Fire safety inspections are a non-negotiable, even during this pandemic. Here are four reasons why they must continue.
- Less false alarms
Dust can build up on sensors, causing false alarms. The cost of one false alarm could easily be more than the cost of your next scheduled maintenance visit.
- Your insurance coverage may require it.
The Insurance Council of Australia has just reminded building owners and managers that fire safety inspections and testing “are a requirement of many commercial and strata-title insurance policies and failure to conduct routine fire protection service and maintenance could effect a building’s insurance coverage.[i]”
“This is especially important at the moment, with risk-profiles changing due to social-distancing, business shutdowns and work-from-home arrangements. [ii]”
“Many office buildings or commercial premises are unoccupied or have few workers, so maintenance issues that might normally be detected are more likely to be missed, creating the potential for electrical fires. [iii]”
- It is a regulatory requirement that may leave you and your company liable.
“National Fire Industry Association CEO Wayne Smith said by failing to undertake inspections, testing and maintenance in accordance with legal requirements, businesses or property owners could leave themselves open to fines and litigation[iv]”.
For example, we have seen correspondence from the Sydney Council confirming that they will not be issuing fines for late AFSS’s until 29 June 2020 only for “buildings where representatives have contacted the City to advise of difficulties in complying with the requirement to provide an AFSS due to the Covid-19 crisis.”
“The City strongly recommends and expects that routine fire safety servicing and assessment continues where possible.”
Building managers or owners are encouraged to seek legal advice as to their personal liability should they choose to postpone fire safety inspections or maintenance of a fire protection system. Of course, the cost of legal advice you’d bet your home on – could be more expensive than doing the right thing!
- It would only be worse if there is a fire.
Sure, we’d all hope that your fire protection system will still do its job if you skip an inspection and there is a fire. But imagine for a minute, if it did not?
Even if you get a letter from your insurance company stating that you do not need your fire safety inspections done (good luck with that) – are you under insured? Is your income insured for the 2 years it might take to re-build? If you are out of business for two years, are your competitors going to permanently take all your customers?
Is your stock and equipment adequately covered? Are your files backed up off-site? What special things are there in the building that money can’t buy? Do you have coverage to pay wages for the two years that it may take to re-build? How long will it take to find new tenants?
The situation only gets clearer in this scenario. During this pandemic era, record numbers of people are working from home. The Government is very concerned about the mental health and domestic violence impacts of home-isolation[v]. These factors increase the risk of both deliberate and accidental fires in residential buildings.
Obviously, with more people working from home, more lives will need to be saved by your fire protection system.
So there are 4 reasons fire safety inspections must continue despite COVID. Click here or call 1300 340 210 for a free site visit and safety quote.
[i].Insurance Council of Australia News Release, “Maintaining building fire safety checks is essential during COVID-19.”
[v] Australian Government Department of Health Release, https://www.health.gov.au/news/11-billion-to-support-more-mental-health-medicare-and-domestic-violence-services