Aged care facilities should seek ongoing guidance on fire safety

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By John Lynch, General Manager, Wormald Business Support Services

With frail and often immobile residents to consider, aged care facilities must adhere to higher standards and regulations relating to fire and safety than many other industries. Inadequate or improper fire protection has been shown to expose residents and staff to dangers, leading to injury or in a worst case scenario, loss of life.

It is absolutely essential that aged care facility managers understand their responsibilities when it comes to ethical and legal fire safety requirements. These include being aware of state-based fire safety regulations and national Australian standards. It’s a good idea to contact a fire protection specialist to help develop a comprehensive and site specific fire management & response plan in accordance with Australian Standard AS 4083-2010 “Planning for emergencies – Health care facilities”. In January 2013, all aged care facilities across New South Wales were required to be retrofitted with automatic sprinkler systems and similar requirements exist in Victoria and Queensland.

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Plan to keep aged care facilities fire safe

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

Fire safety - aged care facilitiesWith infirm and often immobile residents, and a wide range of intricate medical equipment on site, fire protection in aged care facilities and nursing homes requires careful planning and technical knowledge.

If you’re responsible for managing an aged care facility, you must be fully aware of the fire risks on site and actively work towards minimising those risks.  It’s advisable that you consult a fire protection specialist to help identify the needs and fire hazards specific to your facility.  While preventing a fire may not always be possible, having inadequate or improper fire protection on site can expose residents and staff to dangers, lead to potential injury or in a worst case scenario, loss of life.

Every aged care facility has individual requirements.  Fire protection solutions can be custom designed to match specific needs and budgets and can include a combination of fire protection products, equipment and systems.  For example, a fire protection solution may involve fire detection and occupant warning systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire doors and portable fire equipment such as fire hose reels, fire blankets and fire extinguishers.

It’s critically important that all fire protection systems and equipment are designed and installed in accordance with the relevant legislation and Standards. Continue reading