According to the regulations laid down in South Africa’s building regulations and the by-law relating to community fire safety, all buildings must be designed, constructed and equipped in case of a fire:
* The protection of occupants or users, including persons with disabilities inside is ensured and that provision is made for the safe evacuation of such occupants or users.
* The spread and intensity of such fire within such building and the spread of fire to any other building will be minimised.
* Sufficient stability will be retained to ensure that such building will not endanger any other building. Provided that in the case of any multi-storey building no major failure of the structural system shall occur.
* The generation and spread of smoke will be minimised or controlled to the greatest extent reasonably practicable; and
* Adequate means of access and equipment for detecting, fighting, controlling and extinguishing such fire is provided.
Compliance with fire legislation is not limited to buildings. Legislation applicable to vacant properties (possible fire hazards), provision of fire breaks and vehicles transporting dangerous goods (dangerous goods certification) is also covered in the abovementioned by-law.
It is important to note that the term ‘buildings’ in the above legislation includes brick and mortar structures and liquid petroleum gas installations and storage facilities, as well as under- and above-ground fuel tank installations (petrol, diesel, paraffin, etc), temporary structures (marquee tents) and fixed fire installations (sprinklers).
Fire risk assessments remove and reduce the risk of fire in the workplace. Your fire risk assessment should be reviewed and updated continuously to keep it a live document. In particular, it should be updated following any change in premises, processes or the number of people employed, or if you have had a near miss or a real fire. It is good practice to review it at intervals not exceeding 12 months.
For more information contact Chubb Security South Africa, +27 (0)11 761 7000, www.chubb.co.za
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