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Why Every Building Owner Should have a Building Fire Safety Plan

Are You a High Fire Risk Business?

Businesses that are classified as ‘high risk’ should have a more comprehensive fire safety plan in place.

The following are examples of high risk businesses: Construction sites, Factories, Schools, Shops and offices, Hospitals and medical centres, Apartments and residential care facilities, Hotels and hostels, Theatres and cinemas.

Whether you are a small business or large business, it is important that you have an Emergency Evacuation Plan and an Operational Plan in place that reflects the type of fire risks faced by your building..

See also: Building Fire Safety

The Emergency Evacuation Plan is your fire action plan which will tell employees what to do in the event of a fire. This procedure can save lives in the event of an emergency, so it is essential that all staff know what their role is in an emergency. It will include details such as:
• Who is responsible for evacuating everyone from the building
• How best to exit the building
• The actions to take if injured on site
• Where to meet afterwards.

The Operational Plan is your prevention and protection plan, which will help reduce the risk of fire occurring in your business premises. Your plan should include a description of:
• The general layout of the premises (including any offices, warehouses or other areas).
• Identify potential hazards and assess any associated risks. A description of all potential hazards in your workplace and how these are controlled or managed. Hazards may include:
• Electrical, gas and oil equipment;
• Waste disposal; • Cleaning products;
• Construction materials;
• Chemicals;
• Laundry;
• Smoking materials;
• Open flames, such as those associated with cooking or heating equipment; and
• Other equipment or activities which present a significant hazard.
• Control measures for each hazard identified in your risk assessment. A control measure could be an action or procedure that will be used to reduce risk from a hazard, including evacuation procedures if necessary.
It could also be a device designed to control a particular risk, such as alarms or sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors..
When making and keeping your business fire safety plan up-to-date, it is important to consult with others who have relevant knowledge or experience of the business operations. This includes employees, contractors and external suppliers (such as building managers or cleaners).

Make sure the plan is easy to read and understand. It must explain exactly how employees are expected to act in case of a fire emergency. Use clear language that can be easily understood by all workers – don’t make them read between the lines! Include pictures and diagrams wherever possible – these can make it easier for people who aren’t familiar with your premises to understand instructions

The checklist

Evacuation Routes
Evacuation routes clear of obstructions.
Final exits clear of obstruction for two metres on outside of doors.
Exit Doors
Door hardware is the correct type (able to be opened by single downward hand motion by person evacuating through the door).
Each door along the fire exit route is unlocked and unobstructed (no deadbolts, etc.).
Doors locked to keep children secure (e.g. special needs unit/child care centre) can be unlocked in an emergency.
Fire/smoke Doors
All fire/smoke doors are unobstructed and undamaged.
Current maintenance records for fire/smoke doors can be produced if requested.
Evacuation signs/diagrams
Evacuation signs/diagrams securely fastened to the wall surface.
Evacuation signs/diagrams visible and unobstructed.
Evacuation signs/diagrams correctly orientated for the building/site.
Evacuation signs/diagrams contain the information required by regulation.
Exit Signs /Emergency Lighting
All emergency signs/emergency lighting is undamaged.
Current maintenance records for illuminated exit signs and emergency lighting can be produced if requested.
Fire Appliances (extinguishers/hose reels/fire blankets
All fire extinguishers correctly maintained and stamped.
All fire hose reels correctly maintained and stamped.
All fire blankets correctly maintained and stamped.
All fire appliances are visible, unobstructed and affixed to wall.
Current maintenance records for all appliances can be produced upon request.
Fire Detection and Alarm systems
Fire alarm panel is operating with no unexplained isolations or faults indicated.
(If fire panel is not connected to local fire service)- Manual call point alarms signed ‘ring 000’.
Current maintenance records for alarm panel and smoke alarms can be produced.
Rubbish is removed or stored at least eight metres from building/s after hours.
Flammables are secured when not in use.
Procedure is in place to report and rectify electrical faults.
Gas bottles correctly stored and secured.
Fire and Evacuation Plans (FEP)
There is a written fire and evacuation plan for each building.
There is a procedure in each FEP to evacuate persons with special needs.
There is a procedure available to complete a personal emergency evacuation plan (PEEP) for any disabled person requesting one.(If site is used after hours)- the FEP has procedures to cover use of building in hours of darkness/weekends.
Written procedure in FEP for doors locked in special needs areas/child care centres.
All fire and evacuation plans are current and reviewed annually.
Copies of the evacuation signs/diagrams for the building are attached to the plans.
A copy of the FEP is kept in the building and can be produced if requested.
Fire and Evacuation Instruction
General evacuation instruction given to all staff as per fire regulations.
First response evacuation instruction has been given to all staff as per fire regulations.
Evacuation coordination instruction been given to all persons on site responsible for carrying out the evacuation plan as per fire regulations.
Procedure for unlocking security doors in special needs/child care centres given to relevant staff/contractors at induction and every 12 months.
Record/s containing names of persons who received instruction can be produced.
Evacuation practice
Fire drills have been conducted in accordance with DoE policy.
Evacuation practice records are kept on site and available on request.
The designated assembly area is at least 80 metres from nearest building.
If required, evacuees can safely exit from the assembly area to another safe place.
Persons with disabilities can safely use exit pathways and access the assembly area.
Fire Hydrants
Fire hydrants and hydrant boosters/pumpsets not obstructed.
Current maintenance records for fire hydrants/pumpsets can be produced.
A current annual occupiers statement is kept on site.
All on-site fire records are kept in a way that is reasonably safe from the effects of fire?
(If building is available for after hour use or hire)- Written procedure is in place to notify persons using building of fire evacuation procedures prior to use.

In Conclusion

Preparation is the key to fire safety and your plan has to be as specific as you can and cover all eventualities. You will need to consider all exposures (buildings, contents, stock etc.) and everything in between.
Get started with a survey of your premises, document each step of your analysis, conduct exercises with staff, train managers on roles and responsibilities and update regularly.

If you would like to know more about your obligations and compliance, we are alway ready to help.. Contact our team at Complete Pumps and Fire today!!

Dedicated To Your Fire Safety


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