Fire Safety Measures
Since the Lacrosse Building fire incident in Southbank, Melbourne in 2014. Victoria has heightened their safety regulations and encouraged the people living in apartment buildings to think ahead and be prepared in the event of a fire.
It is important to know your fire obligations when living inside an apartment building and it all comes down to your general housekeeping and behaviour.
Owners & Residents Fire Safety Obligations
Sienna Apartments sustained a balcony fire in late 2017 due to a Resident hoarding rubbish on their balcony and placed a used cigarette that was still ignited in their rubbish bin. The fire caused significant damages to the Owners balcony and produced momentous amounts of smoke that damaged the surrounding apartments.
So, how do we prevent such incident from happening again at ALT & Sienna?
The Owners Corporation have an obligation under the Building Act 1993 to ensure all Common Area exits and paths of travel to exits are kept readily accessible, functional and clear of obstructions. They also ensure that all essential safety measure equipment is maintained so that it operates satisfactorily in accordance with the Building Code.
But wait, this only covers the Common Property areas, Fire Detection System & Fire Sprinkler & Hydrants etc.
What about the inside of your apartment?
As an Owner of the apartment it is legally your responsibility to ensure fire safety measures are maintained and in accordance with the code.
Victorian law states that smoke alarms (complying with Australian standards AS 3786) must be installed in all homes, units, flats and townhouses. It is the legal responsibility of all owners and landlords to install working smoke alarms (MFB). It is essential that Owners are aware of this law and to ensure your safety within the premises. The Automatic Fire Detection System is only located on the Common Property and will notify the residents if there is a fire within the apartment until the smoke disperses in to the corridors.
Another issue found within apartments and balconies is accumulation of possessions which results in an abnormally high fuel load and greater opportunity for ignition.
This is called ‘hoarding’ and is a progressive and chronic condition. Fires in hoarding apartments increase the risk for the occupant, their neighbours and firefighters and may increase the risk of affected people in other kinds of emergencies in their home.
So, what can you as a Resident or Owner do to mitigate a fire from Occurring? Earlier we mentioned that these incidents occur from housekeeping and behavioural patterns. Here are some tips to make our buildings a safer place to live:
Prioritise removing clutter from around cooking area and stove tops as 39 per cent of fires in hoarding homes result from cooking
Regularly check smoke alarms in your apartment are working
Do not store combustible waste in your apartment or on your balcony
Do not block or obstruct any fire doors – this is your front door and the stair well doors
Ensure no storage, combustible materials or flammable liquids are stored in your storage cage or car space
Keep a fire blanket or fire extinguisher in your apartment
Do not throw your cigarette butts out of the window or off your balcony– use an ashtray and extinguish properly
Common Area Requirements & Rules:
Keep hallways clear to avoid obstructing people needing to exit the building
Keep fire stairs and landings clear and never store items there
Keep your apartment door closed at all times
Do not smoke in the building
Do not smoke anywhere near an exit
Be familiar with the fire safety evacuation plan located on each level