A Guide to Fire Safety Equipment Testing Frequency in Child Care Centres

What do Australian Standards expect of you when it comes to fire safety equipment testing in child care centres? When operating a child care centre, building regulations specifically under the AS 1851 sets out fire safety requirements by routine servicing of fire protection equipment and systems. Inclusions are the inspection, testing, preventative maintenance and survey of these units.

The relevant Building Surveyor should specify the use of AS 1851 and test the following systems and equipment:

  • Fire alarm systems
  • Fire sprinkler systems
  • Emergency lighting
  • Exit signs
  • Hose reels
  • Hydrants and fire extinguishers

 

Why do these fire safety installations need an inspection?

 

children pointing out fire alarm
Photo Credit: Bright Horizons

The systems need to maintain a certain functional capacity or condition for effective performance. Fire equipment testing requirements are implemented to maintain the same operational level from its first installation. Inspecting and maintaining these essentials involve the following:

  • Fundamentally, each equipment and system undergoes a periodical maintenance check by an Australian Standards certified technician.
  • An Essential Safety Measures Report will be issued annually for an official record of all maintenance checks and corresponding actions taken for each. This is used for reference material especially when there are faulty equipment during a fire.
  • There are usual wear and tear conditions expected to arise, which affect the quality of these systems. Replacements of emergency lighting batteries, adjustment of pressure for fire extinguishers and other natural changes on them are some of the actions to be taken.
  • The inspections help ensure paths of travel are free from obstruction, portable fire extinguishers are well positioned and fire protection supplies are maintained.

 

How often are fire protection equipment tested in child care centres?

In finding solutions to safeguard childcare facilities, building owners should take note of the maintenance frequency of these basic fire safety equipment and systems.

Exit Signs

These signs serve as directions to aid occupants towards the exit. Albeit being the lowest level of maintenance required, ensuring its function can go a long way. The recommended frequency for its maintenance is every six months.

Emergency Lighting

 

emergency lighting in child care centre
Photo Credit: Barrie.ca

Emergency lighting is highly significant in the evacuation process especially when the main light source is out. In order to keep it functioning well, it should be checked every six months by an accredited fire safety technician. Included in the inspection is the checking of batteries, battery chargers, inverters, distribution and control equipment, lights and exit signs.

Portable Fire Extinguishers

As a main firefighting equipment and a primary tool for suppressing fire in its first stage, this will need a more thorough maintenance every six months.

Sprinkler System

This system is designed to automatically respond to fire through water flow in a full-time standby mode. Its performance level may decrease if not regularly maintained, preferably every week when needed or every six months. The sprinkler system maintenance program should be in conjunction with the testing of the fire alarm system to ensure they are precisely interfaced.

Smoke and Heat Alarm System

 

fire alarm system in childcare
Photo Credit: brettman273

As mentioned above, the alarm systems are required to be inspected in conjunction with the sprinkler system because they work together in the emergency management and evacuation stages. For this reason, a six-month interval routine is required for these systems to ensure its maximum potential.

Fire Hose Reels and Fire Mains

This is necessary to enable reach along every floor in the building, especially for buildings with multiple storeys. It will need maintenance check at six-monthly intervals. One of the most important parts of the inspection is checking if there are no leaks in at least 5 ml of water while it is running through the hose reel for a three-minute period. Leakage will significantly affect the hose performance.

The need for regular fire equipment inspection draws attention to the very core of maximum safety practices around Melbourne. Do not fall behind the safety standards and be sure to take safety practices to its highest point with the help of our fire safety technicians.

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