South Australia adopts fire protection maintenance standard AS 1851-2012

By John Lynch, General Manager, Wormald Business Support Services

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From 1 May 2015, AS1851-2012 Routine Service of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment came into effect as the required standard for fire protection maintenance for all new buildings in South Australia.

The South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure has amended the ‘Minister’s Specification SA 76-Maintenance and Testing of Safety Installations Schedule of Essential Safety Provisions’, dated January 2000, with the newly drafted ‘Minister’s Specification SA 76-Maintenance of Essential Safety Provisions – 2015 edition’.

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Have you got the right fire protection solutions in place?

fire extinguisher_blogBy John Lynch, General Manager, Wormald Business Support Services

A recent report from the NSW Building Professionals Board, developed in consultation with the fire protection industry, identified that the fire protection systems in many buildings are not installed in compliance with relevant standards. It also found that in some buildings, a deliberate decision was made to install a substandard system to reduce costs, creating potential fire traps.

Installing the correct fire protection solution can mean the difference between a small fire and a devastating blaze. Selecting a fire protection solution is a significant decision for a facility manager and cutting corners to save on costs is not recommended.

The first step in selecting a fire protection solution is to consult a fire protection specialist to conduct a fire safety audit of the property.  This will highlight potential fire risks around the premises and help to determine the best fire protection solution for the building. Hazards will vary depending on the nature of the business or property but may include electrical equipment, kitchen or heating appliances, stored combustible assets/materials and even combustible waste material.

A broad range of fire protection equipment is available, from basic fire extinguishers or hose reels, to passive fire solutions or advanced fire detection and suppression systems. When it comes to making a decision, facility managers should consider all relevant legislative requirements and standards, the size of the building, the materials being stored on premises and the purpose of the building. A downtown office building will have vastly different fire protection requirements to a high racking storage facility site, for example.

If it’s been a while since you’ve checked you’re fire protection solutions we suggest you call your fire protection service provider or call Wormald on 133 166 .  Wormald offers inspection and testing services to businesses of all types and sizes and we are constantly advancing the way technicians service client sites.

Using technology to maintain fire solutions on mine sites

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By John Lynch, General Manager, Wormald Business Support Services

A fire in a mine can pose a very serious threat.  If under prepared, the consequences can be devastating.  The hazardous nature and typical remoteness of mining operations means that fire safety equipment and systems must be kept in peak condition to ensure they work effectively in the event of an emergency.

Protecting mine sites requires many different types of fire safety systems and equipment.  The types of environments may include process plants, underground conveyors, static and mobile plants, draglines, workshops, substations, monitored control centre rooms and switch rooms.  Unfortunately keeping everything checked and maintained can be a time intensive task that can easily slip down the priority list.

In accordance with the strict requirements for the servicing of fire suppression systems and equipment as outlined in the Australian Standard AS1851-2012 “Routine Service of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment”, it is vital that maintenance of fire safety systems and equipment on mine sites is kept up to date.  This includes inspection, testing, preventative maintenance , managing defects and repairs and survey activities.

To help mine site managers keep track of their maintenance obligations, mine sites are increasingly turning to new technology.  One such system is Wormald Connect, an online portal that can centralise and manage fire safety maintenance.  This web-based online portal provides 24 hour access to fire service calls and inspections data, and provides instant visibility to any system that may need routine maintenance and servicing.  It allows maintenance schedules to be booked at any time that suits and stores data for easy analysis or the data can be exported for further analysis or record keeping. Inspection summaries can also be filtered to suit a customer’s individual needs.

Entirely web based, the Wormald Connect service is available to all Wormald clients at no extra cost and there is no requirement for you to invest in proprietary software or hardware.

For mining companies, automated maintenance technology can be particularly beneficial to keep track of multiple mine sites that may be located across different states and territories. It can help centralise fire safety maintenance and ensure every site is safe and compliant.  The portal can also provide comprehensive reporting capabilities for each location, with data accessed in real-time around the clock provided there is access to the internet.

