts, that is, exit access, exit and exit discharge

32) Means of escape

  • A way out of a building or structure that does not conform to the strict definition of “means of egress” but does provide an alternate way out.

33) Place of comparative safety

  • Places within a building where people can stay little longer until evacuation, for example, refuge areas, terrace, fire/ smoke separated compartments, etc.

34) Pressurization

  • The establishment of a pressure difference across a barrier to protect exit, stairway, lobby, exit passageway or room of a building from smoke penetration.

35) Pressurization level

  • The pressure difference between the pressurized space and the adjoining area served by the pressurized space expressed in Pascal (Pa).

36) Smoke barrier

  • A continuous membrane, or a membrane, where such membrane is designed and constructed to restrict the movement of smoke.

37) Smoke compartment

  • A  space within a building enclosed by smoke barriers on all sides.

38) Stack pressure

  • Pressure difference caused by a temperature difference creating an air movement within a duct, chimney or enclosure.

39) Travel distance

  • The distance to be travelled from any point in a building to a protected exit or external escape route or final exit measured along the line of travel.

40) Ventilation

  • Supply of outside air into, or the removal of inside air from an enclosed space.

41) Venting fire

  • The process of facilitating heat and smoke to leave a building as quickly as possible by such paths so that lateral spread of fire and heat is checked, firefighting operations are facilitated and minimum fire damage is caused.

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