Wormald urges national businesses to standardise maintenance of fire protection

WormaldFollowing the Victorian Government’s adoption of Australian Standard AS 1851-2012 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment for all new and existing buildings, Wormald is urging national businesses to streamline the maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment across all their operations.

Historically, the routine servicing of fire protection systems and equipment has been regulated differently in each state and territory.

For those businesses operating across multiple states or indeed nationwide, this has meant taking an inefficient, siloed approach to fire safety.

As Victoria joins all other Australian states and territories in adopting AS1851, a new national benchmark for best-practice has been set. Building owners and occupiers are encouraged to adopt this as standard operating procedure. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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.

Protecting NZ’s marae cultural sites from fire

Marae image_lower resBy Dave Hipkins, National Technical and Product Manager, Wormald New Zealand

Maraes are sacred historical places that often contain carvings and artefacts that would be irreplaceable in the event of a fire.  As most maraes are constructed from timber and many are located in remote locations, they are particularly vulnerable to fire.

Protecting maraes from the risk of fire requires both careful planning and technical knowledge.  Consideration must also be given to a marae’s heritage buildings which in some cases can be over 100 years old.  Inadequate or improper fire protection can also expose the marae’s community to danger, lead to potential injury or, in a worst case scenario, loss of life. Continue reading

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

Queensland adopts AS 1851-2012 as their mandatory fire systems and equipment maintenance standard

By Garry Kwok, National Manager, Technical Services Group

Water testing

Amendments have been made to the Queensland Development Code (QDC) Mandatory Part 6.1 (MP6.1) Commissioning and maintenance of fire safety installations, in a move that formally adopts the 2012 edition of Australian Standard AS 1851 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment. The changes officially came into effect from 1 July, 2014 however there will be a six month transition period[1].

The amendment is welcome news for Queensland’s building owners and facility managers and fire protection service providers who are set to benefit from the changes which are designed to deliver better fire safety outcomes for the community. Continue reading

Small business owners urged to conduct fire safety audit

SME Safety Security AuditFire can have disastrous consequences for business with many owners spending years trying to recover which is why it is important for business owners to carry out a fire safety audit of their premises to help protect against the risk of fire.

Wormald recommends that properties are checked annually to ensure that fire safety equipment is maintained and emergency processes in place to help reduce the risk of fire and its physical, emotional and financial impact.”

To conduct a thorough fire safety audit, Wormald Security recommends taking a systematic approach.  Business owners are advised to:

Locate a fire safety checklist from a trustworthy source such as their State police department or local fire service. Wormald also hosts security and fire safety factsheets online.

  1.  Conduct a risk assessment and survey the property for potential hazards. Move through the property from front to back, starting at the entrance, reviewing each space or room. It’s a good idea to contact a fire protection specialist to assist with the property audit.
    • Assess all entries to the premises, including through parking areas and emergency exits, and check they are secure.
    • Common fire hazards include electrical equipment, machinery, office equipment, paper refuse such as boxes and recycling bins, and kitchen appliances. Research conducted by Wormald found that the most common causes of workplace fires are electrical hazards (29 per cent) and machinery (27 per cent).
    • Check electrical equipment is working correctly and organise a professional to repair any faulty or exposed wires
  2. Ensure appropriate measures are taken to reduce the threat of fire:
    • Ensure main entry and exit points are well-lit and free of clutter for easy evacuation
    • Ensure all fire protection equipment is positioned correctly and maintained according to Australian Standards
    • Keep sprinkler heads free from obstructions such a boxes or cartons placed to close the sprinkler heads
    • Equip kitchen areas with a fire blanket and the correct fire extinguisher
  3.  Ensure every member of staff knows what to do in the event of emergency. For example, all occupants should know where fire protection equipment is located and how to use it.

To ensure the correct fire safety and security measures are taken, it’s advisable to contact a security or fire safety specialist. To ensure nothing is overlooked, property audits should be carried out during the day as well as at night. Business owners are also encouraged to consult a specialist to assist with an audit and help ensure the business is compliant with standards and legislation

To access the Wormald small business fire safety checklist click here.

A facility manager’s guide to Australian Standard AS1851

By Garry Kwok, National Manager, Technical Services Group

Wormald maintenance

Standards are published documents setting out specifications and procedures designed to ensure products, services and systems are safe, reliable and consistently perform the way they were in intended to. They establish a common language which defines quality and safety criteria.(Standards Australia)

From this definition, it’s easy to see why standards are an important consideration for building managers. Fire protection standards, in particular, exist to help ensure a building’s fire safety equipment and systems are kept in a functional state that allows them to operate at all times.  Simply put, what is installed must work.

Keeping up to date with the specifications and procedures set out in fire protection standards and legislation should be top of mind for anyone responsible for building safety.

Continue reading

Wormald boosts customer service with new online portal

By John Lynch, General Manager Business services, Wormald

WormaldConnect_LaptopWormald has announced the launch of ‘Wormald Connect’, a web-based portal designed to help customers keep on top of vital fire protection servicing and maintenance.

Wormald Connect gives customers 24 hour access to fire service calls and inspections data. It allows customers to review servicing schedules and data online at any time. Data can be stored on the portal for analysis or easily exported via an internet connection to enable further analysis or record keeping. If required, inspection summaries can be filtered to suit a customer’s individual needs.

Continue reading

Maintain to contain – the importance of fire safety inspection and testing

By Dave Hipkins, National Technical and Product Manager, Wormald New Zealand

Wormald fire protectionWhen it comes to building safety management, protecting lives is top priority.  Property managers are responsible for ensuring adequate life safety equipment is in place and that it is kept in proper working order, ready to perform if needed.

While most building managers understand their obligation to install fire protection equipment and systems on their premises, our technicians across Australia and New Zealand find that service and maintenance requirements are often overlooked or not fully understood.

If a fire occurs, working fire protection systems can mean the difference between a minor fire and a devastating blaze.  If you’re a building owner or manager, you must ensure each fire safety installation in your building is serviced and maintained at regular intervals by an appropriately qualified person. Continue reading