Knowing that a mine site’s fire safety equipment and systems are well maintained and regularly tested is reassuring and while automated maintenance technology can be a valuable tool, it should be noted that technology cannot replace the role of human intuition, management and accountability. Mine site safety managers need to remember that it is their responsibility to ensure fire safety requirements are met and that they adhere to regulations and relevant standards applicable in their State.

For further information about using technology to maintain mining operations, call Wormald on 133 166 or visit www.wormald.com.au.

Consider the fire risks in your warehouse

warehouseBy John Lynch, General Manager, Wormald Business Support Services

Consider the fire risks in your warehouse

The losses that can be caused by a warehouse fire are significant.  As the shift to larger warehouse storage facilities and distribution centres continues, the fire protection solutions required are becoming more complex.

A major fire can quickly bring a business to a standstill with loss of goods and equipment, building damage, smoke damage and subsequent downtime just some of the outcomes when fires are not quickly contained. With the right solutions in place, the risk of minor mishaps or serious incidents can be averted or reduced. Designing a fire protection system requires expertise in fire behaviour and fire protection – both of which Wormald has developed through decades of experience.

In a warehouse environment, it is often the simple things that are overlooked.  Forklifts and containers blocking fire exits, missing or neglected fire extinguishers, a lack of exit lights, the accumulation of flammable debris, and overloaded electrical outlets are all common hazards that can be easily rectified.  Continue reading

Class 1 dwellings now required to install interconnecting smoke alarms

Exelgard Smoke Alarm Install

By John Lynch, General Manager, Wormald Business Support Services

Recent changes to the Building Code of Australia (BCA) 2014 now stipulate that new Class 1 buildings that require more than one smoke alarm, need to be fitted with interconnecting smoke alarms.

The new change, which came into effect on 1 May 2014, aims to improve the early response rate to residential fires, so that when one smoke alarm in a building is triggered, all others installed in the same building will also be activated. This change will be particularly beneficial for two storey buildings or homes where bedrooms are separated by living areas.

Currently, the layout of some homes can create a situation where sleeping occupants in different parts of the home may not be alerted to the presence of a fire. Interconnected smoke alarms will ensure that if an alarm is triggered in one part of the home, all other alarms will be activated.

It is hoped that the change will help to save more lives and see fewer people injured in house fires.

The changes are particularly relevant for the following stakeholders involved with newly built homes:

  • Those involved in the installation of smoke alarms, such as electricians and builders
  • Architects, building designers and building surveyors
  • Real estate agents and settlement agents

For further details on the code changes, contact the Australian Building Codes Board on 1300 134 631 or visit their website http://www.abcb.gov.au/.

Keeping up to date with fire safety standards

By Garry Kwok, National Technical Services Manager at Wormald

Wormald maintenanceFire safety is an important responsibility for any building or property manager.  They must ensure that the correct fire protection equipment and systems are in place.  They must also make sure that any fire protection equipment and systems on site are regularly serviced and kept in proper working order.

With frequent changes to legislation, codes and Standards relating to fire safety, it can be hard to keep up with exactly what your responsibilities are.  In the recent Wormald Business Fire Safety Report, we surveyed 445 business owners and managers from across ANZ about their approach to fire safety.  The survey found that over 30 per cent of respondents rely on their fire protection specialist to keep them up to date.  Here’s a synopsis of a few amendments from the past eighteen months: Continue reading

Keeping up to date with AS 3745 – 2010

By Garry Kwok, national manager, Technical Services Group, Wormald Australia

Wormald recently held a customer forum to discuss the changes to the Australian Standard AS 3745-2010 – Planning for emergencies in facilities. Our experts talked through the most significant differences between the AS 3745-2002 and the updated AS 3745-2010.

AS 3745 – Planning for emergencies in facilities provides a standardised methodology for managing emergency procedures and evacuations in the workplace. The Standard was first published in 1990 and was revised in 1995 and 2002. This fourth edition, released in November 2010, has changes affecting areas such as planning, procedures and training. Continue reading