The Importance of Photoelectric Smoke Alarms in the Home
Most homes in Australia are equipped with a serviceable Smoke Alarm. These fall into two categories, Photoelectric and Ionisation Smoke Alarms.
There is a significant difference between how Photoelectric and Ionisation Smoke Alarms function.
Both of these Smoke Alarms are legally utilised in homes across Australia as they are manufactured and meet the requirements of Australian Standards.
Ionisation Smoke Alarms were once effective when building materials and furnishings were manufactured primarily from timber.
Modern homes now contain mostly manufactured synthetic materials and the onset of a smouldering fire which produces hazardous smoke can create an environment with highly toxic properties.
However, Photoelectric smoke alarms are far more beneficial to safety in the home as they can detect a smouldering fire long before flames are produced, this provides occupants with the chance to detect and investigate a fire in its early stages and allowing significant time for evacuation if required.
Do you have any questions about the supply and installation or testing of Photoelectric Smoke Alarms in a residential building?
Let us be your Solution. Contact Survival Solutions today via our Facebook page, or call us on 4351 0210 for more information.
The PASS Method
The Alliance of Equipment Maintenance and Certification
When a building is approved for construction, the owner of the proposed building, architect and fire safety consultant and at times engineers, will establish the use and size of the proposed building.
It is this use and size that determines what fire safety measures are to be installed. These measures form the fire safety schedule which establishes the required fire safety measures, such as extinguisher, exit lights, fire doors etc. that are required and the minimum standard of performance they must meet.
Read our full report on the compliance requirements and importance of fire safety equipment documentation here.
We often get asked to assess residential strata complexes and units for compliance of smoke alarms.
To the untrained person, or even fire service technician the answer to this question may seem complex, but in reality it is not.
In NSW there are three areas that provide information regarding the requirement of smoke alarms in class 1A, class 2 and class 4 part residential buildings. In order of priority:
- NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations 2000, Part 9, Division 7A, Clause 168B
- National Construction Code E2.2A Clause 3
In the above classes the NSW EPA regs 2000 confirm that the power source for a smoke alarm can be internal (9 volt battery or sealed 10 year lithium) or external 240 volt in accordance with clause 4.9 of AS3786 - 2014 or clause 2.1 of AS3786 – 1993.
The only time a 9 volt or lithium battery smoke alarm would not comply is if the smoke alarms needed to be interlinked when more than one was required, such as two separate levels. In such instances a wireless battery operated or 240 volt would be required.
For further assistance regarding smoke alarm installation, service or replacement contact Survival Solutions on 1300 040 362
Well a lot of history, fun and very fond memories come to an abrupt end last Friday 31 March 2019 as the gates to the NSW Sport and Rec camp on the western shores of Lake Macquarie in Myuna Bay closed.
This facility has housed, educated and provided unbelievable fun and forged friendships for tens of thousands of children from all over NSW for decades. Many of whom are now adults and reading this blog.
From the flying fox, swimming pool, ovals, meals in the mess hall, rock climbing and countless other lake based water activities, kids have experienced it all there.
For some unknown reason late on Friday afternoon the NSW Government became overtly concerned with the potential for Brumadinho, Brazil, where the dam wall collapsed on January 25, 2019 killing 110 people.
It is believed that should a 5.9 magnitude earth quake hit the areas the Eraring power station Ash Dam wall could collapse discharging millions of litres onto the Sport and Rec facility in a matter of minutes, killing all in its wake.
Aside from the potential risk to humans and the closure of this great facility, how in earth can such a facility exist and why has the power station not been responsible to fix it.
One can only guess as to the real reason why this has occurred a few days after the state elections. Could be that it is one of the most valuable pieces of potential residential land in NSW. Who knows, maybe the problem at Eraring will be miraculously resolved and the Sport and Rec land rendered safe for development.
Anyhow, up until last Friday this was one of our great clients and we have been privileged to serve and protect all the staff, family and children that have graced this fantastic facility over the past many years.
UPS stands for Uninterruptable Power Supply which is a backup power supply system that helps prevent the impact from power fluctuations, power surges and brown outs alike, where power supply drops momentarily when the energy demand on the grid is high, such as very hot or cold days when the load on supply is greater. Or in some cases complete power failure due to electrical storms or other situations that impact on the power supply.
Uninterrupted Power Supply Systems (UPSS), are mainly installed to ensure a continuous power supply is maintained for critical business system infrastructure such as computers, online management tools, VOIP phone system and vital medical supplies.
