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Fire Emergency Procedures and Fire Systems

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Fire Emergency Procedures and Fire Systems

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									GUIDANCE ON WORKPLACE
  FIRE AND EMERGENCY
        SYSTEMS




                  FEBRUARY 2003
INDEX

1.       FOREWORD ................................................................................................................................................3

2.       INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................................3

3.       OBLIGATIONS OF BUILDING OWNERS ........................................................................................3
     3.1           DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES .............................................................................................. 3
     3.2           GENERAL REQUIREMENTS........................................................................................................ 3
     3.3           TESTING OF FIRE SAFETY SYSTEMS ..................................................................................... 4
     3.4           RECORD KEEPING.......................................................................................................................... 4
     3.5           CONSULATATION........................................................................................................................... 4
4        OBLIGATIONS FOR OCCUPIERS AND EMPLOYERS ..............................................................5
     4.1      DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES .............................................................................................. 5
     4.2      CONSULTATION.............................................................................................................................. 5
        4.2.1 Consultation with Health and Safety Representatives and OHS Committees.......................... 6
     4.3      EMERGENCY CONTROL............................................................................................................... 6
        4.3.1 Planning Principles for an Emergency Plan ................................................................................... 6
     4.4      EMERGENCY PLANNING PERSONNEL.................................................................................. 6
        4.4.1 Emergency Planning Personnel........................................................................................................ 7
        Chief Warden .................................................................................................................................................. 7
        Deputy Chief Warden .................................................................................................................................... 7
        Wardens........................................................................................................................................................... 8
        Deputies........................................................................................................................................................... 9
        Communication Officer................................................................................................................................. 9
        First Aid Officer ............................................................................................................................................. 9
        4.4.2 Warden Identification......................................................................................................................... 9
     4.5      TRAINING......................................................................................................................................... 10
        4.5.1 Practice Evacuations......................................................................................................................... 10
        4.5.2 The first evacuation exercise.......................................................................................................... 11
        4.5.3 Subsequent evacuation exercises ................................................................................................... 11
        4.5.4 Frequency of evacuation exercises ................................................................................................ 11
        4.5.5 Debriefing .......................................................................................................................................... 12
5        PREVENTATIVE MEASURES ............................................................................................................12

ATTACHMENT B ...............................................................................................................................................14
         1.        Detection and Suppression............................................................................................................... 14
         2.        Extinguishing Equipment................................................................................................................. 14
         3.        Maintenance....................................................................................................................................... 14
         4.        Other fire related Standards............................................................................................................. 14
ATTACHMENT C...............................................................................................................................................16




                                                                                                                                                                          2
1.     FOREWORD
This publication provides practical information on workplace fire and emergency
systems to persons who have a duty of care under the ACT Occupational Health and
Safety Act 1989.

This Guidance Material issued by the Occupational Health and Safety Commissioner
on 4 February 2003 was developed in consultation with stakeholders.


2.     INTRODUCTION
Emergencies in buildings can arise from a number of causes including fire. A prompt,
effective and organised response by employers and employees to emergencies is
essential to their health and safety.

The purpose of this document is to provide information on emergency procedures and
fire safety systems so that those who have a duty of care for the health and safety of
others have a reference and a basis for their decisions and actions. To assist,
Attachment A summarises the essential actions to be undertaken to meet the
guidelines in this document.


3.     OBLIGATIONS OF BUILDING OWNERS
3.1    DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The Occupational Health and Safety Act 1989 (OHS Act) requires that persons in
control of workplaces to take all reasonably practicable steps to provide a work place
that is safe and without risk to health and safety. This requirement includes the
obligation on building owners, and where included in leasing arrangements, the
obligation passes onto the tenant. Where there is more than one tenant, the tenant that
occupies the majority of the building should undertake the responsibility for ensuring
that fire safety systems are installed and maintained.

