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Providing essential information to firefighters

The Premises Information Box™ (PIB)® is a system designed to assist in protecting an organisation’s building and assets.

For new building design as well as existing, there is an ever present need to provide information on contents and layout as well as hazardous materials to the Fire & Rescue Service.

The Premises Information Box™ (PIB)® Systems offer a recognised focal point for the provision of premises plans and information to attending fire crews in the event of an incident through their unique Gerda One Key® system.



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    The Premises Information Box™ and Your Building

    A risk assessment will identify the individual features of a building and the activities carried on there that could present a fire risk. Your building may store hazardous materials, valuable equipment or irreplaceable data; since each premises is unique the PIB® has been designed to accommodate information in a range of formats. The PIB® has the facility to hold A3 plans for the Fire and Rescue Service and CD ROMs with more detailed information, allowing the content to be customised to your building.

    The Importance Of Key Management

    It is the high value placed on key control that makes the innovative high security Gerda® system so well regarded. Gerda first came to work with the London Fire Brigade to solve the problems of unauthorised access to restricted communal areas, such as housing estates, public buildings and public facilities. London Fire Brigade provided design advice that the Premises Information Box™ System should be based on key and security technology that had a proven track record.

    One problem with the former key system was that the keys could be copied freely and purchased from locksmiths and heel bars. The system was based on keyed alike locks, so the keys were in wide circulation. Key control was compromised, and it was only a matter of time before the locks failed to give security. The only solution was an innovative system that could incorporate key security, a system that has now been adopted by Fire and Rescue Services in the UK.

    The innovative high security lock mechanism comprises an integral cylinder certified to the latest standard EN1303 2005 – best in all categories of security. The unique multi-dimensional key® is trademarked and is linked to a registered key system. The cutting of keys is through authorised channels and by authorised individuals only. Gerda have a policy of rigorously enforcing key security.

    Find Out About Our Key Management Technology

    Technical Specification

    The Premises Information Box™ System was designed with the Fire Brigade to achieve the best design for fire fighters to access in an emergency. In the event of a fire the fire brigade will be able to access the premises information and building plans in the quickest time possible.

    What makes this system unique is that it is based on proven key and security technology that the Fire and Rescue Service can access, should the need arise.

    Contact us for a full technical specification.

    Assisting Fire Fighters In An Incident

    If you have responsibility for Health & Safety in the workplace, no doubt you will already have collated information on your premises, such as risk, layout and emergency plans. It’s just the kind of information that could assist a fire service commanding officer to decide the most effective way to save your building – if the fire brigade can access it.

    Along with your Premises Information Box™, you will receive a PIB® Welcome Pack to introduce you to the PIB® system. The pack has good practice guidelines on the process of preparing plans. It contains example plans and layout and symbology that has been developed with experienced fire service professionals based on their knowledge of the realities of a fire fighting situation.

    Depending on your building and the nature of your business, it might be necessary or advantageous to provide the following types of information in the Premises Information Box™ (PIB)® System.

    Plans of your building – An obvious starting point to enable the emergency services to workout how to get quickly and safely to the right location to sort out the problem. Depending on the level of detail such plans can also give the emergency services a good idea of how the building structure will behave under the stress of fire or damage caused by explosion. That can help keep their people safe and minimise further damage.

    Fire and safety systems – modern premises are increasingly equipped with sophisticated fire detection, fire suppression and other security systems designed to ensure safe escape for the buildings occupants and in many cases to control the spread of smoke and fire. The emergency services need to know what systems are available and how they operate in order to make best use of this in-built protection.

    Utilities and environmental systems – It is often essential for the emergency service to shut down electrical power or isolate gas supplies in order to make an environment safe. They may need to close down air conditioning systems to prevent spread of smoke, chemical fumes or other harmful airborne substances such as biological hazards.

    Hazardous contents – The emergency services need to know about any potentially hazardous materials stored or used in your premises. Substances that might already be involved in a fire and causing hazards to rescue workers or potentially harming the environment, or substances that might become involved and cause rapid fire spread or explosion risk. You will already have a legal obligation to tell the emergency services about some hazardous materials, but there are other hazards not regulated by law that can cause major problem for the emergency services. So the sooner the fire commander can locate such hazards and keep them out of harms way the better it will be for your business.

    Valuable contents – Often the emergency services are forced to make quick decisions about what to save first from a developing fire or rising flood. If they know what are your business most valuable assets they can often shape their intervention plans to protect those assets first. It might be a consignment for a highly valued customer waiting for shipment in your warehouse. It might be a prototype design in your laboratory. A valuable work of art in your board room, Irreplaceable records, or data storage in your offices. If they know what it is and where it is the emergency services stand some chance of getting it out of harms way.

    Business continuity – The ability of a business to pull through a potential disaster such as a fire, will not just depend on the extent of the damage and disruption caused by the event. It is essential that the recovery process start as soon as possible. How quickly can the business notify its insurers and get loss assessment underway? How quickly can it contact its customers and offer reassurance of deliveries or negotiate rescheduling of work? How quickly can it call in key staff to start the recovery process on site or organise relocation to alternative premises? By keeping contact details for staff, customers, insurers and the like in the PIB not only will you have ready access to this essential information, you will make it available to emergency services who will be able and willing to help you start the recovery process.

    Guidance On Plans

    For further information on premises plans and how they can assist liaison with the Fire and Rescue Service, please refer to the following documents: London Fire Brigade Guidance Note 70 - provides guidance on plans for fire engineered buildings. For further information go to

    Fire Safety Risk Assessment Guides to accompany the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order – provides guidance on plans and specifications that could help the fire and rescue service in the event of a fire. Refer to Section 7. For further information go to

    BS5588:12 Fire Precautions in the design, construction and use of buildings: Managing fire safety – annex Q provides guidance on Emergency Response Packs for the fire service. For further information go to

    Fire Prevention on Construction Sites - Joint Code of Practice on the Protection from Fire of Construction Sites and Buildings Undergoing Renovation – this code of practice is supported by the Association of British Insurers and the Chief Fire Officers Association. It provides guidance on site plans for fire service use. For further information go to

    International Association for Cold Storage Construction IACSC Protocol Guidance Note no. 1 – provides guidance on the format and content of plans for cold storage facilities. For further information go to

    Precautions to minimise effects of a Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear Event on Buildings and Infrastructure – provides guidance on good practice for plans for emergency response. For further information go to




“To assist in formulating fire fighting tactics and to reduce risks to firefighters, it is essential that relevant, up-to-date and practical information is provided and available at the affected building. 

Working with Gerda, the Premises Information Box has been developed to enable such information to be immediately available on site, while being kept secure.” 

Assistant Commissioner, London Fire Brigade.

""Network Homes installs GERDA Premises Information Boxes at our high rise blocks. We find this product offers a secure and visible box to store vital information to assist the emergency services and our contractors." Fire and Asbestos Contracts Manager Network Homes"

"Gerda Security provided High Security Premises Information Boxes for the improvements at Transport for London. Complex underground stations pose significant challenges to the Fire Service, having suitable and up-to-date information available at the scene is important in the event of an incident. In addition the service provided by Gerda was outstanding, enabling us to meet the critical milestone in our programme of partially opening the new station to the public. "

"If a building has not been built to conform to the provisions of Approved Document B, then will the fire brigade know what to expect when they arrive to fight a fire? It is now essential that protocols are developed to ensure that operational firefighters know about the design and fire safety peculiarities…."