Over the past couple of years there have been several major house fires around the Brisbane area involving complete property destruction and tragic loss of life. Smoke detectors that did not work, fires that started during the night when the family was sleeping and leaving candles burning were some of the causes. There have also been fires on business premises, and although these cause income loss and great expense, they rarely result in employee deaths.
What are your Responsibilities under our Fire Safety Legislation?
There is a very good reason for this. Building owners or occupiers of certain types of buildings are required by law to install specified fire safety equipment at strategic locations. They must also appoint fire safety advisors in some cases, and all must have fire emergency procedures in place, including regular fire evacuation drills.
With this in mind, now is a good time for anyone with responsibilities under the fire safety laws to make sure they are complying. A good place to start is with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services web page. All the various definitions and criteria are there, along with information sheets so you can see where your level of responsibility lies.
Can You Use a Fire Extinguisher? Can Your Staff?
As business owners ourselves, the Fountain Property Group has a legal obligation to ensure the safety of our staff while they are on our premises. One of the ways we do this is to provide training to our staff in the fire emergency procedures applicable to our building. This is not as hard as it sounds, and we start with basic instruction in how to use a fire extinguisher.
Which One is the Right One?
You can either do this yourself, or engage professionals to do it for you at your workplace. The training involves a short information session on the various types of fires and the correct methods of fighting them, followed by an actual demonstration This is important and will vary from building to building, depending on the type of fire most likely to break out. For example, a restaurant kitchen where there is hot fat would use a different method from an office building where electronics and paper are the main fire hazards.
Emergency Evacuation Training Saves Lives
The other major employee training exercise is the emergency evacuation. Once you have developed the procedure, staff training is essential so that they all know their roles in an evacuation. Larger businesses have a safety committee and nominate wardens and various other roles to staff members. Regular fire drills and evacuations are essential so that everyone knows how to respond in a real situation.
If you do not have these procedures in place, find out your responsibilities and get your emergency procedures happening. There is truth in the saying that the life you save may be your own.