Shopping Centre: Do my external facing shops require occupant warning?

Earlier today, I received a telephone call from the Centre Manager for a Shopping Centre asking for advice in regard to emergency warning. The questions went along the lines of;

"Do I need to install additional speakers outside the outward facing retailers on the perimeter of the shopping centre?"

To answer this question, we need to refer to the National Construction Code / Building Code of Australia (BCA) and any related Australian Standards.

Evacuation Tones in Aged Care Facilities

AS 1670.4-2004Almost every day we receive a telephone call or email from the public asking what appears to be a simple question about fire protection.

Over the weekend, I received the following email from 'Alan' asking about the operation of an emergency warning system;

Has there been any recent changes to the alert sequence; alert,evac then voice over. we have been told that the system must go direct to voice over {evacuate evacuate} this would cause serious problems in the aged care industry.

Before I answer the question, it is important that we go over a couple of background issues;

Can steam operate a smoke detector?

I received an email (below) from a customer (MB) who had experienced an alarm, likely caused by steam from a shower in a washroom.

From: MB
Sent: Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Subject: Smoke detector

Hi Russ,

We had a fire alarm last week in toilet/wet area due to pressure hosing. Evidently it was a smoke detector set off due to water mist.

Could you please provide feedback whether thermal detectors suffer potential false activations from minor water spray or if this is really only likely from smoke detectors?

Can I enclose an existing fire panel behind a door?

This week seems to be full of questions which have needed a bit of research in order for me to respond... Here is the hot question today...

Hi Russ,

I have an existing building with a fire panel, connected to the fire brigade and an emergency warning & Intercommunication system (EWIS) located in the foyer on the ground floor. The panels are hidden behind a set of labelled bi-fold doors.

We would like to enclose this space for use as a small office and keep the fire panels in the same location.

What codes and standards apply and can this be achieved?


Five types of Smoke Detector!

Recently I updated our internal training module titled "Smoke Detectors 101". These training modules are available only to Maintenance Essentials employees and official Partners.

Each of these training modules are bite sized and designed to be easily read in about 30 minutes.

This article is an extract from this training module...