It seems today’s evacuation at Sydney Airport Tower was due to smoke coming from overheated battery’s in uninterrupted power supply systems (UPS). These batteries are often under substantial load and without regular physical inspection and testing can fail. Not only does this have the potential risk of fire and would render any UPS operations, and in the event of a power failure could prove catastrophic. In order to ensure the batteries are operational and not being overloaded it is crucial to have a regular physical inspection resume, which is far superior then a online IT system check.
These are the items that should be checked to avoid a similar failure.
This is what you can expect from us:
- • Physical UPS inspection and clean
- • Inspect battery expiry date, charge and condition
- • Check and adjust display screen & keypad
- • Check auxiliary equipment
- • Check minor and major fan for correct function
- • Check circuit breakers
- • Test system operational functions
- • Check operational alarms
- • Check equip alarms
- • Check output waveform
- • Perform battery discharge and load test
- • Check recharge current rate
- • Update compliance sticker and prepare report
For further info contact Survival Solutions today on 1300 040 362
As a fire service business, Survival Solutions regularly check the operational status of fire doors and find them non-compliant. The obvious question by customers is “Why was it fine when it was installed and the last time it was checked and now its non-compliant?”
Fire doors are designed to be installed in a fire wall where the fire rated integrity of the wall has been interrupted by an opening that allows the passage of people and goods through that wall.
Fire Doors are installed for many different reasons:
- 1. An example would be fire separation of different classes within the same building, such as a residential class 2 (sole occupancy units and common area), being separated from a residential class 7 (carpark).
- 2. Or fire separation of an individual building where two smaller compartments will negate the need for a sprinkler system.
- 3. And then this situation, where there is an external wall with an opening that is too close to adjoining boundary.
Now the question is “Why has my fire door failed?”
Doors can expand and contract with variation in weather and environmental pressure which over time can cause doors to change shape, exceeding gap tolerance, which is 3mm from the frame at the sides and top and 10mm from the floor. External Doors can also be exposed to rain and water getting into the panelling, causing the timber to rot and separate from the fire door material. Others reasons are that people sometimes inadvertently install unproved door hardware that impacts on the function of the door or inhibits it from closing automatically in some circumstances. Most of these issues are minor fixes but at times requires a complete door replacement.
If you have a need for any door repairs or replacement, Survival Solutions has a team of qualified and experienced fire door carpenters ready and willing to assist you or your customers.
Boeing 737 Large Air Tanker (LAT)
PHOTO: The Coulson Aviation "Fireliners" are converted passenger aircraft. (Supplied: Rob Miller/Coulson Group)
The Amazing Facts!
Becoming the first location in the world, Port Stephens released the Boeing 737 LAT to fight a local bushfire last week. The LAT Plane called Gaia was modified and made operational by the Canadian company Coulson Aviation, on contract with The Rural Fire Services to be used as a water bomber.
The craft can carry more than 15,000 litres of water and fire retardant, as well as up to 63 firefighters. Originally tested in the US and the last of 4 then sent to Australia and permanently based in NSW, Gaia is one of 6 Boeing passenger aircrafts converted into LAT’s by the same company, Coulson Aviation, with each valued around 7 million.
There will always be a need for feet on the ground but the LAT's ability to carry massive amounts of retardant is a definite advantage from above. Looking forward to this new assistance in the future.
Please refer to our previous post in regards to understanding what a retardant is (HERE)
What a week!
The Port Stephens bushfire last week was a very concerning event for all locals. Burning between Campvale and Salt Ash, the fire had burnt more than 1900 hectares. More than 250 firefighters worked hard to contain the blaze, from locals to firefighters from surrounding suburbs and afar. Winds blew up to 90km/h making the fight tough, but our firefighters proved their strengths and the fire is now contained.
CURRENT IMPORTANT INFORMATION
The RFS had declared a total fire ban throughout the Hunter Region today. This covers the following areas:
- Lake Macquarie
- Port Stephens
- Upper Hunter
A small Love Note
Sending our Love and Prayers to California
Fire Season has been a tough season for all in the California area, leading to a national disaster to be declared on August 4th 2018. We are being updated day by day in regard to the devastation. Homes have been burnt down, many people are still missing and unfortunately the death toll is rising. It has felt like a never-ending nightmare for far too many people. We send out our love and prayers to California. To the people who have passed, to the people who have survived, to the rescue workers, to every helping hand and every positive thought that the world has sent out. We all stand together, we feel and we care!
