Evacuation Diagrams According to Australian Standards

Evacuation Diagrams According to Australian Standards

A key component of AS 3745-2010 is the provision of evacuation diagrams. These diagrams are intended to provide emergency and evacuation information for occupants and visitors. They should contain concise, clear and appropriate detail to inform occupants and visitors in an emergency.

Fire Evacuation Diagrams are an important element of your facility’s safety plan and should be included in your fire safety and emergency response management systems.

Fire evacuation diagrams need to clearly show info regarding evacuation procedures, installed equipment, details of the evacuation assembly area and exits.

The following are the key requirements for evacuation diagrams to comply with Australian Standard 3745-2010:

Location  

Evacuation diagrams shall be displayed where occupants and visitors are able to view them. The Emergency Planning Committee has a role to determine the location and number of evacuation diagrams for a facility.

Position

The evacuation diagram should be positioned at a height not less than 1200 mm and not more than 1600 mm above the floor.

Orientation

Each evacuation diagram shall have the correct orientation with regard to the direction of egress and its location to the ‘YOU ARE HERE’ point. Where an assembly area diagram is included, it shall have the same orientation to the rest of the diagram.

Minimum Elements

AS 3745-2010 lists a range of elements which must be included in the evacuation diagram, such as designated exits, fire fighting equipment and the location of where the evacuation diagram is installed within the facility (i.e. the ‘YOU ARE HERE’ location).

Optional information

AS 3745-2010 provides an option to include additional information on the evacuation diagram, such as, other emergency information and equipment. The inclusion of this optional information is to be considered by the Emergency Planning Committee, but is not a mandatory requirement of AS 3745-2010.

Size

The minimum size of an evacuation diagram is A4 (i.e. 210 mm x 297 mm) with a pictorial representation of the floor or area of at least 200 mm x 150 mm or an area of at least 30 000 mm2 . However, where any additional information is included—that is, anything in addition to the items listed in clause 3.5.5—the minimum size of the evacuation diagram is A3 (i.e. 297 mm x 420 mm) with a pictorial representation of the floor or area of at least 300 mm x 200 mm or an area of at least 60 000 mm2 .

Ensure facility occupants could easily and quickly get the info they need to evacuate the facility in the event of an emergency. As an important component of a property’s fire safety and emergency response management systems, evacuation diagrams are actually supposed to inform occupants of the emergency evacuation procedures, instructions and locations of the closest emergency exits, fire products, the assembly areas and who to phone in the event of an emergency.

FCF Fire & Electrical Fire Evacuation Diagram

Do the evacuation diagrams in your facility meet Australian Standards? Under the Australian Standard AS 3745-2010: Planning for Emergencies in Facilities, evacuation diagrams must be displayed in conspicuous positions along the evacuation route of the facility and must be orientated with the layout of the building.

In case your organization needs assistance in improving your emergency evacuation diagrams or perhaps would like us to go through the compliance of your current diagrams, please feel free to contact FCF Fire and Electrical.

Fire Safety Best Practices at the Workplace

Fire Safety Best Practices at the Workplace

Fire is one of the biggest threats in the workplace. There is no existing device that can predict a fire and no definite assessment on a fire that has not yet happened. It is all about perfect fire safety planning to ensure an efficient escape from its dangers. To prepare for these unforeseen events, there is a need to comply with fire safety requirements for persons conducting a business.

In this article, our aim is to get to know the best practices at the workplace.

Best Practices for Fire Safety

workplace fire safety equipment
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The number of ways to minimise the risk of fire in your workplace is endless. Here are some of the practices worth noting down:

  1. Install “no smoking” signs and strictly implement it. If the office has smoking areas, disposing of cigarettes properly should be imposed to the employees.
  2. Declutter. The best places for a fire to take control over are those with piles of waste and clutter. With good housekeeping at your own workplace, there should be minimal risk of fire.
  3. Store flammable liquids in metal containers. Oily or solvent soaked rags should be used with caution and disposed of properly.
  4. Familiarise the firefighting equipment in your business and the location for each. Fire extinguishers in your workplace have designated installation positions near exit doors and fire prone areas. Employees should be able to spot them easily.
  5. Store chemicals in a safe compartment. Read the information sheet about hazard warnings to ensure safety storage and usage.
  6. Electrical wirings and fixtures should be kept in order. Avoid using too many electronics in one socket and minimise the use of adapters to eliminate the hazard of faulty electrical connections.
  7. Prepare a list of all emergency contact numbers and make it accessible to everyone in the office.
  8. Conduct fire safety drills for all employees. Knowing how to use a fire extinguisher is crucial in the workforce. Make sure workers are able to identify the different types of fire extinguishers and are able to function it properly through the training provided.

Responding to Fire

Having a fire plan in the workplace is a priority in any business. This involves the procedures once a fire occurs, fighting fire and evacuating the area.

