It Is Now Forbidden to Place Children’s Centers in Basements. The Fire Safety Expert Explains Why

The underground floor is also not suitable for children’s activities.
Irina Sycheva | 28 September 2020
It Is Now Forbidden to Place Children’s Centers in Basements. The Fire Safety Expert Explains Why

In Russia, from January 1, 2021, children’s activities in basements and on the underground floor will be forbidden. An exception is those that are provided by the project documentation. The government approved the rules for the fire safety regime in Russia. Pavel Rusakov, an expert in the field of fire safety and head of the Integrated Security Systems Group, explained to Pravmir why children’s centers cannot be organized in the basements and on the underground floors.


– What are the new rules about the placement of children’s centers?

– The government approved the rule of fire safety in the Russian Federation, according to which it will not be possible to organize children’s activities in the basements and on underground floor of buildings.

Also, according to the new rules, rooms for recreation or health improvement of children should not be located in the attic of a building of the fourth and fifth degree of fire resistance. In other areas of such buildings, no more than 50 children can be accommodated. If there is one emergency exit on the floor, then there can be no more than 10 children.

– When will they come into force?

– From January 1, 2021.

– What is forbidden to place in basements?

– Children’s leisure organizations:

children’s development centers,

entertainment centers,

halls for celebrations,

halls for sports events.

Exceptions are premises where the design documentation already provides for the organization of children’s activities.

– Why is it forbidden to conduct classes with children in basements?

– In case of an emergency, getting out of the basement and underground floors is much more difficult than from the above-ground part of the building. Various factors create the threat. In such premises, complex planning solutions are often used, there are not enough escape routes and exits, there is no natural lighting, escape routes can be cluttered (often old equipment and furniture are stored in the corridors of the lower floors). Active fire protection systems may not function adequately or not be in place at all. Perhaps the solution is related to these dangers.

– Are the underground floor dangerous, too? There are windows there.

– Ground floors, buried no more than half, do not carry such risks. Usually there is natural light, window pits that can be used for smoke removal. But organizing classes for children is forbidden there anyway.

– Is a complete ban generally justified? Could it be done in another way?

– From the point of view of fire safety, an ideal building is an empty reinforced concrete structure, in which there is nothing at all, no electricity, no people. But this does not mean that everything that does not correspond to the ideas about this ideal should be banned.

If we are talking about children’s centers, then they can be attributed to the class of functional fire hazard F 1.1. These include buildings of preschool educational organizations, specialized homes for the elderly and disabled (not apartment), hospitals, dormitories of educational organizations with a boarding school, and so on.

The best solution would not be to ban the use of such premises, but to create a regulatory system. To strengthen control on the part of state fire control bodies, create a system of penalties for violation of fire safety requirements when operating premises and buildings of class F 1.1, use public control: these are just a few measures that lie on the surface.

Translated by Alyona Malafeeva

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