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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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