Site management

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.

Building owners and managers responsibilities.

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:

1.   Apointment of a responsible person

Does your building or site have an appointed person responsible to oversee the management of the fire alarm system?  The NTFRS is aware of a number of companies that have already taken this step - it has proved to be positive in reducing unwanted false alarms.  Personnel that have been appointed to this role include site engineers, building managers and fire wardens and they should be motivated, authoritative, and receive training in all aspects of your fire alarm system and monitoring equipment.

2.   Procedures for visitors including sub-contractors

Can builders, tradespeople, cleaners, etc. 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 a 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 the isolated area is a priority when this occurs.  Procedures should be implemented to protect your fire alarm system from generating these types of unwanted alarms.

3.   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 the 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.

4.   Evaluation of your detector positions, type and calibration levels

Detector types (eg. smoke, thermal) should be chosen to suit the environment and must comply with Australian Standards.  The calibration or sensitivity of the detectors may need to be adjusted.  The possition of the detectors may need to be considered and advances in technology may assist.

If you wish to modify any part of your fire alarm system, all changes must be approved by a registered building certifier.

We suggest you advise your insurance company of any intended changes.