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The Vital Role of Secure Information Boxes (SIBs) in Premises Management

Michelle Pitkin, Chair of the Fire Risk Management Group at IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health), explains Secure Information Boxes (SIBs’)/Premises Information Boxes’ importance, contents, placement, maintenance, and procurement sources, highlighting their critical role in enhancing fire safety and aiding swift FRS response during emergencies.

 

The Vital Role of Secure Information Boxes (SIBs) in Premises Management MP
Michelle Pitkin

From 23 January 2023, the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 made it a legal requirement for existing high-rise residential buildings in England to have a Secure Information Box (SIB) installed on the premises. Whilst this is a requirement under law for high-rise properties to have an SIB, it can be said that having an SIB is good practice for complicated or high risk sites or multi-use (occupancy or activities) sites can be seen as good practice.

What is a SIB?

A SIB provides a secure location to store information about a building or site, which can be used by the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) during an incident. It can also be accessed by the FRS before the site contact arrives on site.

What should be in an SIB?

A SIB should contain all information which may be required in an emergency situation by the FRS. This can include:

  • The site’s contact details
    • Contact names/numbers of the responsible person(s) for the site
    • The contact details of any other person who may access the building 
  • Copies of the building’s floor plans
    • Building plans should be A3 and be encapsulated or placed inside plastic wallets so that they can withstand all weather environments. 
    • There should be two sets of all plans.
  • A single page block plan 
    • which identifies specified key fire-fighting equipment
  • An Orientation plan showing the location of the building in relation to surrounding buildings and other reference points (e.g. roads) and also water supplies
  • A building layout plan showing the internal layout
    • Including up-to-date floor plans
  • A simple layout plan (if not provided in the Orientation plan) 
    • Showing water supplies for firefighting, including hydrants, emergency water supplies, wet riser supplies, etc.
    • Showing facilities of relevant information for  operational firefighting and rescue, including relevant information regarding any lift(s) intended for use by the FRS
  • Significant fire safety issues
    • Any compartmentation, external wall system or other fire safety issues which may affect fire behaviour on the premises
  • A description of the current evacuation strategy, e.g., stay put, simultaneous evacuation
  • Information on anyone with mobility, cognitive or sensory impairment(s) and their arrangements
  • Location and information relating to high-risk processes, sources of heat or dangerous substances
  • Utilities and services cut-off points
  • Information relevant to preventing environmental damage
  • An ‘Off The Run’ notice containing details of any fire-fighting fixed installations not available for use and/or unresolved fire safety issues
  • A logbook for the purpose of recording events that occur in respect of the PIB system, including emergency use, system updates etc.

Where should an SIB be located?

The SIB may be required to be accessed when the site is unoccupied or prior to the arrival of the site contact; therefore, the SIB should be sited in a location:

  • Where the FRS can readily locate and gain access to it
  • At the entrance at which the FRS are most likely to arrive when attending a call to the premises
  • Where it can be readily accessible to designated staff and attending fire crews
  • Where it is easily recognisable (usually a red coloured box)
  • Which is ideally internally within the building if externally positioned in a sheltered, well-lit area

The location of PIB should be communicated to the local FRS for inclusion in their mobilising system

Who should maintain the SIB?

SIB should be kept up to date. The person responsible for fire safety within the organisation or on site will ensure that premises information boxes are provided. 

Fire Safety Officers will have the option to check the contents of the boxes when visiting the premises, so the information in the SIB should be kept up to date and reviewed on a regular basis.

Where can you get an SIB?

Secure Information boxes can be purchased online; examples are given. Other providers are available, or a standard box can be installed. However, access should be given to the FRS by a copy of the key or the access key code.

The Vital Role of Secure Information Boxes (SIBs) in Premises Management p
Gerda Box

Other information

You can connect with Michelle via LinkedIn

Read Michelle’s previous article – Maximising Safety through Site Layout: A Continuous Review Approach

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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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