In Australia, all residential care facilities must comply with all fire safety regulations. These regulations are in place to reduce the potential for fire-related injuries and death in these care facilities. They include the requirement for all fire-safety device installations. They also require enforced maintenance and testing for all devices installed. The following is a review of Aged Care Fire Safety regulations and guidelines.
Legislative Requirements in Australia
Australian Standard 1670.1 requires all aged care facilities to install smoke detection systems – fortifying fire safety in residential care buildings. These systems must be installed in all rooms of the building. This includes all corridors and publicly-accessible areas.
The smoke detection systems must also be tested, maintained, and replaced according to the standard and federal regulations. The electricians who manage these installations must ensure that the occupants hear the smoke alarm in enough time to vacate the premises safely.
Evacuation Plans and Support Requirements
A fire evacuation plan must be in place for all aged care facilities. For this reason, the facility must enforce the minimum support ratio. This ratio indicates that each caregiver is responsible with no more than ten patients.
This limit enables them to provide adequate support during an evacuation. This is based on the ability to provide immediate assistance for patients with physical disabilities that cannot evacuate the premises on their own. These requirements are enforced through adequate scheduling of caregivers.
A map showing the escape routes for each area must be displayed in all patient rooms, corridors, and throughout the floor. This map provides guidance for caregivers and other personnel. It must follow the evacuation plan provided by the building owner.
What are Sprinkler Systems?
In aged care facilities, sprinkler systems are installed into the ceilings. They distribute forced water into the room to extinguish a fire that has developed. They provide adequate water volumes to prevent serious fire damage and reduce personal injuries inside the facility.
How Do Sprinkler Systems Work
According to Australian Standard 2118.1, the sprinkler system must be installed permanently and work properly. The system detected fires within the designated areas in which they are installed. At the second that a fire is detected, the automatic sprinkler system forces water throughout the area. This is controlled by a central fire control panel.
They are connected to the fire dispatch system installed inside the building. Each sprinkler system is used for areas that measure up to three hundred meters. According to regulations, no more than thirteen residents are allowed in areas with these dimensions.
Why are Sprinkler Systems Effective?
The automatic sprinkler systems are effective due to their sudden action. The system forces a larger volume of water at a faster rate than a standard fire hose. They cover a larger space when a fire is detected.
The installation team should review the standard when installing these systems to increase effectiveness. They should review the requirements based on the size and height of the care facility. They should also evaluate the potential for a fire and the total volume of occupants in the area. These factors could affect how the sprinkler system operates and how effective it is when battling a fire.
Evacuation Training and Response for Workers
Fire Safety for Aged Care requires all facility owners to provide effective fire safety training for all workers. The training must include awareness of all Australian fire safety standards and regulations. It must show workers the exact evacuation plan initiated by the owner.
During training, they learn how to enforce the minimum support ratio effectively. They review what they need to do when smoke is detected in their area. This includes moving patients through the escape path provided for their area. They should also learn what equipment is needed in an emergent circumstance to move patients with physical disabilities properly.
The owner must complete fire drills each month to increase awareness of the chosen policy and protocol for fire safety. During these drills, the caregivers remove patients according to the designated plan. Continued practice prepares them more effectively in the event of a fire.
Contact Us Today For Assistance with Aged Care Fire Safety
In Australia, fire safety standards are enforced for aged care facilities. These standards require the owner to install fire safety devices throughout the facility. They also require the owner to maintain an adequate evacuation plan for their patients. Facility owners who need to learn more about these safety measures and Aged Care Fire Safety Training should contact FCF Fire and Electrical today.