In order to fulfil this obligation building owners need to consult with their tenants or
employees and make available information regarding the fire safety systems that are
installed throughout the building. Building owners must also ensure that these fire
safety systems meet legislative requirements and are maintained and functioning to
the manufacturer’s specifications. Maintenance documentation should be kept and
provided to tenants or employees on request (see Attachment B for relevant
Australian Standards and other related sources).

3.2    GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
The ACT Fire Brigade should be consulted regarding the fire safety systems required
for specific buildings (see Attachment C for contact numbers). Where specified by
the Building Code of Australia, building owners must install and maintain at a
minimum, hose reels and the appropriate extinguishers near switchboards, main


                                                                                           3
electrical cupboards and in areas where batteries are stored as well as near emergency
services switchboards.

The building owner should ensure that they have access to all the standards and
guidelines that are deemed relevant and necessary for the type of building/s they own
and for the types of activities being undertaken on those premises. These documents
should be made available to tenants or employees on request.

It is the responsibility of the building owner to ensure that the fire safety systems
installed and used in the workplace conform to the relevant standards, that these
systems are regularly maintained in good working order and that records of
maintenance and testing activities are kept.

3.3    TESTING OF FIRE SAFETY SYSTEMS

It is important that the owner of the building or the person in control of that workplace
ensure that:

?
? fire equipment is maintained regularly – check dates on service tags;
?
? fire extinguishers are in place and are properly mounted on brackets;
?
? detection and sprinkler systems are maintained regularly and that maintenance log
  books are kept up-to-date; and
?
? tenants do not stack items to ceiling level as this will interfere with sprinkler and
  detection systems nor place any items near other fire fighting equipment

3.4    RECORD KEEPING

The building owner should take all reasonably practicable steps to maintain
appropriate information and records relating to the fire safety systems.

3.5    CONSULATATION

Building owners or persons in control of the workplace should make available to the
occupiers of the premises information regarding the level and type of fire safety
systems installed and information on the maintenance being undertaken on these
systems.

It is important that building owners, responsible tenants and other occupiers have a
clear means of communication. It is important that tenants or employees be advised
when any maintenance, construction work or changes to building systems are
undertaken particularly when these activities involve fire safety systems or when
changes are required to established fire safety procedures.




                                                                                          4
4     OBLIGATIONS FOR OCCUPIERS AND
      EMPLOYERS
4.1    DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The Occupational Health and Safety Act 1989 (OHS Act) requires that employers
take all reasonably practicable steps to provide a safe and healthy work environment.

This requirement includes the obligation to ensure that emergency and fire safety
procedures are developed and that fire safety systems are installed and maintained in
any buildings where persons are engaged in work activity. If the leasing agreement
places an obligation on the tenant for the responsibility of fire maintenance then the
tenant/employer should ensure that fire safety systems are maintained and functioning
to the manufacturer’s specifications and that maintenance documentation is
maintained.

Employers need to make available to employees written information (pamphlets,
procedures, guidelines etc) regarding fire safety as well as provide regular evacuation
training to support safe practices in the event of an emergency.

For the development of procedures for the controlled evacuation of buildings,
structures and workplaces during emergencies, contact the ACT Fire Brigade and
refer to the relevant standards and guidelines.

Employers are responsible for providing additional fire safety equipment if they
introduce additional risks. These risks would include, but are not limited to, large
quantities of computing equipment and/or mainframes, chemicals and certain plant.
Employers should consult with the ACT Fire Brigade regarding the possible fire risks
they are introducing to a workplace.

4.2    CONSULTATION

Employers should discuss with building owners the level and type of fire safety
systems installed, and obtain information on the servicing program. This information
will allow employers to determine the type of evacuation training required for that
building.

It is suggested that in shared accommodation an Emergency Planning Committee be
formed where all tenants are represented. Representation is to include senior officers
from occupant groups, building owners/agents or managers and when appointed the
Chief and Deputy Wardens.

