Tips for choosing a fire safety expert

Fire protection is critical in an apartment building, with your appointed contractor expected to undertake visual and physical checks of fire doors, fire extinguishers, fire hydrants and fire hose reels to ensure they are in top condition and working order.

But when faced with three quotes to appoint a new specialist service provider – how do you know what you are looking for?

Especially if there can sometimes only be $1000 difference in price.

Sam Reece, Director of WAAA, recently spoke to Paul Colliver General Manager of Banhams WA, who have been servicing apartments for 10 years, about what is important when evaluating a quote.

“Firstly, check that the company is registered with Fire Protection Australia (FPA) and National Fire Industry Association (NFIA),” Paul recommends.

“This means that the company and staff have access to undertake specific training and remain up to date with industry practices and Australian Standards.”

“Secondly, ask the company if it employs all of its own staff or if they sub-contract at all. This is essential in understanding that you are employing one company and its standards and not a range of other individuals who may not meet this criteria.”

You can also tell if your existing company is doing the right thing with checking your equipment on site.

“There is a yellow ID tag on some equipment (fire hydrants, hose reels fire extinguishers) and this should be date stamped every six months to verify that your supplier has been on site and inspected it in accordance with the Australian Standards,” Paul said.

“You will also find these date tags in sticker form for fire and smoke doors and should be located on the hinge side door edge.”

“Plus, every electrically installed Emergency exit sign should be illuminated. If this is not the case then you need to alert the Strata Manager immediately.

“Also, if you are looking at the Fire Detection Control and Indicating Equipment (FDCIE) and see amber lights on for the General Fault / General Disablement, this is an indication that either planned works are being conducted or there could be a compromise to the fire detection coverage in the building and you should inform the Strata Manager immediately.

“Please do not dismiss these fire precautions, especially as a member of the Council of Owners, because under the new Strata Act you have a due diligence to protect your apartment and its residents and a poor performing fire protection system is a risk that you do not want to take.”

To chat to Paul more about your apartments fire protection you can reach him on 9206 0017.

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