The devastating facts:
- CAMP FIRE
- Death toll risen to 77
- 993 people still unaccounted for
- Two thirds of the fire contained, consuming 150,000 acres WOOLSEY FIRE
- 91% contained, burning 96,949 acres
- Death toll 3 people GENERAL INFORMATION
- Damages reach up to $2.975 billion
- Including $1.366 billion in fire suppression costs
- More than 8,000 fire fighters involved
Ayers Rock Roadhouse Fire
Sad news today to hear about last nights fire at the Ayers Rock Roadhouse. RFS and Emergency services attended the scene around 7:15 pm last night on the 31st of July. Located at North Arm Cove west of Hawks Nest on the Pacific Highway. The RFS has stated they had released 18 fire trucks to help fight the fire. Luckily the campground had been evacuated and all children are known to be safe and well! An AFS spokesperson has announced that everyone is accounted for with no injuries. The fire crew battled all night to keep fuel tanks from a nearby fuel station safe while the Ayers Rock structure was completely gutted and reduced down to a shell.
Designed to resemble Ullaru the structure was built in the early 1990’s by the Leyland Brothers who had an amazing vision. Also, a camp was built for children located at the back of the rock “The Great Aussie Bushcamp”. Growing up I was lucky to attend many school camps at “The Rock” which is what I called it as a child. Then to become an adult and move out to the area and use it as my local petrol station. This news is devastating! I clearly remember the canteen in the center where you would gather for dinner. A terrible loss is being felt right now not only by myself but also everyone else who grew up with this local icon.
Here at Survival Solutions, we send out our best to everyone from the young children evacuated to the people who have lost their jobs. Also to the amazing firefighters who spent hours fighting and protecting. Farewell Ayers Rock Roadhouse!
If you own a unit in a strata complex, you are probably scratching your head trying to work out how to come up with the quarterly strata fees, let alone any additional expenses such as fire safety repairs. As an owner of a strata unit I understand your frustration, especially when it comes to the uncertainty around fire safety. With over 25 years fire industry experience, of which 20 have been as the owner of Survival Solutions, I have seen plenty of so called reliable and trustworthy experts come and go. Many of the providers from the past and some still present today, simply don’t understand the complexity associated with building compliance and certification, causing the trust of reputable and experienced businesses to be regularly questioned. At Survival Solutions, we do have the experience and expertise to provide you with a level of certainty when it comes to fire safety management, through our team of experienced and qualified Certified Fire Safety Practitioners (CFSP). If you have doubts about the service you are receiving and think you deserve better, than contact Survival Solutions and let the new and enjoyable journey begin.
Be safe around the home
2016 saw 16 Electrical based fatalities in Australia, which is 16 too many but less than in previous years. We list the main causes of electrical hazards and fire in and around the home. Electricity cannot be seen or heard and is therefore a silent killer. READ MORE
UNINTERRUPTED POWER SUPPLY SYSTEMS Have you ever considered what happens to medical supplies and vaccination when there is a blackout?
We all know what it is like to lose power at the worst times, when it’s hot, cold or during a storm. But have you ever thought what do they do when medical supplies must be kept at a given temperature. There are some simple tips that work well for short term power loss such as:
- • Have ice bricks available wrapped in bubble wrap at the ready
- • Place as sign on the fridge door warning to keep closed
- • Tape the door closed to prevent accidental opening
Chemical Use & Storage Safety
Is your home and shed safe from hazards?
Chemical found around the home can create a lethal cocktail of hazards or everyone, including children, adults and pets. Chemicals are usually stored in garages and workshops and can include: solvents such as turps, kerosene, methylated spirits, paint thinners, swimming pool chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, LPG cylinders, petrol and other fuels. We often don’t apply the same WHS rules around the home that we would at work and as a result serious incidents and accident can occur. Estimates put the number of children under 5 that are admitted to hospital for household poisoning at 4000 per year, with as many as 5 to 10 of these children dying as a result. Chemicals and hazardous materials are often stored in the wrong place and within reach of children. READ MORE
General Home Fire Safety Tips
Year after year many thousands of adults and children perish in house fires, with most dying from inhaling toxic smoke and deadly fumes. Sadly, most household fires are accidental and preventable.
In most cases where people have had house fires they often say “I never thought that would happen to me”. With complacency being a major contributor to house fires. The sad fact is that when it comes to safety around our homes we seem to think differently to the work place, perhaps it is because safety at home is not policed like safety at work, or that we don’t seem to identify and mitigate risk like we would at work.
Contact Survival Solutions for information on all fire safety procedures on 1300 040 362