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Fire Protection
in Buildings
Dr. Benjamin P.L. Ho
Department of Mechanical Engineering
(contact: benjamin.ho@hku.hk)
Fire Service Installations
A First Glance

Audio and Visual Advisory System
• Equipment which is supplementary to Exit sign
and fire alarm warning devices which, when
operated in the event of a fire, provides
audio/visual indication of safe direction of egress
from the area

Automatic Actuating Devices
 Building components such as doors shutters, dampers,
fire curtains, roof vent, etc., and the devices for
automatically controlling their movement in the event of
 Most common are fire shutters along corridors or fire
dampers inside A/C ductwork when passing through
 Fire shutters operate on smoke detectors on both sides of
the shutter to lower it when activated
 Fire dampers operate on a small fusible link that
separates when heated to automatically close the damper
 Others may include door shutters which close a metal
sliding door when activated
• Door Shutter

Automatic fixed installation other than water
• A system of cylinders, pipes, valves, and
delivery points so designed as to automatically
detect and instantaneously attack a fire with an
inert medium and sound an alarm
• e.g. carbon dioxide protection of electrical equipment

Emergency Generator
• cold starting
• full rated essential load in not more than 15 seconds
• fuel storage for a period of not less than 6 hours.
• Adequate ventilation shall be provided for both
combustion and cooling air.
• Exhaust discharge of combustion products shall not
cause a public nuisance and shall be in accordance
with the guidelines and requirements of the Director
of Environmental Protection.

Emergency Lighting
• A system of artificial lighting designed to provide
adequate illumination and indication of exit routes
within a building under emergency conditions.
• Present requirements demands around 5-20% of
luminaires to be battery powered and maintained
by essential power supply during power failure.
• Others may include unitary type battery powered
flood lamps

Exit Sign
• A fixed illuminated sign indicating an approved
exit route.

Automatic Fire Alarm (AFA)
• Fire alarm system
• Any manually operated system designed to give warning of
• Fire control centre
• A compartment (situated at street level having direct access
to open air and vehicular approach) containing annunciation
boards, controls, terminals, etc. of the fire protection and life
safety systems within that building/complex
• Fire detection system
• Any system designed to detect automatically the presence of
smoke, heat, combustion products or flame and give warning
of same
Fire Control Centre 12
Fireman’s lift
• A lift designed and installed to be used
by firemen in the event of fire.
• The specifications of fireman’s lift is
governed by the ‘CoP Fire Safety in
• Allowed for serving alternate floors if
only one single fireman’s lift is installed
• The ‘fireman’s switch’ at G/F when
activated will have the fireman’s lift in
manual mode for the fireman
Portable hand-operated approved
• Any fire services equipment which is manufactured, used or
designed to be used as an independent unit for the purpose of
extinguishing, attacking, preventing or limiting a fire, e.g.
water type, foam, inert gas, any chemical extinguishers, fire
blankets and sand buckets.

Dry Powder CO2 Gas Foam

Fire Blanket
Ventilation/air conditioning
control system
• An automatic control system, designed to stop
mechanically induced air movement, within a
designated fire compartment, actuated by smoke
detectors and provided with a central manually
operated back up facility
• Refer to FSD Circular Letter No. 2/2005 ‘Ventilation
/ Air Conditioning (V/AC) Control System
• Air conditioning equipment with a flowrate > 1000 L/s
will be shutdown during fire alarm

Pressurization of staircase

• A system designed to
protect the staircase
against the ingress of
smoke by
maintaining the air
within staircase at
pressure higher than
those in adjacent
parts of the building.

Smoke extraction system

• A system designed
to extract the smoke
from a certain
compartment during
a fire.
• The extraction
system will
accompany an intake

Automatic Sprinkler system
• A system designed to
discharge water under
pressure from sprinkler
heads (detecting
devices) at/or near the
point of origin of the
fire and to sound an

Fire Hydrant / Hose Reel system
• Hose reel
• First hand firefighting by occupants
• Within 30m from anywhere in the building
• Comes with break glass alarm next to the
hose reel
• Fire hydrant
• Hydrants are placed at the landing of
• Firemen bring along their fire hose and
connect up the hydrants to obtain water
• Building has its own water storage but
further supply is required from fire engines