Normally a senior person of the major tenant would chair meetings of the Emergency
Planning Committee and it is recommended that the Emergency Planning Committee
responsibilities be attached to a senior position so that its permanent or temporary
occupant carries out the necessary Committee functions.




                                                                                          5
4.2.1   Consultation with Health and Safety Representatives and OHS
        Committees

Employers should consult with Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) and where
there is an Occupational Health and Safety Committee, with that Committee on issues
associated with fire safety.

4.3     EMERGENCY CONTROL

Part of effective control during an emergency situation requires that a building’s fire
safety systems are functioning and that systems for training, prevention, and
evacuations are planned, developed and used. Persons appointed to draw up the
emergency plans for a building should be trained and competent to do so.

4.3.1   Planning Principles for an Emergency Plan

The Emergency Plan (the Plan) should be written in plain, easy to understand English
and identify the building to which it applies. The Plan should be appropriate to the
size and complexity of the building, the number of emplo yees/people involved and the
type/s of activities being undertaken in the building.

The ACT Fire Brigade should be consulted when developing an Emergency Plan as
they will be able to assist with determining the level of risk specific to that
building/workplace.

The Plan should define the control and coordination arrangements for any identified
risks as well as the roles and responsibilities of all persons expected to be involved in
all emergency situation.

Any Plan should be flexible enough to cover all types of emergencies and to deal with
rapidly changing developments in technology while being easy to use and amend.

4.4     EMERGENCY PLANNING PERSONNEL

It is recommended that any Emergency Planning Committee should consist of trained
persons who are located on each of the building’s levels or located consistent with the
layout of the building and involve as many tenants as appropriate.

An Emergency Planning Committee should include a HSR and consist of the
following where appropriate:

?
? Chief Warden
?
? Deputy Chief Warden
?
? Floor Wardens (or Area Warden)
?
? Wardens
?
? Communication Officer
?
? First Aid Officers




                                                                                            6
4.4.1   Emergency Planning Personnel

Chief Warden

Has overall responsibility for coordinating emergency activities. The Chief Warden
shall:

?
? be responsible for maintaining an up-to-date list of all Floor Wardens, with
  telephone numbers and locations within the building – this list shall be
  prominently displayed on each floor;
?
? be responsible for ensuring that he/she and the Deputy Warden are not
  simultaneously absent from the building and that the Deputy Warden/s possess the
  skills required to perform the tasks of the Chief Warden;
?
? have a complete knowledge of the building, the position of all fire fighting
  equipment and be familiar with all special risk areas;
?
? ensure that all building occupants know the evacuation procedure and designated
  assembly areas; and
?
? carry out inspections and report on any defects of fire fighting equipment and fire
  doors, cluttered exit routes and poor housekeeping, including the careless
  use/storage of flammable materials and the careless use of heating appliances and
  other electrical equipment.

On becoming aware of an emergency the Chief Warden shall take the following
actions:

?
? ascertain the nature of the emergency and determine the appropriate course of
  action;
?
? ensure that the appropriate emergency service has been notified;
?
? ensure that the Floor or Area Wardens are kept informed of the situation;
?
? if the situation warrants it, initiate the evacuation procedures; and
?
? brief the Fire Brigade or other emergency services personnel upon their arrival of
  the nature, scope and location of the emergency and thereafter act on the
  Brigade’s Senior Officer’s instructions.

Deputy Chief Warden

The Deputy Chief Warden shall be required to:

?
? assume the responsibilities of the Chief Warden if that person is unavailable,
  otherwise assist as required.




