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FIRE SAFETY


Performance value


Containment safety (S1) minus Benchmark containment (Sa) Extinguishment safety (S2) minus benchmark extinguishment (Sb)


People movement safety (S3) minus Benchmark Egress (Sc) General safety (S4) minus Occupancy risk (R)


Life safety Severe


Containment safety Extinguishment safety Egress safety General safety


Figure 3: Example of outputs of KPIs for compliance. mechanism is a fire risk ranking process.


Quakers Hill fire In November 2011, a fire at the Quakers Hill Nursing Home in Australia, directly led to the death of 11 elderly residents. The operator, while dealing with the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, instigated a review of fire safety across their national portfolio of properties. The review, headed by the company’s CEO, recognised a need to understand the level of fire safety and make effective and timely decisions to improve fire safety where required. Arup was subsequently appointed to undertake a detailed fire safety assessment of a representative sample of the operator’s 58 aged care facilities around Australia. The audit involved visual inspections,


witnessing testing of active fire safety systems and discussions with the facilities management teams. From these initial audits, some high level ‘quick wins’ were identified that could improve fire safety across the portfolio. These were seen to be realistic actions that could be taken that would provide a direct benefit to the safety of the vulnerable population within these facilities. While the operator set about


‘In November 2011, a fire at the Quakers Hill Nursing Home in Australia, directly led to the death of 11 elderly residents.’


implementing the quick wins, the team developed a Fire Risk Assessment Tool for aged care facilities, utilising the principles of the National Fire Protection Association’s Life Safety Code NFPA 101A, which is primarily developed for healthcare buildings.1 The methodology described in the NFPA


documents was adapted to be specific for aged care facilities in Australia. This included expanding the assessment to include other aspects of fire safety not covered by the NFPA’s simplified approach to include code compliant aspects required in new aged care buildings built to the Australian Building


X


X X


High X


Moderate Low


26 -4


40 50


Benchmark value


39 38


58 3


Result Z(L)


-13 -42


-18 47


Codes as well as to include items such as occupant behaviour and management factors, fire training and emergency response procedures – all factors that contribute to the fire safety strategy for a building, and provide greater resolution in the assessment. Development of the tool drew on


collective experience in fire safety engineering and risk assessments within the firm’s global team, as well as a wider range of literature and statistical data on fire safety in aged care facilities. The basis of the tool had been developed years earlier with input from Building Code Advisors and Melbourne Fire Brigade using a group workshop process to evaluate and score the relative benefits of fire safety measures resulting in a level of robustness and integrity through a consensus of experienced stakeholders. Following inspections of the remainder of


the portfolio of properties, the user of the tool (an experienced fire safety professional) would enter specific information regarding fire risk factors of the building or assessment area. Such factors would include: the number of levels with direct egress to outside; the number of occupants and their mobility; staff numbers to assist in egress; exit paths; and location of local fire service. Each of these factors have varying risk scores which, when selected, combined to provide a risk score for the building or assessment area. Following this, a larger list of fire safety


measures and management processes were incorporated into the tool, to contribute to the overall safety score. Categories included active fire safety


measures, such as sprinklers, smoke detection systems, occupant warning systems; passive fire safety measures such as the presence and quality of fire and smoke compartmentation; egress provisions, management procedures and policies, staff numbers, fire brigade provisions and other factors related to the building design. Each input had a


General safety Improvement plan


General safety score – before and after improvement plan


150 125 100 75 50 25 0


Low


Moderate


Severe High


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 Property name


Figure 4: Comparison of properties or assessment areas. IFHE DIGEST 2015 41


General safety score


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