Queensland’s fire safety regulations state that occupiers of certain buildings must appoint a Fire Safety Adviser (FSA). An FSA is someone who holds a recent qualification, less than three years old, in building fire safety. An adviser’s role involves providing or arranging for first response evacuation instruction, and evacuation co-ordination.
FSAs must be appointed within eight classes of high-occupancy buildings. Employers in Brisbane or regional QLD who have 30 or more workers within the same building, or those who occupy a building taller than 25m from ground level, have a legal obligation to appoint an Adviser – either from within or outside the organisation.
. The eight classes of high-occupancy building are:
• Class 2 – where 2 or more residential apartments or units are present.
• Class 3 – the residential section of a motel, hotel or resort.
• Class 5 – an office building.
• Class 6 – a shop or another part of a hotel.
• Class 7b – a storage facility or display area.
• Class 8 – a factory or laboratory.
• Class 9a – a health care building such as a hospital.
• Class 9b – an assembly building such as a nightclub.
Fire Safety Advisers have to undergo some theoretical and practical training in building fire safety. This includes the following:
• Identifying, preventing and reporting potential emergency situations in the workplace.
• Ensuring that emergency prevention procedures are implemented.
• Managing and monitoring emergency procedures and equipment.
• Responses to workplace emergency situations.
• Leading, managing, and operating as part of an emergency control organisation.
• Confining smaller emergencies in the workplace.
Once qualified, Fire Safety Advisers might be involved in:
• The development and review of the workplace Fire and Evacuation Plan, and Evacuation Sign and Diagram.
• Monitoring maintenance schedules and records.
• Provide a point of contact with Queensland Fire and Rescue Services ( QFRS ), including for building inspections.
• Advising of building regulation breaches with regard to fire safety.
• Advising employees of general evacuation instructions and first response instructions.
• Running drills and practice sessions and keeping training records.
• Reviews of emergency management procedures.
• Leading building occupants to exits and to a safe assembly point in an emergency situation, and checking for numbers of occupants and reporting any that are missing.
It’s important for businesses to know exactly what their obligations are for an FSA.
FSAs need to be very clear on procedures in the event of fire, including knowing where equipment is kept and how to operate it, where exits are located and they should be aware of the operation how fire warning systems such as alarms, and fire protection systems such as sprinklers, work.
Ultimately, the responsibility for fire safety rests with the main building occupier, which in the case of a workplace would be the employer. However, the role of the FS adviser is extremely important in keeping on top of fire safety in the building, reducing risk, and helping to ensure the safety of everyone in an emergency.