Whether it’s business premises, a family home, hospital or any building type, fire safety equipment is a must. Not only do buildings need to be equipped with the necessary gear to extinguish, prevent or suppress a fire, that equipment needs to remain in top working order to be effective.
The Australian summer can be harsh in most parts of the country. The heat can take a toll on everything, including your fire safety equipment. With this in mind, let’s look at some handy tips on protecting your fire safety equipment during the summer heat.
Don’t Store Fire Safety Equipment In Direct Sunlight
It’s no secret that the intense summer sun can be damaging to property of any description and fire safety equipment is no different. Leaving fire extinguishers, fire hose reels, fire blankets, and other fire fighting and suppression equipment in direct sunlight will cause them to deteriorate at a more rapid rate.
Things like hoses can become very dried out and may become brittle over time, a condition that could lead to the hose developing leaks once filled with water and under pressure. Fire hoses, when attached to a fire hydrant, endure far greater water pressure than any standard garden hose, so they need to remain in top working order so they don’t fail when they’re needed.
When it comes to fire extinguishers, they should be stored out of direct sunlight whenever possible. Fire extinguishers are equipped with a hose and plastic parts, in addition to the metal can that holds the extinguishing fluid. Once again, prolonged direct exposure to sunlight can cause the hose and those plastic parts to become brittle. If this happens and the extinguisher has to be put into action during an emergency, it may malfunction or work ineffectively.
Keep Fire Safety Equipment As Cool As Possible Indoors
While direct sunlight can generally cause the most damage and deterioration to fire safety equipment, gear stored indoors and out of direct sunlight also needs to be kept as cool as possible.
Some commercial premises have mezzanine levels located directly below a metal roof. The heat generated in these areas can sometimes be stifling and this heat can also potentially cause damage to fire safety equipment.
As much as possible, store fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment lower down toward the ground so it’s not subjected to such extreme temperatures. Installing whirlybirds in a metal roof allows that build-up of hot air a chance to escape and will keep the temperature down to a more reasonable level. Insulating that ceiling is also a wise idea. Premises that are air-conditioned will prolong the lifespan of fire safety equipment, so storing what you can in an air-conditioned environment during summer will also help.
Have Your Fire Safety Equipment Inspected and Serviced During Summer
The best way to ensure your fire safety equipment is in pristine condition during a long hot summer is to have your premises periodically inspected by fire safety professionals. They know how to look after the equipment better than you do and will be able to offer sound advice for your individual needs.
To begin with, fire and smoke alarms will be checked to determine they are in good working order, as early warning systems are the first line of defence when it comes to fire safety. Different states in Australia can have slightly different regulations regarding fire alarms, so check the legislation for your state. For example, regulations for a fire alarm NSW is a term you could search. In any event, your fire safety professional service will know what the regulations are and can help your business be compliant.
Other things a fire safety expert will check are your fire sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, other important gear such as a fire axe or fire blanket, fire hoses, and everything else your premises contain relating to fire safety and prevention.
Your fire safety officer will also offer up advice on keeping your equipment cool during the heat of summer.
Having fire safety equipment ready and in good condition in case of an emergency is just as much about having peace of mind as anything else, so book in for an inspection of your fire safety gear this summer.