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Fire Alarms In The Workplace: What Business Owners Need To Know‍

Oct 27, 2022

Fire safety is an essential component of maintaining workplace health and safety regulations across all industries. Regardless of whether your company primarily works out of a warehouse, office space, or conducts business operations across multiple locations, business owners have an obligation to invest in fire alarms in the workplace, both in order to support the safety of their workforce, and to make sure that their company stays compliant with Australian workplace health and safety standards, and is not at risk of receiving penalisations, sanctions, or other legal repercussions. 

Fire Alarms in the Workplace: A Guide

In order to maintain compliance with WHS standards and any industry safety regulations, business owners are required to schedule both fire alarm installations alongside investing in additional fire systems and equipment for their workplaces. Today, our fire safety specialists here at Alexon will be providing in-depth information surrounding the installation and maintenance of fire alarms and other basic fire equipment in Australian workplaces. Read on to learn more about your obligations as a business owner when it comes to fire safety in the workplace. 

Today we will cover the following when it comes to fire alarms in the workplace:

  1. Installation checklist
  2. Maintaining your smoke alarms
  3. Other fire equipment required
fire alarms in the worklace

1. Installation checklist for fire alarms

Although setting up fire alarms in your workplace must be conducted by installation specialists, it’s still valuable for business owners to develop a good understanding of what they can expect from the installation process. With this in mind, our fire safety specialists have provided a basic sample installation checklist used to conduct the installation of hardwired fire alarms in the workplace:

  • Access building switchboard in order to turn off electricity
  • Access ceiling space in outlined installation locations
  • Use joints and beams for support when accessing ceiling space
  • Conduct isolation, lockout, and tag out procedures
  • Conduct risk assessment prior to alarm installation
  • Assess building insulation to be certain that no conductive materials are present, or that conductive materials are not energised
  • Assess building materials in ceiling space for signs of asbestos
  • Install bracket for fire alarm
  • Install fire alarm
  • Turn on electricity at the switchboard
  • Test fire alarm
  • Issue certificate for installation completion and testing

If your fire alarm will be connected up to additional fire safety equipment like a sprinkler  system, then ensure that your fire safety specialists test connections between these fixtures, alongside providing maintenance timelines for both systems. Workplace smoke and fire alarms should also never be covered or disconnected. If you suspect that any of your fire alarms are experiencing faults due to excessive or unprompted beeping, consult with your fire safety electricians and organise for the alarms to be assessed and serviced or replaced, if need be.

2. Maintaining your smoke alarms after workplace installation

Your smoke alarms should be tested annually in accordance with Australian standards for fire safety to ensure that they stay in good working order and are prepared in the event of fire in the workplace. Like your initial fire alarm installation, fire alarm testing should be carried out by fire safety specialists and experienced fire alarm and smoke detector inspectors. Your fire safety specialists should test your smoke alarms and other workplace fire equipment in accordance with the Australian Standards AS 1851-2012.

Heat or smoke-activated sprinkler systems should also be maintained and serviced alongside standalone smoke or fire alarms. Business owners should ensure that the fire safety specialists or electricians they enlist to conduct the maintenance of these dynamic approach systems have experience working with and servicing these particular system configurations. 

Failure to maintain your workplace fire alarms and other fire systems may result in penalties and other legal repercussions due to breaches of workplace health and safety regulations alongside potential building code violations for commercial building owners and managers. 

fire alarms in the workplace

3. Other fire equipment required for WHS

Fire alarms or smoke detectors are truly just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to investing in fire safety. As per WorkSafe Victoria’s Compliance Code for workplace amenities and the work environment, all Victorian workplaces are expected to be fitted with the following fire safety resources and equipment:

  • Fully functional and portable fire extinguishers and/or fire blankets
  • Smoke hazard management (i.e. ventilation or air filtration systems)
  • Emergency and exit lighting
  • Fire warning signs and signs highlighting the locations of fire equipment 
  • Signage outlining workplace emergency procedures

If you’re working in an industrial environment, you may also benefit from installing a fire hose reel and other fire safety infrastructure to be used by firefighters if needed. Emergency contact information for local fire authorities, your local hospital, and other relevant services should also be displayed throughout your workplace, including in employee break areas, and in all other areas where emergency procedures have been displayed. 

Our Fire Safety Summary

Our fire safety specialists at Alexon have been providing exceptional installation, maintenance, and system maintenance reporting services across a range of both commercial and industrial settings. With over 20 years of diverse experience, our fire safety specialists are well-versed in the installation, servicing, and maintenance of an array of fire safety systems and equipment. 

When you call on Alexon, you can be rest assured that our fire safety specialists are equipped with all the necessary tools, equipment, and industry information to ensure that your workplace fire alarms, extinguishers, fire blankets, and all other fire safety equipment and installed systems are kept in good working order and are ready for anything, whether it be your workplace’s next fire drill or a genuine fire emergency. 

