FPA Australia coronavirus response

Posted on : Friday, 20 March 2020

In response to the coronavirus crisis, Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) is implementing a strategy to reduce risk to industry members and staff, ensure service continuity and support members in this challenging time.

 

 

Moving events and meetings online

 

In line with advice from health authorities, we are moving all events, meetings and training online wherever possible. As per the announcement last week, the Fire Australia Conference and Tradeshow 2020 has been cancelled.

 

We are currently working on a calendar of technical events to be delivered as webinars over coming months, helping you stay up to date and meet your CPD requirements.

 

The migration of in-person accreditation and training activities to online delivery is being fast-tracked. Technical Committee and Local Coordinating Committee meetings will also be taking place electronically.

 

As we make the transition online, extra precautions are being taken where in-person events are still being held, with limited numbers of attendees, additional cleaning and greater spacing of seating.

 

 

Support for members

 

Over the last few days, FPA Australia has received many enquiries about the onset of coronavirus and its implications for the fire protection industry, particularly for routine servicing and associated annual certificate reporting.


In particular, FPA Australia is aware of the following occurring:

 

  1. Restricted access to practitioners/technicians from entering buildings to undertake routine service of fire protection systems/equipment and/or subsequent issue of an Annual Certificate. 
  2. Employees expressing concerns about their safety when providing services. Areas of concern relate to the servicing/ assessment of residential, health care, aged care, or education facilities, or buildings with designated restrictions. Access to sole occupancy units (SOU) pose particular problems for practitioners. 
  3. Employers are trying to meet their own OHS responsibilities to their staff while at the same time delivering on their commitment to protect the community and meet their contractual obligations. 

 

As a result, FPA Australia has written to the relevant Ministers in each jurisdiction seeking a response that:

 

  • Recognises that these issues are occurring and create valid reasons for circumstances where routine service is unable to occur. 
  • Emphasise that routine service should continue to occur where possible but where not possible making provision for suitable delays in routine services and leniency on offences or penalties. 

 

These are difficult times for all Australians as we all respond to the COVID-19 pandemic but we hope that these letters prompt government to recognise these concerns and will provide much needed clarity to the fire protection industry, building owners, building occupiers, and community.

 

For your reference, you can read the letters sent to the Ministers here: TAS, WA, NSW, QLD, ACT, NT, VIC, SA.

 

We will also be sharing information about government stimulus packages, business services, and other support that fire protection businesses may be able to access during the crisis.

 

 

Service continuity

 

The Association is examining its own risks in relation to Coronavirus and is taking steps to ensure we are still able to deliver products and services to the industry as the crisis progresses, while protecting our own staff.

 

We have implemented a non-essential travel ban for staff, increased cleaning practices in our offices, and developed a working from home strategy to reduce staff exposure.

 

We encourage all members to stay abreast of the latest recommendations from health authorities, to identify practices they can implement within their own workplaces.

 

We will be keeping you informed as the situation develops, and look forward to seeing you all online, if not in person, as we face this unprecedented situation together.