Fire access routes are roads, paths, tracks or reinforced grassed routes to a building, new development, domestic housing or commercial property to satisfy planning regulations. An access road to provide fire engines and emergency vehicles with a clear route to a building in case of an emergency is often specified in construction projects. Engineered reinforced surface solutions which are also SuDS compliant and environmentally sympathetic are often specified.
Fire access routes need to combine safety, sustainability and practicality with a stable, durable, engineered and aesthetically acceptable surface. Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) which attenuate surface water run-off must be considered alongside options such as reinforced gravel and grass surfaces to further limit visual and environmental impact.
A robust cellular permeable paving grid system is often specified for fire access routes and emergency vehicle roads as they are often required to be part of a reinforced grassed surface. Interlocking porous plastic pavers provide a surface stabilisation solution that is free-draining and can be designed in conjunction with a SuDS system to manage rainwater run-off. Cellular plastic porous pavers can be filled with a selected gravel to provide a SuDS compliant free draining retained gravel access route, or filled with grass to blend in with the natural environment; accommodating the increased desire for green surfacing wherever practical. Where an invisible structure grass access route is required, a reinforced rootzone system is often considered, where small plastic mesh filaments are blended into the rootzone to provide a stable grassed surface that looks like any normal grass, with the added benefit of being able to support the heavy loads from a fire engine or emergency service vehicle.