3 Tips for Fire Protection System Optimization
Meeting the bare minimum required by the Australian fire standards and codes will make sure that you stay in compliance, but that’s all. Going beyond the code requirements in some areas can help you maintain a safer building with fewer headaches.
Consider these ideas for making sure your fire protection system is fully maintained, code-compliant and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.
1) Make more than one copy of your documentation.
Aside from the mandatory inspection, testing and maintenance routine, you need proof that you’ve actually been doing what you’re required to do.
Document every interaction you have with your fire protection system, even the simple visual inspection where you simply look at the unit and confirm that no one has vandalized it recently. The records must be readily available to the authorities.
Responsibility for fire safety compliance falls directly to building owners and facility managers, despite there being no standard national approach. Ultimately systems and equipment such as fire extinguishers, sprinklers and emergency warning systems need to be maintained in accordance with Australian Standard AS1851, Routine Service of Fire Protection Systems, a set of rules, regulations and safety standards that building owners are expected to meet.
A good practice is to keep a physical set in the office they work in and another set in a companion building at a different location. Another trend is keeping a set of records in the cloud. If the building gets damaged by a fire, you still have access to them.
Fire proof safes are another added layer of protection for your documents.
If you use a third-party service for testing and maintenance, review their records periodically to make sure they’re documenting everything they’re supposed to.
2) Install extra detection.
You can go above and beyond with installing extra equipment as long as all of it meets minimum requirements.
People often do that because there’s a certain floor or area where they store important things. If there’s even an inkling of a fire, you might want smoke detectors in some areas that don’t require them.
But you’ve got to be careful with the codes because the codes say if you put in voluntary equipment, it all has to conform to the code. If you want to put smoke detectors in the corner of your warehouse because you keep important stuff over there, you can do that, but you have to install them in the whole space.
3) Upgrade to better equipment.
The voice alarm for a high-rise building can provide extra value if it also incorporates a mass notification system. The voice component is mandatory but a mass notification system could deploy messages in multiple formats so that people who can’t hear the voice alarm can also receive the instructions.
Some systems can capture computer screens or send out automated texts or phone calls to make sure everyone who needs to receive the message is able to get it. That’s going to cost more money, but the building owner might say ‘It’s worth the extra investment for safety and I’m willing to pay for enhanced features.’
If you need to know a little more regarding anything we have discussed in this article, or any aspect of fire protection for you building or facility, please give us a call and we would be happy to help you out.
Yours in Fire Safety