Understanding the basics of fire safety: six tips for building managers

Tyco Fire_Safety-000126The effects of fire can be devastating. In addition to posing a serious risk to the safety and welfare of occupants, fire can cause expensive damage to property and equipment and may result in lengthy and expensive downtime while repairs and rebuilding take place.

Every building manager should be well-versed in the basics of fire safety. The following advice outlines six tips to help building managers protect against fire.

Conduct a fire safety audit to highlight potential fire risks around the facility. This will help to determine the fire protection solution required.

  • Consulting a fire protection specialist can help to ensure all hazards are identified and the most appropriate fire protection solution is installed.
  • Hazards will vary depending on the premises but can include electrical and commercial kitchen equipment, missing or broken fire safety equipment, locked exit doors, accumulated rubbish, blocked stairways, open fire doors and inoperative exit light

Keep up to date with regulation and legislation.

  • Develop a fire prevention plan in accordance with Australian Standard AS3745:2010 Planning for Emergencies in Facilities.
  • Keep up to date on all national and state-based fire safety regulations and standards in relation to fire protection equipment, maintenance or training. It’s a good idea to contact a fire protection specialist.
  • Facility and building managers must know their responsibilities when it comes to ethical and legal fire safety requirements. Australian legislation and standards relating to fire safety change regularly so it’s important to stay on top of things.

Install adequate fire protection equipment.

  • Fire protection equipment can include basic fire extinguishers or fire hose reels, passive fire solutions such as fire doors or more advanced fire detection and suppression systems. When deciding on the most suitable fire protection solution, considerations include:
    • materials being handled on the premises
    • size and type of building
    • legislation and standards

Service and maintain.

  • A high level of reliability is essential when it comes to fire protection. Fire protection systems and equipment should always perform to the standard to which they were originally designed and installed.
  • Australian Standard AS1851-2012 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment recommends fire protection systems be regularly inspected.
  • Regular testing can validate the functionality of the systems and equipment and help uncover any faults or issues that may cause malfunction.

Provide appropriate signage for all hazards, fire protection equipment and emergency exits.

  • Emergency exits signs should be visible so that in the event of an evacuation, all building occupants, including less mobile residents, can be directed to escape quickly.
  • Fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment should be clearly marked.

Train.  A confident team that is able to respond appropriately in the event of a fire is an invaluable investment and can substantially reduce the impact of a crisis.

  • All staff should know how to respond to a fire emergency and how to use the fire equipment onsite.
  • Fire safety training can be included in staff induction where new employees are briefed and trained on what to do in the event of a fire.
  • Fire wardens should be fully trained on their responsibilities, fire equipment and the emergency warning and communication systems in their premises.

Fire protection specialists can provide professional advice, helping to take the stress out of maintaining fire protection systems and provide peace of mind for facility managers. If you’d like more information on any of the above, or on how Wormald can help protect your business, contact us on 133 166 or visit our website www.wormald.com.au

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