Australian Standards 1851 (AS 1851) sets out the rules and regulations that ensure building owners are compliant in meeting the safety standards imposed on fire protection systems. The guidelines help to ensure all state and Occupational Health & Safety rules are met so the building owner can be sure they are compliant with all applicable laws.
AS 1851-2012 is a routine preventative maintenance standard. The Standard does not require fire protection systems to be upgraded. The focus is on demonstrating that the fire protection equipment and systems installed in the building at the time of approval are still ‘fit for purpose’.
There is a wide range of fire protection equipment used in a single building to maintain fire safety standards. Hose reels, extinguishers, fire doors, smoke and gas vents, smoke alarms, alarm signalling equipment and sprinklers are just part of the list of equipment used in a typical building. Each and every one of these items must be inspected in order for it to be compliant with AS 1851.
Many businesses owners watch fire service technicians walk in and out every months 6 months tagging the fire protection equipment and wonder why they get charged for someone to walk around and crimp a yellow tag.
As a business owner what should you expect from your fire technician?
According to AS 1851, fire extinguisher test and refill services should occur at the following intervals:
All portable and wheeled fire extinguishers must be tested every 6 months.
Pressure testing and refills should be carried out at least once every 5 years.
Records and dates of the tests should be kept on the metal tag attached to each extinguisher.
A fire technician should be checking your fire extinguishers by taking it off the wall and conducting a visual inspection for any cracks or imperfections in the cylinder lining, as well as any corrosion that might indicate the need for a replacement cylinder.
PRM Fire recently conducted an audit of a building’s fire safety systems & while checking a fire extinguisher, we found that the extinguisher had a missing discharge locking pin. The lack of this pin would mean that this extinguisher would be unusable in an emergency situation. It was evident that the previous servicing company had just crimped the yellow tag without visually inspecting the extinguisher/
According to the AS1851, every 6 months your fire safety technician should ensure that the fire blanket is:
In its assigned location
Has not been used and reinstalled
Correct signage has been installed
Has a yellow service tag
The correct size selection of a fire blanket is also important. A one x one metre fire blanket might be suitable for a residential stove top fire, but it will not be sufficient in containing a fire in a commercial kitchen.
Fire Hose Reels
Fire technicians should be deploying the entire length of fire hose reel while carrying out every inspection.
During PRM Fire’s inaugural audit for a new customer , the fire technician started to roll out the hose reel and after deploying around 17 metres (of the 36 metre hose) was stopped. A knot was discovered in the hose that prevented it from being fully deployed. (see photo right).
You need this equipment to work correctly during a fire emergency. In the case stated above, the knotted hose real would have caused significant delays as people tried to untangle it before they could adequately fight the fire.
AS 1851 sets the standards for all fire technicians and business owners in testing, surveying and performing maintenance on fire protection systems. With these guidelines, business owners can be sure their fire safety equipment meets the state standards for installation and design of the system.
PRM Fire today for an audit of your buildings fire safety systems or for further information, call PRM Fire services Director Matt Vernon on 0413 066 222.