We’ve compiled them for you to check how fire safety ready you are. Of course, this is not professional or legal advice – it is simply intended as a reminder to make sure your accommodation complies with all fire safety recommendations. There’s no better way to do that than by checking with a certified professional, so Accom Properties urges its readers to get an up-to-date risk assessment.
Check out this month's issue of Resort News for a special report on unsafe building materials.
Who you gonna call?
As part of a risk assessment, legal compliance and fire safety audits should be undertaken. Of course, you won’t be able to do these yourself. You’ll need to contact a qualified professional. There are also lots of different by-laws in place to guide strata owners and managers on the topic of maintenance so to navigate these, it is best to talk to a specialist firm.
If you aren’t sure who to call, ask your peers, check the preferred supplier list here in Resort News (as those come peer-recommended) and do some basic background research. Are they nationally accredited? Have they assessed properties similar to yours before?
There are some products you should have on-site in case of emergency. Of course, fire extinguishers are a given but they must meet Australian standards and require some maintenance. Extinguishers come with different types of contents, ranging from water and foam, to wet chemicals and powder. Things like monitoring the correct pressure and shaking the containers to prevent powder from settling may need to be undertaken every so often – make sure you read the instructions and discuss a maintenance plan with your supplier. Depending on your property’s type, you may require things like fire blankets, hoses and/or reels. It depends mostly on the floor plan and overall structure of the building, which is why organising an official building inspection and obtaining a thorough risk assessment is so important.
To help contain fire and prevent the spread of harmful flames, hot gases and smoke, corridors should be fitted with fire doors. Exhaust fans should also be installed in emergency stairwells to prevent the build-up of smoke in these essential escape routes.
A range of fire detection systems are available and provide early detection of even slow smouldering fires and can be configured to detect carbon monoxide (CO), smoke and heat. Such fire detection systems can also be fully interconnected with fire suppression systems such as sprinklers, as well as emergency evacuation systems.
Accommodation complexes may need to install comprehensive fire suppression systems to deal with larger fires should they occur. With the kitchen presenting one of the biggest fire hazards, hotel management should consider fire protection systems designed specifically for use with, for example, high temperature cooking oils and slow-cooking appliances. Having well maintained functional fire equipment on hand and more structural protections like sprinklers, when and where you need it can mean the difference between a minor fire and a devastating full-scale blaze.
Fire safety is one of those things we all hope we will never need to know, but absolutely cannot risk neglecting.
Here’s a few common fire risks for accommodation providers: missing or broken fire safety equipment, locked exit doors, accumulated rubbish, blocked stairways, open fire doors and inoperative exit lights. Accidents happen and not everything can always be avoided but consulting a fire protection specialist will help you to identify the most appropriate and cost-effective solution for your specific situation.