Fire accidents are the last thing you want to happen to your business. While Australian Standards are set out to help you keep the agency running, the best you can do is follow suit. Fire protection is one of the highest priorities in your business so it’s equally important to know how to make your real estate agency fire compliant.
The Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 requires all buildings to carry out fire compliance obligations. The objectives of this legislation are to ensure building occupants can evacuate safely and quickly when there is fire, and to ensure that prescribed fire safety installations in the building are maintained. Therefore, requirements for your building should include the following:
Maintain all the prescribed fire safety installations
The occupier of a building has the duty to maintain all the prescribed fire safety installations to a standard that guarantees safety and reliability to all the occupants. When maintaining these equipment and systems, compliance to Queensland Development Code and AS 1851-2012 (Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment) should be considered.
These highly significant installations are recommended for your building in preparation for fire accidents. The recommended installations are as follows:
- Fire extinguishers, hydrants and fire hoses
- Fire sprinkler systems
- Smoke and fire alarms
- Exit and other fire safety signs
- Automatic fire pressurisation systems (often used in high rise fire escapes)
- Automatic smoke exhaust and ventilation systems
- Fire control rooms and panels
- Occupant warning system (public address and alarm system)
Make sure to have all these fire equipment and systems checked on a regular basis to comply with the relevant code of standard.
Keep a clear and safe evacuation route
The Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 defines the requirements for achieving a compliant exit route through the following:
- Evacuation pathways are kept free from obstruction
- Doors are easy to open with handles and locks in full compliance to regulations
- Exit routes are fully accessible and isolated from fire prone areas
By securing a fire and evacuation plan and diagram, it is easier to identify the exact routes for escaping fire. There should be a defined path with accurate descriptions of the fire exit route with approval from the certified fire guys.
Secure a complete and concise evacuation diagram and fire safety plan
When a fire occurs, there is only a limited time to evacuate everyone to safety. This crucial period requires an infallible strategy that practices utmost safety and aims to limit the damages. A fire safety plan will determine how to achieve the best method by delving into the nitty-gritty details.
The dangers of fire can easily knock out your consciousness in a matter of three minutes or less. It is due to the carbon monoxide that builds rapidly around fires and affects your breathing. With the help of methodological evacuation plans, evacuating to safety can be achieved in an orderly and rapid manner. When establishing a fire and evacuation plan, these procedures are included to be at par with the safety standards.
- The process of alerting and communicating with people in the building when a fire occurs
- Alerting the fire service using automatic alarms or other efficient means of communication
- Evacuating every real estate agent, client, staff and other building occupants in an organized manner
- Ensuring that everyone has been evacuated to safety
- Checking all the names and the number of evacuees
- Meeting the fire brigade and informing them of the fire location, cause (if it is known) and any persons left behind
- Evacuating in accordance with the Evacuation Coordination Procedures
- Instructing the right method of operating fire extinguishers and other safety equipment
- How these instructions are conveyed to the building occupants for their knowledge
Make sure to prepare the contact details of the responsible people in facilitating the evacuation and other fire safety officers in charge of reviewing and approving the Fire and Evacuation Plan.
Identify a person who will implement the evacuation coordination procedures
Your fire warden will carry out the plans set to secure utmost safety in the building. The risk analysis of your real estate agency premises determines how many people should be responsible for the workers’ safety. Accordingly, they should be well aware of the fire risks, plans, and action plan to be able to carry out their duties effectively.
Conduct an evacuation drill annually
Under The Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008, the building must have an appropriate number of people in charge for carrying out the evacuation with intervals of not more than one year. For instance, the fire warden of your real estate agency makes an effort to schedule one afternoon for the entire staff to join in on the fire drill. More effort is required to ensure that the date chosen for conducting the evacuation practice is when most workers are available.
Secure an occupier’s statement every year
Buildings have to complete annual occupier’s statements with the audit requirements and reports of all fire safety installations and maintenance by qualified fire technicians. Every aspect of fire safety is covered by these reports in the following details:
- Compilation of maintenance and inspections of prescribed Fire Installations
- Annual reviews of the Fire and Evacuation Plan and Diagrams with their corresponding updates
- Training records of responsible persons
- Evacuation drills conducted with the dates and remarks
- All the yearly occupiers’ statements
This is in accordance with the QDC, AS 1851 and must be sent to the fire commissioner within 10 days from the date of its required preparation.
Business growth is surely in line with compliance to fire safety standards. If you are running a real estate agency, always give more attention to fire protection to keep the business running.