Five questions to ask your fire protection provider

WormaldAs procurement teams in the industrial, construction and mining sectors continue to streamline operations and rationalise suppliers, cost and efficiency are becoming the key drivers behind the purchase of fire protection systems.

While these are important considerations, this should never be at the expense of life safety.
Effective procurement of a fire protection provider involves a careful and consultative approach to establish the best fit for your organisation.

As a shared responsibility, it is essential that all those involved in fire safety (including procurement departments, health and safety teams, and on-site management) invest in quality fire protection solutions.

Appointing a reliable and quality fire protection provider requires careful consideration of a number of factors, including those set out below.  Continue reading

Victoria adopts fire protection maintenance standard AS1851-2012

Wormald_Maintenance 2The Victorian Government has announced that AS1851-2012 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment will now apply to all new and existing buildings in Victoria, despite what is indicated on occupancy permits.

The Standard provides prescribed routine servicing activities for fire protection systems and equipment.

The Building Amendment Regulations 2016 provides a mechanism for building owners to use AS1851-2012 for the maintenance of essential safety measures, in lieu of the version of the Standard listed on the occupancy permit for their building. This change came into effect on 1 May 2016. Continue reading

Tackling hoarding and fire safety risks in multi-residential buildings

iStock_000005063970_LargeHoarding is a complex mental health condition that has been proven to significantly increase the risk and impact of fire. It refers to the excessive accumulation of items that often creates cramped living spaces, with only narrow pathways winding through stacks of clutter.

According to a 2009 study undertaken by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) in Melbourne, fires in hoarding households are indeed fiercer and more expensive to fight than other kinds of residential fires*. In New South Wales, fires in hoarding households represent eight per cent of all fire fatalities since 2000, with one third of these fatalities aged 60 years or over. Continue reading

A warning about the fire risks of clutter

clutterRecent changes made to the Victoria amendment of the National Construction Code are a timely reminder of the fire risks associated with clutter.

The changes required sprinkler systems in proposed multi-storey residential buildings to be extended to protect covered balconies, and address the findings in the Metropolitan Fire Brigade’s Post Incident Analysis of the Lacrosse building fire. Caused by an unextinguished cigarette on the balcony, the Analysis also found that excessive storage of materials on the balcony exacerbated the spread of fire.

While the installation of fire protection systems such as sprinklers helps to reduce the impact of fire, it is important not to rely solely on such measures. Prevention is always the best strategy when it comes to fire protection.

All landlords, tenant and strata managers are reminded that the build-up of clutter can expose the building and its occupants to increased fire risk. A pile up of clutter may provide more fuel for a fire to burn and potentially block passage ways and exits. Continue reading

Introducing Wormald’s new CEO

Andrew Lee (suit)Following its sale from Tyco, Wormald is returning to local management under the leadership of new CEO, Andrew Lee. The following Q&A is an opportunity for you to get to know Andrew as he answers six key questions.

1. What direction do you hope to steer Wormald in as it transitions to new ownership?

I’m particularly excited about the impending changes to the Wormald business that will take shape this year. Under new local management, most of whom are existing key Wormald personnel, Wormald can return to being a dedicated fire business that is focused on delivering the specialised fire expertise it is renowned for. Wormald will also benefit from a less centralised and more flexible business structure, with regional-based decision-making driving the business forward.

We are also excited to continue to work on our technical capability, including investigating new products, systems and services. Continue reading

Understanding the fire dangers of overcrowding

By Tony Jones, Regional Operations Manager, WormaldiStock_000081959521_Full

With a growing preference for the convenience of inner city living, the trend toward higher density living in apartment buildings is expected to strengthen over time. As previously reported in the media, this is giving rise to fresh challenges in managing fire safety.

Overcrowding in apartment buildings is an area of growing concern. According to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald, local councils estimate at least 1,000 buildings were affected in 2014/15, although the number is believed to be higher because of under-reporting.

Overcrowding refers to a situation where the number of occupants living in a dwelling or unit exceeds the building’s design allowance. It often involves the use of make-shift partitions to create additional ‘rooms’.

Overcrowding can pose significant fire risks to occupants and neighbours by: Continue reading

Putting the spotlight on desktop fire safety training

By Tony Jones, Regional Operations Manager with WormaldWormald_Emergency evacuation fire

One of the objectives of a comprehensive fire safety training program is to minimise the number of on-the-spot decisions fire wardens have to make in the event of a fire. Physical drills allow wardens to familiarise themselves with evacuation procedures, helping to reduce the number of new situations they may face during a fire incident. This can help to prevent chaos, contributing to a safer and more efficient evacuation.

Unfortunately, some organisations are turning to desktop fire safety training as a shortcut to physical evacuation training, in a bid to remove the interruption that can be associated with physical drills. Continue reading

Sprinklers required on new building balconies in Victoria

Wormald strata building

New regulations have been made to amend the National Construction Code in Victoria so that all new multi-storey residential buildings, hotels, healthcare buildings and aged care buildings that are required to install sprinklers designed to Australian Standard  2118.1-2006 Automatic fire sprinkler systems – General systems, must extend that sprinkler protection to include all covered balconies, regardless of size.

Continue reading

Maintaining passive fire protection: advice for building managers

By Tony Jones, Regional Operations Manager with Wormald

Wormald_Fire doors LRPassive fire protection (PFP) uses a building’s structure to limit the spread of fire and is integral to protecting people and property.  Although it is mandated by the Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards, PFP can be easily and accidentally compromised by everyday changes within a building.

PFP is not a ‘set and forget’ fire safety strategy; ongoing management of PFP is essential to help maintain the integrity of fire compartments. Continue reading

Overlooking Annual Fire Safety Statements can cost NSW businesses thousands

By Tony Jones, Regional Operations Manager with Wormald

Wormald_ Fire Panel AssessmentFaced with a multitude of health and safety compliance requirements, it can be easy for New South Wales building owners to let an Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) slip down the priority list – an oversight that may cost thousands of dollars*.

Under the New South Wales Planning and Assessment Regulations (2000), building owners are required to submit an accurate AFSS for their premises every year. This must be provided to the local council and fire brigade. Continue reading