home-fire-plan

The Importance of Regularly Maintaining Fire Safety Equipment

The first few moments in a fire emergency – when alert systems and suppression equipment are triggered – can be the difference between a safe evacuation and tragedy.

Fire safety equipment is durable by design, but not invincible. Just like you review fire safety procedures in the workplace, service mission-critical equipment, or upgrade software, regular fire safety equipment maintenance is an ongoing responsibility.

Why is regular maintenance necessary?

Limited life

Almost all fire suppression and alert equipment, from extinguishers to sprinklers and FIPs, has components that must be checked and periodically replaced or serviced.

Reliability

Without maintenance, potentially life-saving equipment can fall into disrepair or fail at a crucial moment.

Compliance

Australian Standards (which we’ll cover below) set out legal requirements for fire safety equipment maintenance and fire safety procedure reviews.

Duty of care

Managers, landlords and building managers have a duty of careover employees and visitors. But fire safety is also a shared responsibility. Itimpacts everyone who sets foot on the premises.

Tips for equipment maintenance and fire safety procedures in the workplace

Fire suppression equipment needs to be thoroughly inspected every 6 months to be compliant with Australian Standards AS1851 and AS2444.

Fire extinguishers

Responsibility often falls to fire wardens to visually inspect fire extinguishers between professional inspections:

  • Check for obstructions
  • Note and report physical damage or tampering
  • Check the latest test date stamped on the maintenance tag
  • Make sure the holding bracket is secure

But not all fire extinguishers are the same.That’s why a fire safety specialist should inspect extinguishers every 6 months.

  • Weigh extinguishers or check pressure gauge
  • Invert powder extinguishers to check for solidification
  • Ensure signage is correct and visible
  • Check extinguisher is<5 years old
  • Refill or repressurise extinguisher

Fire blankets

Usually found in food preparation areas, fire blankets are used to suppress fires caused by:

  • Flammable liquids (Class B)
  • Oil or cooking fat (Class F)
  • Carbonaceous sources (Class A)

The same Australian Standards for fire extinguishers apply to fire blankets. Between professional inspections, fire wardens and staff can keep an eye out for damage or aging as part of routine fire safety procedures in the workplace:

  • Pull tabs are undamaged
  • Blanket is attached in the right location
  • Case is in good condition
  • No fading or wear to crucial information

Smoke detectors

Most smoke detectors are hard-wired, at least in any premises built or bought since 1997. However, even hard-wired smoke alarms use batteries as a back-up in case of power failure.

These batteries need replacing every year. At the same time as we change the batteries, Fire Safe ANZ can test the integrity of every smoke detector across your premises – and there are likely a lot of them.

Sprinklers

Did you know there are 4 types of fire sprinkler systems? Depending on your premises you might have a wet pipe, dry pipe, deluge or pre-action system.

Each is susceptible to unique faults, although there are some faults common to all fire sprinkler systems:

  • Corrosion
  • Sprinkler head or pipe damage
  • Poor maintenance
  • Missing escutcheon plate
  • Leaks

Fire Indicator Panels (FIPs)

FIPs perform several important roles:

  • Detecting smoke or flame
  • Producing audio and visual alarms
  • Alerting emergency services
  • Shutting down services like air conditioning

Combined with an Emergency Warning and Intercommunication System (EWIS), FIPs facilitate a safe and controlled evacuation. Fire Safe ANZ does more than install and maintain FIPsto the required standards (AS1670 and AS1851.6,1851.7 and 1851.8, if you were wondering).

Our team also trains staff on workplace fire safety procedures to ensure they are comfortable and confident using the EWIS, plus we design and install FIPs to suit site-specific requirements.

Schedule fire safety equipment servicing before it’s too late

Fire safety equipment is not set-and-forget. While fire safety is everyone’s purview, there are specialist services only a fire safety specialist is licenced and trained to undertake.

Contact Fire Safe ANZ to discuss fire safety equipment maintenance, fire safety procedures in the workplace, Annual Fire Safety Statements or anything else our experienced team can do to keep your workforcesafe.