What are essential fire safety measures?
Fire safety measures are any equipment, installations, type of construction or fire safety strategy that is implemented in a building to ensure the safety of the occupants using the building in the event of fire or other emergency and may include measures such as:
- Automatic fire suppression systems (eg: sprinkler systems)
- Fire hose reels
- Fire hydrants
- Automatic fire detection and alarm systems
- Fire doors
- Fire extinguishers
- Smoke exhaust systems
- Exit signs
- Emergency lighting
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 contains a list of statutory fire safety measures that may be installed in a building. There may be some other measures, equipment or forms of construction that are not listed, which can be included for the purposes of ensuring the safety of persons in a building in the event of fire.
How do I know what needs to be installed in my building?
This information will be contained in a document called a fire safety schedule. The schedule will list all essential fire safety measures which exist and are proposed in a building and will state the performance standard to which each of those measures must be capable of performing to.
A fire safety schedule is issued with:
- a construction certificate or complying development approval for new building work;
- a development or complying development consent involving a change of use (a building changed from a shop to an office); and
- a fire safety order
In most cases you can obtain a copy of the latest fire safety schedule from Council.
What does the law require the owner to do?
To verify installation and performance of each fire safety measure the building owner or a building manager must:
- have a properly qualified person: - check each fire safety measure is installed, and - is capable performing to at least the standard required by the current fire safety schedule for the building
- submit to Council and the NSW Fire Commissioner a Fire Safety Certificate or an Annual Fire Safety Statement together with the current fire safety schedule
- display both the current certificate/statement along the fire safety schedule in a prominent location of the building (eg entry foyer)
It is important that fire safety measures installed in a building are maintained to at least the original design standard. Any less of a standard or failure to maintain the fire safety measures could have adverse affects on the building that could result in poor performance. This could mean damage to or loss of the building or injury or death to occupants.
Who is a properly qualified person?
There is no definition under the legislation of the term “properly qualified person”.
It is up to the owner of the building to determine the “competency” of a person for the purposes of the inspection and assessment.
For more information regarding essential fire safety measures or to find out when your Annual Fire Safety Statement is due, contact Council's Fire Safety Officer on (02) 4654 7777.
You can also visit the Fire & Rescue NSW website.