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A guide to helping our customers understand FEM and the services

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					             F.E.M. Fire Equipment Maintenance
             Frequently Asked Questions

A guide to helping our customers understand FEM and
the services we offer
The Service
1.   What is FEM?
     F.E.M. Fire Equipment Maintenance (FEM) is a commercial operation
     conducted by CFA through volunteer brigades. The core business is the sale,
     servicing and inspection of portable fire equipment in public and private
     enterprise in accordance with Australian Standard 1851.
     FEM enhances community safety and generates funds for volunteer brigades.
     There are 300 brigades engaged in FEM who service around 30,000
     customers.

2.   What portable fire equipment is maintained by FEM?
     In general terms the full range of fire extinguishers, fire hose and hose reels,
     and fire blankets.

3.   What does FEM do?
     We visit your premises 2 times per year. On one visit we inspect the portable
     fire equipment and on the second we service it in line with the schedules
     specified in the Australian Standard.

4.   What is Australian Standard 1851?
     AS 1851 is a series of standards that relate to the routine maintenance of fire
     protection equipment, listed as essential services in the Building Regulations.
     For further information go to www.buildingcommission.com.au

5.   What is an FEM service?
     It is the routine service performed on fire protection equipment maintained by
     CFA that is described in the maintenance schedules of the 1851 series of
     Australian Standards.

6.   What is an FEM inspection?
     It is a six monthly service visit as per AS 1851 (Level 1 service). During this
     inspection CFA officers ensure the extinguisher is correctly hung, not
     obstructed etc.

7.   What’s involved with a Dry Chemical Refill?
     It involves the discharge of the extinguisher contents, removal &
     refurbishment of the head assembly, internal cleaning & inspection of the
     cylinder, replacement of dry chemical powder with new powder, replacement
     of the head assembly & re-pressurisation.




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8.   What is a hydrostatic test?
     It is a pressure test that is performed on the fire extinguisher cylinder at either
     three or six yearly intervals from the date of manufacture or last hydrostatic
     test date as identified in Table 3.1 of Australian Standard 1851.1 (Level 4
     service). This test is performed in conjunction with Level 1 & Level 2 services,
     and may be performed onsite or the extinguisher may be sent away to a
     service depot depending on the type of extinguisher.

9.   What is the difference between the capacity of an extinguisher
     and the rating of an extinguisher?
     • The capacity is the volume of extinguishing contents in the extinguisher.
     • The rating is the extinguishing performance of the extinguisher on the
       various classes of fire that the extinguisher is suitable to be used on under
       still air test conditions.

10. Who should provide advice to me (business owner) about the
    equipment I require?
     Your local municipal and/or registered building surveyor or delegated officer
     from CFA or MFB (depending on location). If you employ staff it is highly
     likely you will need an extinguisher.

11. Why should my business have a portable fire equipment
    maintenance program?
     Class 2 to 9 buildings require as a minimum to have fire extinguishers
     installed and serviced. Class 1 & 10 are buildings defined as a single dwelling
     or non-habitable structure, BCA does not require fire extinguishers in these
     buildings.

12. Is there a website to visit that describes classes of buildings?
     Yes, visit the Australian Building Codes Board http://www.abcb.gov.au

13. Why should my business have CFA FEM to maintain our
    portable fire equipment?
     • Volunteer CFA brigades rely on their communities for support. By selecting
        a CFA brigade to maintain your fire equipment you are supporting your
        local brigade.
     • CFA FEM brigades are highly trained and accredited to carry out
        maintenance of portable fire equipment.
     • CFA knows the importance of effective fire equipment – we follow the
        correct servicing procedures.
     • Our standing in our community is important – we perform.

14. What should I do if we use an extinguisher to put out a fire?
     Contact your local CFA/FEM brigade or ring the Client Service Office on 1300
     36 36 61 to arrange an immediate servicing of that extinguisher.




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                                                                             April 2006
 15. What’s the difference between ABE & BE Dry Chemical
     extinguishers?
     The letters represent the classes of fire that the extinguisher will extinguish.


     • Dry Chemical ABE (ABC Class Fires most suitable)
       Used for fires involving wood, paper, plastic, flammable & combustible
       liquids but not cooking oils or fats, also can be used for flammable gases
       and electrical equipment.

     • Dry Chemical BE (B Class Fires most suitable)
       Useful for fires involving flammable and combustible liquids, flammable
       gases, and electrical equipment.

 16. What’s the purpose of:
     • Water Extinguisher (A Class Fires)
       Used for fires involving wood, paper and plastics. It is dangerous to use
       these on flammable liquid, electrical equipment, cooking oil and fat fires.

     • Wet Chemical Extinguisher (F Class Fire most suitable)
       Used for fires involving wood, paper, plastics, cooking oils and fats. It is
       dangerous to use on electrical equipment.

     • Foam extinguishers (B Class Fire most suitable)
       Used for fires involving wood, paper, plastics, flammable and combustible
       liquids. It is dangerous to use on electrical equipment.

     • Dry Chemical ABE (ABC Class Fires most suitable)
       Used for fires involving wood, paper, plastic, flammable & combustible
       liquids but not cooking oils or fats, also can be used for flammable gases
       and electrical equipment.