Evacuate the Building

building evacuation due to fire alert
Photo Credit: Tom Huntley

The first thing to do when a fire occurs is to make sure employees can get out of the building safely. An evacuation plan has to be set out for every employee to familiarise and practice through a fire drill. Every department should be oriented about their specific route towards the fire exit. When you happen to discover the fire first, use this step-by-step guide in responding efficiently:

  1. Stay calm
  2. Alert everyone in the building or the fire safety officers to supervise the evacuation
  3. Call the fire brigade through 000
  4. Leave the building by following the evacuation route
  5. Assemble at the evacuation area and stay there until advised otherwise
  6. When the fire brigade arrives, give details of the fire incident

Fight the Fire When Needed

Photo Credit: Noble Studios

Fighting the fire is a choice to make when it is still controllable and only when you know how to use a fire extinguisher. When doing so, make sure there is a clear pathway to escape. A complete evacuation plan should help employees identify the fire extinguishers and their locations. Stay calm, assess the situation, and call for help. Being confronted by fire is all about making quick decisions and ensuring safety.

Suppress the Flames

If your clothes catch fire when trying to escape or fight it, drop and roll over to extinguish it. This should be part of the fire safety practices aside from learning how to identify the different types of fire extinguishers. The ability to suppress fire depends on how you practice it. Make sure to attend all the fire drills conducted in your workplace or risk your life in the event of a fire.

The process of establishing a good fire safety plan in the workplace takes time and effort, but it is worth the investment when it’s a matter of your business and employees.

Fire Prevention and Emergency Planning in Childcare Centres

Fire Prevention and Emergency Planning in Childcare Centres

There are around 6,700 childcare centres nationwide; all of which have a considerable amount of responsibilities when it comes to preventing fire. Being responsible for it is not a walk in the part, but one should see the significance of fire safety rather than dealing with damages after a blaze. Therefore, practicing basic fire prevention in child care facilities is the way to go.

Standard employee practices, as well as early childhood education, entail the ability to practice safety in places where a fire is likely to occur. For this reason, centres should effectively plan for the following:

Identifying possible emergencies

Potential emergencies that may arise at childcare centres depend on the location and the flammable materials present in the area. If your centre is nearby bushfire prone areas, it is automatically a high risk to everyone in the centre. Therefore, practicing safety procedures against bushfire should be included in the plan. Though childcare centres are urged not to use flammable materials inside the premises, there are certain things unavoidable like gasses for cooking in the kitchen. Additionally, it is a safe practice to prohibit bringing and using dangerous materials like matches, lighters, etc., which should be a substantial part of staff awareness and attention to safety considerations.

Acquiring all the necessary fire equipment

Every childcare centre is required to have a complete set of fire equipment present around the premises. Install fire extinguishers, fire sprinkler systems, fire blankets, fire detectors, alarms, fire exit signs, and lighting. All the appropriate fire systems and equipment can be obtained through the help of a professional technician. The duties of the building safety officer correspondingly include contacting the professional contractor to make risk assessments and ensure all the recommended installations are acquired and kept up to date.

Testing and maintaining

Photo Credit: Au Pair Care

In accordance with Australian Standards AS 1851, all fire protection equipment should be maintained and kept in good working condition. Extinguishers are primarily tested annually for any signs of defects. Similar tests are performed on smoke detectors and alarms. A professional fire safety officer is responsible for conducting assessments on extinguishers and other fire-related equipment. To ensure yellow tags on these equipment show updated testing, always maintain a regular checkup. Exit signage and lighting are also among the implemented installations that need appropriate maintenance.

Training

Practicing safety entails the knowledge of handling fire safety equipment such as the fire extinguisher. The unfamiliarity of fire extinguishers posts high risk to the establishment. As part of the training, staff must learn the basic ways of using fire extinguishers. It is rather learned through the acronym PASS:

P – Pull the pin to unlock the handles

A – Aim at the base of the fire

S – Squeeze handles to discharge suppressant

S – Sweep fire off by turning the nozzle from side to side at the base of the fire

Displaying important information

fire and emergency signsc
Photo Credit: Vidya & Child

An evacuation diagram is usually the easiest way to give clear instructions to staff in the centre. It comprises identifiable icons for “exit” signs and evacuation routes with a minimum instruction for concise and easy understanding. Install them in areas where highly visible, preferably on points where people usually pass by, like the entrance. Aside from this, displaying a list of emergency telephone numbers along with the evacuation diagrams is highly encouraged. Mostly considered important are the fire brigade, ambulance, and police.

Evacuation planning

Childcare evacuation drill
Photo Credit: army.mil

During emergencies, fighting fire isn’t always the priority. In fact, evacuating to a safe area is a primary practice in emergency planning. The best way to teaching fire safety to children is through a game or a fun exercise. Teach them to “STOP, DROP and ROLL” if their clothing catches fire, while “GET DOWN LOW, AND GO, GO, GO” is for evacuating a blazing area. It is equally necessary to include a pre-planned designated evacuation area accessible to all daycare staff and students.

Preparing evacuation pack

Children are best given the confidence that they are ready for any fire emergency. Part of it is having an evacuation pack with all their necessities like a basic first aid kit, water, nappies, blanket and parents’ contact numbers. As much as possible, keep them in accessible places or store them where the assembly area is located.

Accidents are not scheduled and foreseeable. Best practices are significantly made to implement the safest ways to prevent fire. If you have any concerns and questions regarding the safety of your childcare centre, do not hesitate to contact us so we can give you the best advice.