The law, through the building code of Australia and various acts like the 2002 Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and OHS Act, requires that building and business owners take measures to ensure that the people working in a building or the building itself is protected from fire. Such measures include the installation of fire prevention and firefighting equipment and educating or training people on fire response drills.
To ensure that these measures are followed, the law requires building and business owners to generate an annual fire safety statement.
What Is an Annual Fire Safety Statement?
This is an annual report that indicates what measures the building or business owner has installed in his or her building or business to help prevent or fight a fire and whether they are working the way they are meant to.
You are required to make three copies of the annual fire safety statement:
- A copy should be lodged with your local council,
- The second should be lodged with your local fire brigade or fire commissioner
- The third should be displayed in your business or building.
Where Do You Obtain the Annual Fire Safety Statement?
To further ensure that you take fire prevention and fighting seriously, the Acts mentioned above require that you have your business or building inspected by a qualified, certified, competent and licensed building inspector. He or she may be referred to as a competent fire safety practitioner abbreviated as CFSP. This is the only person capable of drawing up an annual fire safety statement after conducting an inspection.
How Is the Inspection Carried Out?
The CFSP first goes through your fire safety schedule; this is a document that indicates the fire safety measurements you have installed and the performance standard they are expected to meet. He or she then checks to see if you have installed the measures indicated on the fire safety schedule and whether they are working in accordance to the standard they are expected to. The CFSP may also review your fire drills and inspect your fire doors. Therefore, expect a fire emergency drill to be carried out.
If everything meets the requirements, you are issued with an annual fire safety statement and required to lodge it as indicated above.
What Happens If You Do Not Lodge an Annual Fire Safety Statement?
Since it is a requirement by law, failure to lodge an annual fire safety statement would be acting against the law, which means prison time or hefty fines. It would be taken as if you are not protecting the individuals residing or working in your building or business from harm, hence endangering their lives.