Changes to CFA & MFB Act - Damage or Interfere with Fire Indicator Panel or other apparatus!

Emergency Services Legislation Amendment Act 2012 (Vic) was proclaimed in Victoria on December 1, 2012. Amongst the many changes to Victorian law were two amendments to the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 (Vic)1 and the Metropolitan Fire Brigades Act 1958 (Vic)2 that now make it illegal to damage or interfere with a fire indicator panel or other apparatus.

The main purposes of the changes to the Country Fire Authority Act 1958; and the Metropolitan Fire Brigades Act 1958 are to "reflect current organisational arrangements and clarify the command structures applying at fires, to increase penalties and create new offences to mitigate risks that undermine effective emergency response and community safety and to modernise outdated provisions”

Firewize has prepared a review of the changes and how they affect building owners, agents of owners, and people working on fire systems connected to the Fire Brigade via Alarm Signalling Equipment. In summary, any person who (without reasonable cause) damages or interferes with the operation of a fire indicator panel or other apparatus may be subject to considerable fines.

In essence, the changes to both sets of legislation are the same between both the CFA and the MFB. So for the remainder of this article, a reference to one is a reference to both sets of legislation.

Broadly the legislation states;

Damage or interference with fire indicator panel or other apparatus

  1. A person must not, without reasonable excuse, damage or interfere with a fire indicator panel.
    Penalty: 60 penalty units.
  2. For the purposes of subsection (1), interference with a fire indicator panel includes any action that causes the transmission of the signal from the fire indicator panel to be isolated, disconnected or disabled.
  3. Subsection (1) does not apply to an officer or employee of the Authority who is acting in the exercise of any power or in the performance of any duty conferred or imposed under this Act.
  4. If a fire indicator panel detects a fire and sounds an alarm, a person must not, without the consent of the Authority or reasonable excuse, reset the fire indicator panel.
    Penalty: 60 penalty units.
  5. In this section- fire indicator panel includes any apparatus designed to detect a fire or other emergency conditions and transmit the signal of that detection to the Authority either directly or via an approved monitoring provider.

Like any legislation, it has been drafted to ensure it has broad application however provides a number of questions, most notably the definition of "without reasonable excuse"...

So if your a building owner, agent of an owner or contractor, you must understand the implications of these amendments and make changes to your business processes accordingly.

Firewize reviews our business processes and procedures periodically and implements training and changes to help minimise risk and maximize the reliability of fire protection systems.

To learn more about our review of the amendments to both the Section 106A of the CFA Act and Section 75B of the MFB Act, contact our Customer Support Team and request a copy of our Good Practice Guide "GPG - Fire Brigade Penalties for Damage or Interference to a Fire Indicator Panel or other Apparatus"

  • 1. Country Fire Authority Act 1958 (Vic) - Section 106A
  • 2. Metropolitan Fire Brigades Act 1958 (Vic) - Section 75B
4.333335
Average: 4.3 (3 votes)
Your rating: None