                                                                                        7
Floor or Area Wardens

The Floor or Area Wardens should:

?
? be familiar with all aspects of their respective areas of responsibility in regard to
  the location of the fire alarms, emergency warning and intercommunication
  system and other communication devices, exits and alternate means of egress, the
  existence of dead-end corridors, blind passages, obscure rooms, etc. and the
  location and use of fire fighting equipment;
?
? report to the Chief Warden any defects they notice in equipment, obstructed exits,
  misuse of fire doors and poor housekeeping, and arrange for and notify who can
  carry out their role when they are unavailable;
?
? know at all times the number of occupants in their area of responsibility as well as
  any special requirements of those occupants, eg. The nature of any disabilities
  which would require special attention in the event of an emergency;
?
? commence evacuation if the situation in their area warrants this and advise the
  Chief Warden as soon as possible of the circumstances, and of the action taken;
  and
?
? implement the emergency procedures for their area, direct building occupants to
  the nearest, safe exit route, and upon arrival at the designated external assembly
  area call the roll and report result to the Chief Warden.

Wardens

Wardens should be appointed to assist the Floor or Area Wardens on the basis of one
for each twenty persons on the floor or in the area. It is preferable that two Wardens
should be selected from each business/industry occupying an area or floor where
appropriate and available.

Persons appointed as Wardens may be required to perform a number of different
activities in relation to emergencies, including the following:

?
? act as Floor or Area Warden;
?
? call appropriate emergency services;
?
? operate intercommunication system;
?
? carry out a search of the area to ensure all persons are accounted for, provided it is
  safe to do so;
?
? ensure an orderly flow of occupants during an evacuation, includ ing the provision
  of assistance to mobility- impaired occupants (obtaining assistance from fellow
  staff requires some pre-planning);
?
? act as a leader of the group when moving to the nominated assembly areas;
?
? operate fire fighting equipment if safe to do so; and if the need arises; and
?
? meet and report to emergency services on their arrival.



                                                                                          8
Deputies

To ensure continuity of the wardens’ functions whilst wardens are absent, deputies
should be appointed. Deputies should possess the personal attributes listed above, be
fully trained and prepared to take over the primary roles as required.

Communication Officer

The Communication Officer on becoming aware of the emergency should be
responsible to the Chief Warden for communicating and recording information and
instructions to and between the emergency services, the Chief Warden, Floor Wardens
and occupants of the building.

First Aid Officer

The First Aid Officer is appointed on the basis of their qualifications and their
availability to perform the required duties. The ACT First Aid in the Workplace Code
of Practice outlines the minimum standards for the provision of workplace first aid.

The responsibilities of First Aid Officers are detailed in the ACT First Aid in the
Workplace Code of Practice. In an emergency evacuation a First Aid Officer should
carry the first aid kit with them so as to be able to render treatment to casualties.
If casualties and/or disabled exist in an area to be evacuated they should be moved to
a safe area adjacent to the fire stairs or exits and remain there until everyone else is
evacuated. The First Aid Officer shall remain with the casualties and/or disabled
(provided it is safe to do so) until assistance to exit the building can be arranged or
until an ambulance, other medical or emergency services personnel take over.

4.4.2   Warden Identification

The control of emergencies will be greatly assisted if occupants know who is on the
Emergency Planning Committee and how to contact and identify them. Once
Wardens have been selected and recruited, a list of names and contact information
should be produced, circulated and posted on each floor in common areas. Wardens
should be identified during an emergency by wearing coloured safety helmets as
follows:

?
? Chief Warden and Deputy Chief Warden                White helmet
?
? Floor Warden or Area Warden                         Yellow helmet
?
? Wardens                                             Red helmet
?
? First Aid Officer                                   Green helmet

The Communication Officer would not normally wear a helmet.

Helmets should be prominently marked with the wearer’s title and floor or area
number as appropriate.



                                                                                           9
4.5     TRAINING

During an emergency the smooth operation of planned procedures can only be
achieved if all members of the Emergency Planning Committee and other building
occupants are thoroughly familiar with what is expected of them. It is therefore
necessary to institute a system of education and periodic evacuation exercises for all
building occupants.

Training develops patterns of behaviour in people so that in an emergency valuable
time is not lost in unproductive activities.

