What is EN81-72?

In 2020, the European Committee for Standardisation released an update to the standard for the installation of Firefighter Lifts, EN81-72:2015. This replaced the 2003 and 2015 versions of the same standard.

A Firefighter lift is a passenger lift that may be used by firefighters to safely travel between floors in the event of a fire. The 2020 update included many changes to the physical structures of Firefighter lift systems, and small changes to the requirements for emergency communication systems.

Fireman’s lift requirements under EN81-72 and BS EN81-72

EN81-72 requires that buildings of a certain size have fire-fighting lifts. In the UK, British Buildings Standard BS9999 requires fire-fighting lifts in buildings that are >18 metres tall, or have basements >10 metres deep.

Firefighter 3- way elevator intercom system

Clause 5.12 of the EN81-72 describes a system including a Fire Service Access Level (FSAL) unit to be mounted on the ground floor beside the lift, an in-car unit to be accessed using the car operating panel (COP), and a motor room (MR) unit. These components will provide a three-way elevator intercom system for firefighters:

• The elevator intercom system units must be IPx3-rated
• The elevator intercom system units must be hands-free (not a conventional elevator emergency-phone handset)
• And the FSAL unit must contain a key-switch that allows a firefighter to activate the “fire mode” of the Fireman’s Lift – this brings the lift to the ground floor and grants control to the firefighting team.

Do EN81-72’s elevator requirements apply to existing lifts?

All lifts must now meet the standards of EN81-72. Because of the structural changes to fire-fighting lift regulations, it’s expected that lifts not already meeting those requirements will need to be replaced.

The smaller changes to lift emergency-phone regulations can be upgraded to EN81-72 standards, by installing additional emergency communications equipment.

Be aware of additional fire-fighting lift requirements outlined in other French and British standards

British Standards BS EN81-72:2020, adds to the fire-fighting lift requirements above by requiring that FSAL units indicate whether the Firefighter lift is running on its primary or secondary power supply.

The French standard NF P82-207:1976 overlaps with EN81-72 and describes the nature of the key switch required on the FSAL unit. The key switch must be a 6 mm square female socket situated behind a fixed piece of frangible glass. Not the exposed triangular key switch described in the EN standard.

EN81-28 describes an emergency telephone system to facilitate the release of trapped passengers and lift engineers. The hardware installed to meet this standard is often used in part to meet EN81-72 standards.

British standards BS8899:2016 “Improvement of fire-fighting and evacuation provisions in existing lifts” and BS9999:2017 “Fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings” both reference BS EN81-72:2020 when describing the use of emergency communication systems in lifts.

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