The tragic Grenfell Tower fire in London on Wednesday, 14 June 2017 has vital, life-saving lessons for everyone who lives and works in a multi-storey building in Australia.
Fire Safety Audit
The first step is for communities to commission a fire safety audit – especially vital in buildings that are more than just a few years old, which may not have been built to modern safety codes.
An annual fire safety audit will cover:
While Queensland law may not require a Fire Safety Audit, it is a legal requirement that as an owner, you are responsible for ensuring that your building complies with the relevant building fire safety legislation at all times.
Commissioning a professional fire safety audit by a qualified person is a prudent move which fulfils your obligation and gives you and your community peace of mind.
In the meantime, the Queensland Fire & Rescue service has an excellent checklist to follow.
Fire And Evacuation Plan
Queensland’s Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 says Class 2 Unit buildings (buildings with a height of 25 metres, which is about six or seven storeys) must have a written Fire and Evacuation Plan.
Ensuring a common area Fire and Evacuation Plan for the entire building is the responsibility of the Managing Entity (Body Corporate).
This plan includes:
Fire Safety Advisor
In addition, the legislation states that owners in these class 2 buildings must appoint and train a Fire Safety Advisor (FSA).
A FSA is a person who holds a building fire safety qualification for an approved building fire safety course, issued within the last 3 years.
The approved building fire safety course comprises 8 units of competency in Workplace Emergency Response within the Australian Quality Training Framework. They are:
Safety Is Your Responsibility
The best legislation and building materials in the world is useless unless individual lot owners and tenants take personal responsibility for themselves and the community they live in.
Fortunately there are simple and practical steps that every person can take every day to help prevent tragic loss of life in a high rise fire.
High-rise apartment fires – evacuate or not? – https://www.fmmagazine.com.au/sectors/high-rise-apartment-fires-%E2%80%93-evacuate-or-not/
London’s Grenfell Tower disaster: how did the fire spread so quickly? – http://www.propertyobserver.com.au/forward-planning/investment-strategy/property-news-and-insights/71724-grenfell-tower-disaster-how-did-the-fire-spread-so-quickly.html
London tower block tragedy ‘could happen here in the blink of an eye’ – https://www.domain.com.au/news/london-tower-block-tragedy-could-happen-here-in-the-blink-of-an-eye-20170615-gwrm9v/