Features of a Tactical Fire Plan

A tactical fire plans is a basic building floor plan and shows the location of active and passive fire safety equipment within the building, as well as the path to required exits. The requirements for a Tactical Fire Plan are set out in Clause 9(a)(vi) of Specification E1.8 for the deemed-to-satisfy requirements for Fire Control Centres of the National Construction Code.
Russ Porteous
CEO, Firewize
16 Dec, 2020

The requirement for a Tactical Fire Plan exists in the deemed-to-satisfy provisions ("DtS") in Specification E1.8 of the National Construction Code ("NCC"). In addition some states also set out guidelines for Tactical Fire Plans in certain building classifications or large buildings (over a certain height or floor area).

Specification E1.8 — Fire control centres

  1. Size and contents of a fire control room
    1. A fire control room must contain—
      1. a Fire Indicator Panel and necessary control switches and visual status indication for all required fire pumps, smoke control fans and other required fire safety equipment installed in the building; and
      2. a telephone directly connected to an external telephone exchange; and
      3. a blackboard or whiteboard not less than 1200 mm wide x 1000 mm high; and
      4. a pin-up board not less than 1200 mm wide x 1000 mm high; and
      5. a raked plan layout table of a size suitable for laying out the plans provided under (vi); and
      6. colour-coded, durable, tactical fire plans.

By extension this means that a tactical fire plan is required (DtS) for buildings where a fire control rooms is required. According to the NCC there is a difference between a Fire Control Centre or Fire Control Room;

a fire control room is a fire control centre in a dedicated room with additional specific requirements. Clauses 2 to 5 apply to fire control centres (including fire control rooms). Clauses 6 to 12 apply additional requirements to fire control rooms.1

After a lot of reading, back-and-forth I have come to the conclusion (in layman's terms) that a Fire Control Room is a dedicated room (fire control centre) required in a building more than 50 m in effective height with additional DtS features described in Specification E1.8.

Unfortunately this single reference in the NCC does not describe the purpose or features of a Tactical Fire Plan, so its left to other standards or authorities to fill in the missing pieces.

Guidelines for Tactical Fire Plans (State by State)

With the absence of a nationally defined Standard to describe the features of a Tactical Fire Plan, various fire authorities across Australia have produced their own guidelines for the requirements of a Tactical Fire Plan.  At the time of writing this document, the following guidelines exist;


Purpose of Tactical Fire Plans

In general terms, the purpose of providing Tactical Fire Plans in a building is;

  1. to establish a standardised format for consistency of plans or drawings for use by first responders in a building;
  2. to simplify drawings required in a within Fire Control Rooms ("FCR") or at the Fire Control Centres ('FCC");
  3. to assist first responders to quickly identify significant risks (such as a hazardous materials or flammable liquids) within a building; 
  4. to assist first responders to quickly identify essential (active and passive) fire safety features of the building during an emergency.


Features of a Tactical Fire Plan

The important features required in Tactical Fire Plans include:

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  1. the designated access point, typically signified by an external warning device or bell;
  2. the location of electrical switchboards, power generation, generators, transformers substations and related electrical (power) isolation points;
  3. fire compartments and/or smoke compartments;
  4. fuel sources or other hazardous materials or flammable liquids or metals;
  5. the location of any material safety data sheets that apply to the building;
  6. the location of the fire hydrant system block plan, water supply location(s), booster connections, feed hydrant location, fire pump-set(s), the location of each fire hydrant landing valves and isolating valves.
  7. the location of the fire sprinkler control valve assembly & block plan, water supply location(s), fire pump-set(s), booster connection, and ancillary control valve locations.
  8. the location of the fire detection and alarm system control and indicating equipment ("FDCIE"), Alarm Signalling Equipment ("ASE"), Occupant Warning System (where installed) and associated zone block diagrams.
  9. the location (where installed) of the emergency warning system and intercommunication system
  10. the location of a fire fan control panel (if fitted).