Fire services and their installation, is definitely an area that you should not attempt to figure out on your own.
The regulations as set forth by Australian Standards 1851 and governed by the Standards of Performance & Standards of Maintenance as regulated by the Australian Standards & Building Code of Australia
Unfortunately, not knowing or understanding what you’re responsible for in terms of fire safety in your premises will not serve as an excuse should you neglect to comply accordingly.
You’ve got a business to run and spending time trying to figure out the ins and outs and whether or not you’re in compliance could mean less time running your business.
A good commercial fitout contractor will be able to insure that fire services are installed correctly and comply with all the regulations.
Much of the fire code regulations must be conformed to by your landlord or the building owner where your premises are located. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to be concerned.
You must make sure the building space you’re going to lease for your commercial fitout is in compliance. If for nothing else, than to ensure the safety of yourself, your employees , customers and clients.
Some Of The Basic Fire Safety Code Requirements
Both the building and your premises must be equipped with fire extinguishers. To be compliant that means you must have at least one fire extinguisher every 15 walkable metres. That is for Class A fires. You must also have a fire extinguisher every 20 walkable metres for Class E fires.
The classes mentioned above are associated with a specific fire risk. Class A fires pertain to areas of your commercial space that have a risk of paper, textiles or wood fires. While Class E fires are for buildings , rooms or areas where the risk of electrical fires are high. A fire services professional can help you with understanding the differences in classes and the requirements applicable for your fitout.
You will be required to maintain fire safety equipment at regular intervals as established by the Australian Standards. This practice is to increase the level of safety from fire hazards in your premises and the building itself. Regular maintenance can also be a major factor in decreasing the chances of fire damage and injury.
The following information is only an illustration of what you are likely to be required regarding Fire Extinguishers Maintenance. The actual maintenance schedule will need to be determined by the fire safety specialists.
Level 1 – 6 times per month you may be required to visually inspect the fire extinguishers
Level 2 – Once per year, the extinguishers will need to be recharged
Level 3 – Three times per year, the fire extinguishers located both indoors and out that are exposed to extreme environmental or weather conditions, will need to be thoroughly inspected and tested.
Level 4 – The fire extinguisher vessels must also be regularly inspected on all fire extinguishers.
Level 5 – Should any fire extinguisher be discharged, you must take steps to have it recharged as soon as possible.
In addition to maintaining a maintenance schedule you and your employees should create a fire safety plan.
Here are few areas you should be well versed in to stay safe in the event of a fire:
- Make sure you and all employees know where fire extinguishers are located throughout your premises and within the building itself.
- All occupants should be keenly aware of where fire exits are located.
- Make sure all areas are well ventilated.
- Hold regular fire drills to ensure everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire.
We’ve touched on just the basics of fire services but there’s a lot more you must be aware of in order to stay safe and to avoid hefty fines for non compliance of regulations.