YOUR organisation, its operations and its people are what drive a business and protecting them – as well as your reputation – ensures business continuity.
That’s according to Dean Gopal, Product Manager for Life Safety Division at Eaton, who asked: “If a fire had to break out at one of your buildings would the fire early warning systems and equipment in place be adequate and would employees know where to find the emergency routes and exits?”
He added that the OHS Act requires any building to be inspected four times a year for fire hazards; fire drills to be carried out twice a year; and the fire alarm system to be tested every third month.
Simple fire safety assessments can be done by the appointed fire marshals to ensure basic fire safety measures are adhered to, such as general housekeeping and emergency escape routes are cleared of any obstructions.
Where more in-depth assessments are required, a professional and competent fire engineer would be required to evaluate the current fire risk and compliance to the approved fire rational as approved during construction.
Gopal said a few changes, such as whether hard-of-hearing or disabled team members have been employed since the last assessment was done or if a building been extended or modified in any way, can significantly impact your level of fire safety risk.
“Fire prevention and response strategies should be regularly reviewed and updated. We work closely with our customers to meet the highest of standards, whether sites are stadia, high-rise offices, government buildings, transport hubs, hospitals, retirement homes, industrial facilities or retail and leisure complexes.”
He said Eaton brings decades of expertise in designing and developing fire alarm systems and manufactures a comprehensive range of fire alarm systems.
“Robust fire detection and voice alarm systems are essential to fire safety strategies to prevent catastrophic damage, injury and loss of life. The risks associated with failure – from preventable death to irreparable reputational damage – make the carefully considered design and installation of a fire or voice alarm system a vitally important process.”
He cited Eaton’s VoCALL 16 as an example. It is a loop-driven intelligent digital emergency voice communication system that offers “sophisticated functionality along with simple end user operation”.
According to Gopal, it is designed to allow for easy expansion, with a maximum of 512 outstations in a networked solution can be viewed controlled from one central area. Its loop wiring ensures the system is fault-tolerant with short circuit isolators, and continuous fault monitoring ensures high availability.
A wall-mounted all-in-one box voice evacuation system, such as Eaton’s DAU500, is powerful and flexible, containing a completely integrated voice evacuation system, capable of both standalone (for small systems) and network operation (for larger system expansion).
Gopal believes the best approach is to use the appropriate device for a given situation after having assessed all the risks.
“Looking carefully at the practicalities of any given situation should provide a better understanding of the best fire compliance solutions to implement, taking into account the safety and convenience of your employees.”