What is a fire safety system?
A fire safety system is a set of components that work together to detect, contain, and extinguish fires. It typically includes smoke detectors, sprinklers, fire alarms, fire doors, fire extinguishers, and other components. The system is designed to protect people, property, and the environment from the effects of fire. Businesses must ensure that their fire safety systems are well maintained and ready to assist in an emergency. A fire may have devastating effects on a business and has the potential to cause serious harm to occupants and the building. The safety of the building occupants, staff members, and customers is the highest priority. This includes maintenance of the fire safety services.
Fire safety system can be one or any combination of the methods used in a building to,
- warn people of an emergency; or
- provide for safe evacuation; or
- restrict the spread of fire; or
- extinguish a fire.
Each of these fire safety systems have been developed over many years of testing. They are proven to assist in the quick and safety evacuation of persons in a building in the event of a fire or other emergency materials emergency. There may be some who remember the fire buckets we used on building fires. these metal buckets were filled with sand and thrown on a fire to assist in controlling it. Previous methods included glass containers filled with water thrown onto the fire to put it out.
All the fire safety systems work with a simple process of removing at least one of the points of the Fire Triangle. This is usually expressed as a triangle defining what a fire (not all) needs to survive and grow being,
- ignition source,
- air (oxygen).
Evolution of the Fire Safety Systems
The fire equipment in buildings is evolving containing more specific chemicals for specific fires. The Water extinguisher is becoming less common being replaced with the ABE Dry Powder. These ABE extinguishers generally contain ‘Monobasic Ammonium Phosphate’ and work best on the B Class fires but have the desired effect on the carbonaceous and electrical created fires.
High risk areas such as commercial kitchens are being fitted with new multi-point sprinkler systems over the high fat areas at ready to extinguish. Some previous systems were water supplied and offered a cooling of the surrounding area and not to spray directly into the burning fat fire. this would only exacerbate the fire and may cause the fire to spread.
Some of these fire safety systems include the ANSUL product to initially knock the fire down reacting with the surface of the burning cooking oil to form a sealing blanket of foam. Effectively removing the air from the fire triangle. This chemical is followed by a water discharge from the same nozzles that will rapidly reduce the time to cool the cooking oil below its auto-ignition temperature and removing the possible ignition source.
Each State and Territory have departments for these trained persons who may be for either buildings or the rural fires, or both. Some companies provide workers with the basic training to ensure that they are aware of the extinguishers, understand how and when to leave the building to be safe. Other companies provide a more intense training either due to the inaccessibility and or time for the response of these trained fire personnel.
Maintenance System for Fire Safety Systems
These systems must be part of a scheduled maintenance program as part of the Australian Standards to ensure that they remain effective and replaced (upgraded) as needed to ensure the highest level of protection is afforded these people. This task is provided by appropriately qualified persons certified to perform the maintenance tasks.
It is the safety of the people in these buildings that is most important. Though the fire safety system may perform an active function in attempting to control the fire (sprinklers), the primary purpose to control until properly trained persons attend to attack the causes of the emergency.
Owners Duties for Fire Safety
This is not where this responsibility stops, business must also ensure that they establish a plan of action and training people working in the building how to evacuate safely. Ensuring that the evacuation paths remain clear and suitable for the number of the persons working in the building. Businesses can also establish a team of trained persons (Evacuation Coordination Team) to assist in getting people out of the building. Some states require a key person (Fire Safety Adviser) to receive specific training. The Fire Safety Adviser is a person who is trained in the legislation and other key aspects of fire safety systems.
Owners of buildings must ensure that there are processes in place to monitor the safety systems for fire prevention to remain effective.
F-500 Fire Extinguisher as part of the fire safety systems that is suitable for Lithium-ion battery fires.
There is a newly approved LI-ion Fire Solution extinguisher, Certified to Australian Standards and Available in both 4L & 9L portable and wheeled type fire extinguishers. This LI-ion Fire Solution is Fluorine Free, rated for Class A, B and F fires, suitable for use on Lithium-Ion batteries fires, and performs extraordinarily well on combustible materials that output extremely high temperatures. Busienesses with Lithium-Ion batteries should consider this type of extinguisher if they intend to attempt to controll a Lithium-Ion battery in a thermal runnaway.
Fire safety is everyone’s duty. From not storing copious amounts of flammable/combustible material in a workplace, to not blocking or otherwise interfering with a fire evacuation path or the fire stopping hardware on the path. The duty requires persons to take reasonable care to make sure that anyone who might reasonably be expected to be affected by any defect in the property is reasonably safe from injury or damage to their own property. To mitigate the risk of a claim businesses should carry out regular inspections and planned maintenance of their fire safety systems and should always investigate information from workers about possible defects.
For more information on this maintenance of Fire Safety Systems training please contact us or peruse the other training courses on offer. If you are interested in our WHS Consultancy services, you can contact David, Andrew or Mark to discuss your Health and Safety Issues.
We have qualified and certified Safety Consultants that can assist you in your business and offer a range of WHS consulting services along with general and specific health and safety training courses.
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