Those involved in emergency control should meet regularly and such meetings can
also be used as short training sessions to maintain the interest of people and to
improve their knowledge and skills in fire safety. In addition to general fire safety,
bomb threat and evacuation procedures, training sessions could include methods of
assisting mobility- impaired persons, information on human behaviour in emergency
situations and resuscitation techniques.

All people involved in emergency control activities should be sufficiently trained and
familiar with all aspects of their area of responsibility.

The ACT Fire Brigade is available to provide advice on fire safety matters and for the
training of Wardens. Training of Wardens should include basic building design
safety, fire safety systems specific to the building and safety survival skills in
buildings. They should also be educated in the possible toxic constituents of smoke,
be made aware of the unpredictable synergistic action of smoke cocktails and of likely
health effects.

Every occupant of the building shall be advised of the action to take in the event of an
emergency and each shall be given the name, location and telephone number of the
Warden of the floor or area where they work. Occupants should be encouraged to
approach their Warden for information, clarification of procedures and to report on
perceived problem areas.

Floor Wardens shall ensure that all new occupants are advised of the relevant
procedures and are shown the location of first attack fire fighting equipment and the
evacuation routes. Arrangements should be made for regular short demonstrations
explaining the various types of first-attack fire fighting equipment, their uses and
limitations, and the correct methods of operation.

4.5.1   Practice Evacuations

Evacuation exercises form the most important part of fire safety training. After
emergency procedures have been written, at least one practice in conjunction with the
appropriate emergency service is required to ensure that the procedures are
satisfactory. Once it has been established that the procedures are satisfactory and
workable, a program of evacuation exercises should be established for at least one
year in advance.




                                                                                         10
Multi-occupancy buildings require more detailed pla nning and greater communication
amongst representatives of the various businesses occupying the premises. Non-
participation in evacuation exercises is discouraged, though some businesses may
have valid reasons not to participate. For this, and other reasons, voice
announcements associated with practice evacuations should highlight that it is a
practice drill. The ACT Fire Brigade should be notified of the details of practice
evacuations in advance.

4.5.2   The first evacuation exercise

Wardens should brief all occupants in their area of responsibility prior to the first
evacuation. This briefing should cover:

?
? the identity of the Wardens;
?
? the alarm system and emergency warning and intercommunication system used in
  the building;
?
? actions that building occupants are required to take in response to alarms;
?
? the marshalling area for their floor or area;
?
? the evacuation route(s) they are to take;
?
? assembly or designated alternative areas which provide a safe refuge internally or
  externally; and
?
? what is required at the completion of the exercise.

This briefing should be undertaken through the Warden system to allow people to
identify their Warden(s) and become aware of their responsibilities. If the premises
are large or a multi-storey building, a partial evacuation sho uld be undertaken in the
first instance to test the procedures. Once these procedures have been shown to be
workable then the first large-scale evacuation can be held.

4.5.3   Subsequent evacuation exercises

With the experience gained from the first evacuation, subsequent evacuations can
become more realistic and with limited notice.

4.5.4   Frequency of evacuation exercises

There are a number of factors that influence the frequency of practising for emergency
situations and the ACT Fire Brigade should be contacted for details.

As a basic rule however, these factors would include the size and configuration of the
premises and the type of business and/or industry activity being undertaken. The
period between full evacuations can vary between one and three years. The period
between partial evacuations can vary between quarterly and yearly.




                                                                                          11
4.5.5   Debriefing

Once a practice evacuation has been completed, it is necessary for members of the
Emergency Planning Committee to meet and discuss any problems that may have
been identified and to amend the Plan where necessary.


5    PREVENTATIVE MEASURES
Prevention of fires is as important as the development of efficient means of fighting
them. Wardens and all other building occupants should be fully aware of the need to
avoid dangerous practices, of the precautions to be taken to minimise the chance of
fire occurring and the danger to life in the event of a fire getting out of control.

