A child care centre is supposed to be fun, educational, and most of all, safe. A fire incident is the very last thing any parent or a childcare centre owner wants. Fire safety in child care setting must be a high priority for the safety of every child and staff, it’s crucial that you have a fire safety plan which includes child care staff fire safety training just in case a fire must occur.
In line with this, a child care centre is required to have a regular testing and maintenance of fire safety equipment such as fire extinguisher testing and inspection following a strict schedule. Australian standards state that a sticker must indicate maintenance records by a certified inspector. The certification procedure includes the following:
- Conformity to strict standards of safety rules
- Meticulous testing for ensuring quality of equipment
The current maintenance schedule for fire safety equipment and servicing fire extinguishers according to the Australian Standards requires certain levels of service to be performed at the mandated intervals.
- Level 1: 6 monthly: Require visual inspection tasks to be performed.
- Level 2: Annually: Inspection task as about plus recharging of water and foam extinguishers
- Level 3: 3 yearly: Aggressive environment, Level 4 service brought forward to offset the extinguisher’s exposure to extreme weather or harsh conditions
- Level 4: 5 yearly: Pressure testing of the extinguisher vessel
- Level 5: After use: Recharge required.
The fire extinguisher testing requirements entail a comprehensive assessment on each tank to make sure it’s functioning perfectly. A certified fire safety service provider inspects fire extinguishers every six months. Accurately record and track information about every fire extinguisher on your premises. Nevertheless, a building safety officer takes responsibility in doing monthly checkups on these units, primarily doing the following:
- Fire extinguishers are precisely assigned to specific areas where they are accessible during emergencies
- Each part of the equipment is examined for any signs of obstruction and missing parts
- Physical damages should be immediately reported to a professional fire safety technician to determine whether to replace or fix it. Possible damages are leakage, corrosion, and clogged nozzle.
- The seals indicate untampered equipment and must be kept intact at all times
- Operating instructions should be visible and clearly printed.
- Testing dates must be recorded on the tag to indicate if it is due for inspection
Some of the most notable inspections involve the basics of the unit’s functions and its external influencing factors. Here is a guide to the inspection procedure:
A pressure gauge is responsible for indicating the amount of pressure the extinguisher can use while expelling contents. When it is too low, it functions less than its ability. Therefore, checking the pressure indicator gauge from time to time will definitely help keep it at its best condition. A monthly check by the building’s health and safety officer if fine, but if it indicates a low pressure, a fire technician will have to fix it.
Checking possible hose damages
The hose has to be properly connected to the shell and in perfect condition. Any signs of cracks may still affect the entire functionality of the equipment. Some tiny particles may cause obstruction to the nozzle, building up the pressure in the hose and consequently restricting the contents from releasing properly.
Adjust the bracket
The unit has a supporting bracket that puts it in place by gripping. An incorrectly mounted unit results to release of the extinguisher and further damages such as pressure destabilisation. Fasten the bracket and secure the hanger to ensure the effectiveness of the support fitting.
Signage and Location
Fire extinguishers are ideally placed along pathways and near exits. Signages are expected to be readable and clear from 20m apart and should clearly indicate important instructions. Note that fire extinguishers are mounted at a standard height of at least 200mm between the floor and base of the unit, and a maximum of 1200mm between the floor and the top of the extinguisher. Surrounding areas of the unit shall be clear from obstruction and lastly, the front part must be faced outward.
There is a standard testing process with its accompanying tag that goes for a complete checkup. The absence of this indicates unmanaged equipment and requires a fire safety officer visit to assess.
In completing these tasks, you will ensure that your child care centre is in compliance with fire safety regulations. Most importantly children and staff will be fire safe. FCF Fire & Electrical Salisbury can ensure full fire safety compliance to the highest standard. If you would like to find out more about how we can help you, contact us today.