Want to book a fire alarm installation or system maintenance appointment for your workplace? Contact the team at Alexon in order to book your installation and servicing request now. 

alexon for your workplace

See Also: Fire Safety Plans For Inner City Buildings

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Alexon news

How To Develop A Fire Safety Plan For Inner City Buildings

Sep 8, 2022

With Australia’s urban centres being more densely populated than ever before, developing fire safety procedures has become a matter of utmost importance for all responsible building managers, developers, and residents alike. Having a succinct and effective fire safety plan in place alongside installing fire alarms as well as other fire safety measures, can help to not only mitigate risks of fires occurring in your building, but also ensure that your building occupants maintain the strongest chances possible for evacuating in the unlikely event that a fire does occur. 

How To Develop A Fire Safety Plan For Inner City Buildings

Today, we’ll be sharing some fire safety tips specifically for residential and commercial inner city buildings. Our own fire safety specialists here at Alexon will also be providing some information surrounding fire safety protocol and regulations so that both inner city building residents and building managers can be fully informed on fire safety standards and how their building can maintain compliance. 

The steps to develop a fire safety plan are:

  1. Ensure the building's ESMs are up-to-date on maintenance
  2. Establish a clear building evacuation plan
  3. Run fire drills with all building occupants
  4. Place fire safety information on all floors

1. Ensure the building’s ESMs are up-to-date on maintenance

First and foremost, any modern fire safety plan should naturally include fire equipment testing and routine equipment maintenance. Maintaining all of your active fire protection (or AFP) equipment is foundational to developing a good fire safety plan for your building, simply because virtually all instances where your building could experience a fire will call for the utilisation of fire equipment. 

Fire equipment, like fire extinguishers and smoke alarms, is also one of the most important ESMs (or ‘Essential Safety Measures’) that your building will require. Other ESMs will actually work in conjunction with your building’s fire equipment. For example, ESMs all stipulate that alongside all buildings being fitted with fire exits on every floor, all fire doors must also be kept closed, unlocked, and clear of obstructions at all times. 

If you’re a tenant in a residential building or even a business owner in a commercial building and have reason to believe that your building is fitted with faulty fire equipment or a failure to maintain other ESMs, then you’re encouraged to alert the issue to your building managers. If your building managers fail to rectify the situation in a timely manner, they may be in breach of urban fire safety laws and could be issued a fine from your local council or the Fire Authority. 

2. Establish a clear building evacuation plan

Although fire safety procedures are vital to healthy and secure living in all inner city spaces, these plans become increasingly essential in high-rise buildings or buildings with multiple storeys. The reason for this is simply because fire or emergency evacuation processes can naturally become more complicated when elevators, escalators, or staircases are involved. This is precisely why all inner city buildings are expected to develop and maintain an emergency evacuation plan that can be used in the event of fires or other emergencies like natural disasters. 

Your building’s evacuation plan should also be printed and posted in full detail on every floor of your building so that all occupants can familiarise themselves with the fire safety procedures they are expected to follow. Copies of your evacuation processes should also be clearly displayed with large graphics and in simple English by fire exits and in foyers for any guests who may be visiting the building as well as existing building occupants. 

3. Run fire drills with all building occupants

Having a building evacuation plan in place is one thing, but making sure that all your building’s occupants know just how to act in the event of a fire, is a whole other task on its own. That’s why it’s a requirement that all buildings or facilities conduct fire drills at least once annually. If your building houses a business that possesses a higher fire risk (such as a workshop, factory, or even a hospitality business), then your industry standards may require multiple fire drills to be conducted annually. 

On top of being a highly essential component in your building’s fire safety plan, running fire drills is also a superb way of staying on top of your ESMs and their maintenance requirements. If you experience faults with sirens or alarms during your fire drill, then you can take note of these during your drill with minimal fuss. These faults can then be easily rectified by fire safety electricians proactively rather than retroactively. 

4. Place fire safety information on all floors

Alongside knowing how to act in the event of a fire, your building’s occupants should also maintain strong personal fire safety themselves by following fire safety tips or best practices for lighting fires in domestic or commercial settings. For instance, if your building is fitted with air conditioning units or ducted heating, then providing occupants with written information on how to help mitigate fire risks when using these fixtures, can also help support your building’s fire safety strategies. 

Conscientious building managers could take measures to provide new residents or building occupants with fire safety tips and other documents that can help maintain their building’s impeccable fire safety measures. And this information doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of printed pamphlets. Even digital safety resources for new residents or building occupants could help maintain responsible fire safety throughout your building. 

If you can ensure that both your building evacuation plan and recommended fire safety tips are provided to new residents or occupants, then you’ll know that you’ve done your due diligence as a building manager.

The Final Word

With all the fire safety tips and fire risk mitigation strategies we’ve shared and outlined above, chances are you’ll be leaving this little guide with a lot to think about. But let us leave you with just one final, ultimate fire safety tip: the best fire safety plans are ones that take a dynamic approach to fire preparedness. For building managers, it’s not enough to fit your building out with fire safety equipment. And for residents, it’s not enough to participate in fire safety drills or evacuation processes without actively practicing fire safety yourself in your own personal and professional lives. 

At the end of the day, fire safety is a collective responsibility. Treating it as such and holding one another accountable for upholding fire safety standards in your building, will help keep you all firmly at low risks of experiencing damaging fires in your inner city building. 

See Also: Fire Alarms in the Workplace

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