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FIRE SAFETY
EDUCATION

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NSW

From the NSW DOH – Fire Safety in Healthcare Facilities

6.1 EMPLOYEES
Employees have an obligation under the Occupational Health & Safety Act to familiarise themselves with all fire emergency equipment and facilities within their workplace and participate in the annual fire safety education program.

6.2 EMERGENCY COORDINATORS
Emergency coordinators are those employees that as a part of their normal duties attend and take the lead role at fire and other emergencies at their place of work in line with AS 3745 and AS4083. These standards give different titles to those in charge during an emergency. The roles are essentially the same for Chief Wardens AS3745 and Emergency Coordinators AS4083. These personnel are to undergo additional education from an appropriately qualified person as outlined in Appendix 2.

A Fire Safety Officer/Manager if on site at the time of a fire or other emergency would assist by providing information and advice to the Emergency Coordinator. However, the Emergency Coordinator is the person with overall control of the facilities’ emergency management organisation. The above does not preclude the Fire Safety Officer/Manager from acting in the role of Emergency Coordinator when they are on site and officially appointed by the facilities management to perform this
role.

This training is conducted, as required by industry standards, in accordance with the Public Safety Workplace Emergency Response (WER-006) Chief Warden.

ANNUAL FIRE SAFETY EDUCATION
Healthcare organisations management are responsible for the provision of a suitably qualified person to conduct fire safety education to all employees in line with the relevant components of the competencies as outlined in Section 7.5 and Appendix 2. This education falls into 3 general components: Theoretical, fire fighting equipment and evacuation exercises. All new employees upon commencement and all employees, at least annually, shall participate in the theoretical and practical components. An evacuation exercise/drill shall be carried out in all departments of health care facilities annually.

Where it is not possible for 100% of staff to attend training, a healthcare organisation needs to demonstrate that reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all staff receive training. There should be a policy for managing chronic non-participants in training and drills, with evidence of actions to follow-up. Healthcare facilities and/or buildings where this will apply shall be consistent with the BCA definition below.

From the BCA (Building Code Of Australia)

Health-care building means a building whose occupants or patients undergoing medical treatment generally need physical assistance to evacuate the building during an emergency and includes:
(a) a public or private hospital; or
(b) a nursing home or similar facility for sick or disabled persons needing full time care; or
(c) a clinic, day surgery or procedure unit where the effects of the predominant treatment administered involves patients becoming non-ambulatory and requiring supervised medical care on the premises for some time after the treatment.

Annual Fire Safety / Evacuation education.

8.1 THEORETICAL
Fire and emergency prevention (maintaining a safe working environment), evacuation theory and installed sound systems for emergency purposes.

8.2 PRACTICAL USE OF FIRE FIGHTING EQUIPMENT
A practical demonstration in the operation of the portable fire-fighting equipment. Hands on use should be encouraged where and when practical to do so. Practical instruction should include all equipment located within the employees’ area of work. Including fire extinguishers, fire blankets, fire hose reels, etc.

8.3 EVACUATION EXERCISES
Evacuation exercises/drills shall, as a minimum, involve employees working through a stage 2 evacuation for patient/resident care area employees and full stage 3 evacuation for all other employees. The exercise/drill need not necessarily be on a large scale, although in larger establishments this is desirable. Irrespective of the size of the exercise/drill it should simulate a fire or other emergency situations in order to test the following:

  • Action taken by employees
  • Communication
  • Existing emergency response procedures
  • Installed fire protection systems

 

(1) Exercises/drills in patient care areas need only include primary elements (workshop/walk through exercise). Actual patient transfer and building evacuation are not required. However, the utilisation of employees to act patient/residents for the practice of removal techniques is encouraged, subject to risk assessments and supervision by the site Fire Safety Officer/Manager. The Fire Officer/Manager shall provide instruction and guidance to assist the department/unit to carry out exercises/drills. This training may provide other unique fire safety information relevant to the unit or department receiving the training.

(2) The Private Hospitals Regulation 1996 and Day Procedure Centres Regulation 1996 currently require organisations covered under these regulations to have all employees undergo evacuation exercises once every 6 months. All other health care organisations should have all employees undergo an evacuation exercise at least annually.

(3) Managers shall ensure that new employees receive a departmental orientation specific to their workplace immediately on commencement of duty. Generic fire safety education provided by an FSO should be given to new employees as an integral part of their organisations orientation at the earliest possible opportunity.

(4) All employees who may act in the role of Emergency Coordinator shall complete all components of fire safety education referred to in this section. In addition they shall undergo the additional Emergency Controller components specified in Appendix 2, annually.