     • Dry Chemical BE (B Class Fires most suitable)
       Useful for fires involving flammable and combustible liquids, flammable
       gases, and electrical equipment.

     • Carbon Dioxide (E Class Fires most suitable)
       Useful for fires involving electrical equipment.

     • Vaporising Liquid (E Class Fires most suitable)
       Useful for fires involving electrical equipment.


The Agreement
 17. Who is the agreement between?
     CFA F.E.M. Fire Equipment Maintenance and client.

 18. How long is this agreement for?
     It stays in place until either CFA or the business cancels the service (in
     writing).

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                                                                              April 2006
19. Where does the local volunteer brigade fit in?
    The local volunteer brigade arranges the delivery of FEM services in their
    brigade area. The brigades benefit financially from the FEM work done in
    their area.
    A very important aspect is the relationship of the brigade to its community,
    and understanding the risks and issues the brigade may confront in an
    emergency. FEM helps this understanding.

20. What are the payment terms?
    Payment is required 30 days from the date of the invoice.

21. How much paperwork is there?
    Apart from the agreement the business receives a copy of the completed
    signed worksheet, an invoice after a service or inspection and a monthly
    statement.

22. How does the system work?
    When a business is signed up the owner will agree with the brigade
    representative when the services and inspections start. After that the service
    technician will arrive in line with the agreed cycle. When the work is
    completed, the worksheet is signed by the owner (or representative) and the
    service technician. The business retains a copy and a copy goes to the FEM
    Client Service Office to invoice the business for the services provided.

23. What do I (business owner) do if I dispute the account?
    Contact your local brigade representative or ring our Client Service Office on
    1300 36 36 61. Either way we listen to your concerns and will respond
    promptly.

24. If I lose my copies of the paperwork can I get duplicates? How?
    Yes. Duplicate copies of the work sheet can be obtained from you local
    brigade or from the Client Service Office. Duplicate copies of invoices or
    statements can be obtained from the Client Service Office by phoning 1300
    36 36 61 or via email at femaccounts@cfa.vic.gov.au

25. Can I pay with cash or cheque on delivery?
    Yes.

26. Can I pay with credit card?
    No, not at present. We are currently investigating this option.

27. Can I pay by EFTPOS?
    Yes. Please pay to account number 063 225 1018 1763 and be sure to
    reference your invoice or account number.

28. How do I contact your accounts department?
    FEM Client Service Office can be contacted on 1300 36 36 61 or 5440 6444
    or via email at femaccounts@cfa.vic.gov.au




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                                                                          April 2006
 29. Why do I have to pay twice a year if I never use the equipment?
     The Australian Standard, which governs the maintenance of portable fire
     equipment, specifies an annual service and an annual inspection to be
     conducted 6 months apart.

 30. How much will this cost me?
     That depends on how much portable fire equipment you have. Your local
     brigade representative can give you a reliable quote for a routine inspection
     however fire equipment like any hardware will have variable costs in service
     depending on what needs to be done. Again the best advice is to discuss the
     issue with your brigade representative or service technician.

 31. When do your prices go up?
     FEM does not have a routine price rise. However like all businesses it must
     consider its costs from time to time.

 32. What do I do if I’m unhappy with the service I receive?
     Speak to your local brigade representative or contact our Client Service Office
     on 1300 36 36 61 and we will have one of our Community Safety Officers
     work through the issues with you.


General
 33. Do you have Public Liability insurance?
     Yes $10 million.

 34. Do you have Professional Indemnity insurance?
     Yes $5 million.

 35. I have a dangerous work environment; do your volunteers
     understand occupational health and safety requirements?
     Our service technicians are trained in this area to a national competency and
     are prepared to undertake specific site induction training.

 36. What does the brigade do with the money you make from the
     business?
     Proceeds from FEM are used to support the local volunteer fire brigade and to
     undertake community safety initiatives through the brigade.

 37. How long has CFA had an FEM business?
     50 Plus years.

 38. Do you use sub-contractors to do the work for the brigade?
     Yes. It is a common practice for CFA volunteer brigades to be supported by a
     contractor to deliver FEM services in their brigade area. At times the
     volunteer resources are stretched to cover many important brigade and
     community activities. The use of contractors for FEM ensures that we meet
     the service requirements and expectations of FEM customers.



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                                                                          April 2006
39. How does CFA manage those contractors to make sure they do
    the right thing?
     CFA has a detailed process to appoint contractors. In addition a complex
     contract governs the relationship to ensure that FEM customers are delivered
     services in line with Australian Standards and that the reputation of CFA is
     protected.

40. I’ve got a hydrant, sprinkler system etc.                Who will look after
    that?
     CFA/FEM does not offer this service at present. There are a number of fire
     protection companies who provide this service (refer yellow pages). CFA/FEM
     is happy to service your extinguishers, hose reels, fire blankets & fire hose.
     Your local brigade may be able to direct you to a service provider.


AS 1851 (2005)
AS 1851 (2005) was released in October 2005.

CFA is currently working through the issues in a consultative manner with the relevant
industry bodies and stakeholders.




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Description: A guide to helping our customers understand FEM and the services