Making Your Premises Fire Safe
Whether you are a building manager, project manager, builder or architect, one of the biggest responsibilities you will have is to make sure that your buildings are completely fire safe.
1. Fire Doors & Smoke Doors
Fire doors and smoke doors are an essential part of keeping your premises fire safe. During the design and building phase, you should check that the fire doors and smoke doors you choose can fulfil the required fire resistant rating needed for your building. You will also need to make sure that the door leaf, frame, hardware and closing devices are all correctly installed in order to maintain the door’s fire rating. FSE Special Purpose Doors specialise in hinged fire doors, double action fire doors and sliding fire doors.
2. Fire Stairwells & Exits
In addition to fire and smoke doors, stairwells, exits and other fire-isolated compartments are also critical in ensuring your building and its occupants will be safe if a fire occurs. You will need to make sure that all stairwells and compartments comply with Building Code regulations (AS1905) and that they provide a safe and easily accessible way for occupants to escape from a fire.
3. Alarm Systems & Emergency Systems
Alarm systems are vital in detecting and warning building occupants that a fire is occurring.
- Have the appropriate fire alarms and smoke alarms been incorporated into the design and construction of the building?
- Have emergency lights, power supplies, venting systems, water, foam and/or gas systems been included in the building’s fire safety plans?
4. Emergency Communication Systems
Communication systems or public address systems can also be effective in instructing building occupants about what to do if a fire or emergency occurs. For instance, it may be necessary to tell occupants to await further instructions or to advise them to evacuate the building using the nearest fire exit.
This is significant in saving lives and preventing injury and is particularly essential in commercial, industrial or high rise buildings. Has an emergency communication system been incorporated into your building’s construction and design to make it fire safe?
Having the right door signage displayed throughout your building is crucial in helping occupants identify various exit points and paths during a fire. The correct signage and tagging should be included on all fire and smoke doors.
Signs must identify the door as a fire or smoke door and (in NSW) it must also include information relating to fire exit offences. Emergency lights next to each exit or stairwell are also mandatory and ensure that occupants can locate these doors even if fire and smoke is evident.
6. Fire Safety Equipment
A large part of your fire safety building plan should be to check that the right fire safety equipment is available and accessible at all times. This can include equipment such as fire extinguishers and cabinets, fire hoses and hose reels and even fire blankets. Note that fire extinguishers must suit the type of fire that is most at risk of erupting.
For instance, if one area of the building is to contain electrical equipment, a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher will be required. Keep in mind that fire extinguishers and hoses must also comply with a variety of state and national regulations; for example, in NSW, all fire extinguishers must be positioned at least 100mm off the ground and must have a surrounding clearance of at least 1000mm.
Once Your Building is Complete…
Once construction is finished, fire safety should become the responsibility of the building owner, manager and/or OHS officer:
- Schedule regular fire inspections and keep an eye out for any inadequacies relating to fire doors, compartments, alarms, equipment or any other fire safety component
- Keep staff or building occupants informed about fire safety procedures (e.g. through correct signage, training) and if necessary, hold regular evacuation drills
- Check that you have obtained the appropriate fire insurance for your building and that this insurance remains valid at all times
- Critical to effective long term maintenance and occupant safety is the need for building owners and managers to retain all documentation and certificates issued at the time of practical completion by the builder – these must be kept is a safe place and updated as maintenance is completed
FSE Special Purpose Doors is committed to helping you design and construct fire safe buildings. For more information about our fire doors, smoke doors and other special purpose doors, contact our expert team at [email protected] or 1300 4 DOORS.