Since fires account for a high number of deaths and property damage in commercial places, the law requires that you invest in fire protection strategies. You are also required to find a qualified and licensed fire safety inspector to visit your premises annually. His or her role is to inspect your fire protection system and generate a report indicating the state of the system and whether it works as it should. This report is what is referred to as an annual fire safety statement. Here's everything you need to know.
What Constitutes Fire Protection Strategies and Systems?
These include things like fire prevention, warning and control devices, fire drills, fire emergency responsibilities and drills, fire schedules, etc.
- Fire prevention, warning and control devices - These are devices like fire sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, automated fire alarms and fail-safe devices, fire hydrants, fire hoses, automatic fire suppression systems, smoke detectors, etc. Fire doors are also part of fire safety devices; they are specially made to prevent fire or smoke from passing to the next room. They also have to be tested to find out how long they can endure hot conditions, hence the fire rating you find on fire doors. The rating represents the duration (in minutes or hours) a particular fire door can endure fire before starting to get damaged.
- Fire emergency drills - These include actions to be taken in case there is a fire on the premise. They dictate how everyone should behave and where they should assemble when a fire starts to ensure each person is safe, and there is minimal property damage.
- Fire emergency duties and responsibilities - Various people have to be tasked with different responsibilities to ensure that nothing goes wrong when there is a fire emergency. For example, various individuals need to be put in charge of operating various firefighting devices. You may also want to put others in charge of inspecting firefighting equipment and several individuals guiding people to safety. Having such distinct roles minimises mistakes during a fire emergency.
- Fire schedule - This is a form that highlights all the fire safety devices installed on a premise. This form ensures you don't miss anything during fire safety device inspections; it is also required by your fire safety inspector when generating an annual fire safety statement.
What Should You Do with Your Annual Fire Safety Statement?
Make three copies; retain the first copy, and display it clearly on your premise, send the second copy to your local council, and then lodge the third copy with fire and rescue. If you fail to do this annually, you might have to pay high fines or serve jail time.