Wardens should be encouraged to take note of, and to bring to the attention of the
employer, Chief Warden, or HSR:

?
? accumulation of litter which might increase the risk of fire;
?
? incorrect use or storage of flammable materials;
?
? placement of furniture which might delay the exit of people from the building; and
?
? other hazards eg untagged electrical leads or expired tags?

Wardens should also check that:

?
? fire doors and smoke doors should be kept shut and only held open by approved
  automatic release devices; these doors are not wedged or fixed in an open
  position;
?
? passages are kept free of obstructions; and
?
? fire extinguishers are correctly mounted, signposted, maintained and that any
  accidental discharges or damage to an extinguisher is immediately reported.

If flammable liquids or other chemicals are used in the building then employers
should ensure that these liquids and/or chemicals are stored in the appropriate
containers and in a safe manner consistent with the appropriate safety instructions.
Chief Wardens should inform the Fire Brigade of the types of flammable liquids
and/or chemicals being kept on the premises and emergency procedures for handling
these substances during an emergency should be included in the Emergency Plan.

In buildings where the parking of cars is permitted, notices should be posted
prohibiting car owners from carrying out repairs or handling fuel on the premises.

All occupants should be encouraged to observe the greatest care in the use of matches,
portable heaters, electrical appliances and other possible sources of ignition and to
keep their immediate work areas neat and tidy.




                                                                                     12
                                                             ATTACHMENT A


                       SUMMARY CHECKLIST


1.   Ensure that fire safety systems and fire doors are not obstructed.

2.   Ensure that fire safety systems are working.

3.   Obtain advice from the ACT Fire Brigade.

4.   Consult with your Health and Safety Representative or OHS Committee.

5.   Develop evacuation and training procedures.

6.   Ensure that your Fire Warden and Deputies are appropriately trained.

7.   Practice your evacuation procedures regularly

8.   Review your procedures.




                                                                            13
                                                                  ATTACHMENT B


                           AUSTRALIAN STANDARDS

The following Australian Standards can be useful when undertaking installation and
maintenance activities of fire safety systems however the responsible person should
contact the ACT Fire Brigade for specific information.

1.     Detection and Suppression

Australian Standards providing guidance on thermal detectors, alarms, emergency
warning and intercommunication systems and fire sprinkler systems are as follows:

AS 1603 – Automatic fire detection and alarm systems
AS 1670 – Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems
AS 2118 – Automatic fire sprinkler systems
AS 2220 – Emergency warning and intercommunication systems in buildings
AS 3689 – Automatic fire extinguishing systems using halogenated hydrocarbons

2.     Extinguishing Equipment

Guidance on the specific properties of a range of portable fire extinguishers and hose
reels, together with identification colour coding can be found in the following
Standards:

AS 1841 – Portable fire extinguishers – general information
AS 2419 – Fire hydrant installations – system design, installation and commissioning
AS 2441 – Installation of fire hose reels
AS 2444 – Portable fire extinguishers and fire blankets – selection and location

3.     Maintenance

The maintenance of fire protection equipment, including hose reels, extinguishers,
precaution features of air conditioning systems, fire detection and alarm systems are
to be found in AS 1851, parts 1 to 16.

4.     Other fire related Standards

A variety of Standards exist which provide guidance on a range of specific fire related
issues and include:

AS 2293 – Emergency evacuation lighting
AS 3504 – Fire blankets
SAA MP24 – Use of lifts in emergencies (an examination by the SAA Committee on
              lift installations)
AS 3760-2000 – In service Safety inspection and testing of Electrical Equipment




                                                                                        14
Other Relevant Sources

   ?? Building code of Australia
   ?? Manufacturer’s specifications
   ?? Fire safety engineering reports
   ?? ACT Fire Brigade policies and legislation
   ?? BEPCON policies and legislation
   ?? The Department of Defence policies




                                                  15
                                              ATTACHMENT C


                   CONTACT NUMBERS

ACT Fire Brigade   24-hour emergency number   000

                   General contact number     620 78370

ACT WorkCover      Switch number              620 50200




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