The Fire Safety Advisor Competency Requirements: A fire safety advisor, henceforth referred to as FSA, is a person or an organization whose main responsibility is to provide guidance to a school, business or any other institution on a wide range of issues to do with fire safety.
All high-occupancy buildings are required by law to have an FSA to ensure that there are measures that have been taken to minimize the risk of a fire, and that there are procedures in place to ensure that in case of a fire, there are minimal injuries and property damage. An FSA’s role is to provide guidance on a number of things including, but not limited to:
- Fire alarms
- Emergency plans
- Building occupancy limits
- Fire training and drills
- Fire escape provisions
- Fire extinguishers and other fire suppression systems
- Emergency lighting
- Record keeping
- Disability procedures
- Cooking facilities
- Flammable materials
According to the Queensland Building Fire Safety Regulations 2008, there are a number of competency requirements that an FSA is expected to meet. They are as follows:
- Workplace fire assessment
This involves identifying potential fire hazards in the workplace and devising ways of eliminating these hazards in order to prevent a fire accident. It also involves reporting on the findings of the workplace assessment.
- Overseeing implementation of fire safety procedures
Some facility managers are notorious for working so hard to look good on paper but not actually implementing the fire safety procedures recommended. One of the responsibilities of the FSA is to oversee the implementation of the fire safety procedures that they have recommended to a satisfactory level.
- Management and monitoring of workplace safety resources
This involves the documentation of workplace safety equipment and procedures. There should be enough equipment to serve the whole facility. The equipment should be properly labeled. It should also be well distributed; for instance, each floor should have a fire extinguisher, a fire detection alarm, and forcible entry tools, among other things. All the fire safety equipment should be well maintained at all times so that they are usable when the need arises.
- Workplace emergency response
The FSA should be able to respond to both potential and actual workplace emergencies. It is their responsibility to ensure that the procedures to be followed are well documented and that all occupants of the building know what is expected of them in the event of a fire outbreak. The FSA should be able to assess the seriousness of the situation and know what action to take.
- Work as part of and lead an emergency control organization
This means that the FSA should be able to work with other FSAs under someone’s guidance to identify potential fire hazards and put in place measures to prevent fire accidents.
In case of an accident, the FSA should also be able to lead such a team in evacuating the occupants of a building to Safety. This involves ensuring that there are prior arrangements for children, the disabled, the elderly, and any other people with special needs to be taken care of during a fire emergency. The FSA should be able to lead a team of other FSAs to perform such an operation.