Coronavirus and essential fire safety maintenance

Posted on : Thursday, 26 March 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds, many fire protection businesses have faced uncertainty about their ability to conduct maintenance services due to government-mandated shutdowns and health and safety concerns from building occupants.

FPA Australia's purpose is to enable a safer community where loss of life, injury and damage to property and the environment are eliminated through effective fire protection.

The Association recognises that the maintenance of essential fire safety systems, equipment and features in buildings is critical to the safety of building occupants, property and the environment.

FPA Australia also recognises that we are each responsible for our individual and collective wellbeing.

With this in mind, FPA Australia advocates for the continuity of essential fire safety maintenance by competent fire protection industry professionals across Australia where safe to do so.

 

For the sake of clarity, essential fire safety maintenance includes all work (including routine service activities and repairs) to ensure the reliability, integrity, functionality and performance of essential fire safety systems, equipment and life safety features in a building or structure that have been installed principally for the protection of life or property. 


Unless specifically referenced by Governments, FPA Australia believes that essential fire safety maintenance carried out by the fire protection industry is essential for the health and safety of occupants of buildings from the effect from fire.

In most cases, the legislative responsibility for maintenance of essential fire safety maintenance is a state and territory responsibility.

To achieve this, FPA Australia recommends to governments across all jurisdictions and people responsible for buildings, including building owners, agents and occupiers, that fire protection industry professionals (practitioners and technicians) continue (where it is safe to do so) to undertake essential fire safety maintenance.

To help meet these obligations, fire protection industry professionals should prepare and undertake the following;

 

  1. Conduct a  toolbox talk for workers on infection control procedures;
  2. Conduct a Risk and Hazard Analysis for each workplace; and
  3. Prepare a  Safe Work Method Statement for essential fire safety maintenance that covers infection prevention and control.

 

FPA Australia continues to work with legislators to advocate on behalf of the fire protection industry, building owners, agents of owners and occupiers to ensure buildings are safe from the effects of fire.

Where the risk to health and safety adversely affects the ability of fire protection industry professionals to undertake essential fire safety maintenance, FPA Australia advocates a common-sense approach from Government in respect to statutory obligations and associated penalties for maintenance that may be set out in legislation in each jurisdiction.

For more information visit the FPA Australia coronavirus response hub.