Effective management of your site
Owners and their representatives must ensure that their fire alarm system and the entire site it protects is managed effectively to provide fire safety and to mitigate unwanted false alarms.
In developing management systems, the challenge is to 'think outside the square' to foresee any possible problems and implement prevention strategies before a false alarm occurs.
The management of your site may include the following:
Appointment of a responsible person
Does your building or site have an appointed person responsible to oversee the management of the fire alarm system?
Appointing someone to manage the fire alarm system has proved to assist in reducing unwanted false alarms. Personnel that have been appointed to this role include:
- site engineers
- building managers
- fire wardens
They should be motivated, authoritative, and receive training in all aspects of your fire alarm system and monitoring equipment.
Procedures for visitors including sub-contractors
Can builders, tradespeople, cleaners, or others enter your site at will, or do you have procedures in place to control their egress?
Smoke detectors activate from dust, heat, fumes, etc. that are the common product of trade activities, and so it may be necessary for specific zones or circuits of the fire alarm system to be isolated prior to work commencing. Managing an isolated alarm is a priority when this occurs.
When managing an isolated alarm always use minimum isolation methods. When isolating an alarm or individual inputs or zones or circuits, please consider these actions:
- advise all building occupants, especially chief fire warden and floor wardens,
- advise all building occupants they should ring 000 for emergencies
- provide 24 hour security or a responsible person from the building to monitor
the fire alarm system and area of isolation
- install a notice at entrances
- in the event of an emergency, nominate a representative to meet the fire services on arrival
inform all building occupants when the fire alarm system is back on line.
Depending on the length and purpose of isolation, an isolation may amount to a disconnection in which case a building permit is required.
Procedures can be implemented to protect your fire alarm system from generating these types of unwanted false alarms.
Education and training of personnel
For personnel responsible for the fire alarm system training should include:
- correct testing procedures
- correct isolation procedures
- liaison with fire maintenance company
For all staff and occupants of the site, education should include:
- overview of the fire alarm system, including detector types and positions
- information on which activities and conditions are likely to activate the fire alarm system
- information on policies and procedures that may affect the fire alarm system
False alarm prevention should form part of all new employees’ orientation programs. Our brochure Living with a Fire Alarm System may be of assistance.
Evaluation of your detector positions, type and calibration levels
Detector types (e.g. smoke, thermal) should be chosen to suit the environment and must comply with Australian Standards. You should also consider
- the calibration or sensitivity of the detectors may need to be adjusted.
- the position of detectors
See also Evaluation of your system
Note: If you wish to modify any part of your fire alarm system, all changes must be approved by a registered building surveyor. We suggest you advise your insurance company of any intended changes.