WHS: Fire Safety

There are five major causes of fire:  arson; faulty electrics; poor heating; “hot work” – including welding and angle grinding; cooking.

Fire Drills

Users of church properties need to be familiar with evacuation procedures to avoid panic in an emergency. Visitors should be notified on arrival of the emergency evacuation/fire drill procedures.  Instructions for evacuating the building(s) and safe assembly points should be clearly printed and displayed in the building(s).  Church leaders need to be especially aware of evacuation procedures, as they will be relied upon to keep people calm and ensure everyone has vacated the building(s).

Fire Fighting Equipment & Sprinkler Systems

Fire fighting equipment such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets should only be installed according to manufacturer’s specifications. They should have the correct signage and be installed in the correct locations. This equipment is required to be inspected and certified on a regular six monthly basis in accordance with relevant Australian Standards.

A fire blanket should be located in the kitchen near the kitchen door.  A number of key people should be trained and know how to use the fire fighting equipment.

Some properties will require sprinkler systems and/or hose reels.  This is the subject of requirements of the Building Code of Australia and the Local Government Building Fire Safety Committee.  Sprinkler systems must be connected and regularly checked and maintained in accordance with Australian Standard AS2118.  These systems are NOT to be disconnected at any time without prior notification being provided to (and approval being received from) the fire brigade.  Any alterations to existing systems should be notified to Insurance Services.

For further information check the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service website

Smoke Alarms

It is now compulsory for all homes, therefore manses (where occupied by church personnel or privately tenanted) to be fitted with smoke alarms.

The legislation requires the following:

  • all new homes built since 1 January 1995 must have hard-wired smoke alarms installed and these should be fitted with a battery backup in case of a power failure and these batteries should be replaced annually.  If the property is not connected to mains power, the alarm must be connected to a 10 year long-life battery;
  • all homes purchased without smoke detectors, must have them fitted within 6 months of ownership.  These alarms must either be hard wired to the mains power supply or powered by a 10 year long-life battery;
  • all other dwellings not covered by the above must have smoke alarms fitted.  These may be powered by a 9 volt battery.  This is the minimum requirement.

All alarms connected to the mains power must be installed by a licensed electrician.  Battery powered detectors can be fitted by the householder, provided they carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  Please note that different requirements apply for group accommodation housing for unrelated people.  Please contact the Building Projects and Compliance Officer.

Wheelie Bins

Unfortunately fires deliberately lit in wheelie bins are common. The easiest way to protect property against this risk is to ensure that wheelie bins are stored inside, or in a locked shed or a secure yard well clear of buildings or other flammable items.  Alternatively, they can be secured on a bitumen surface using a steel bracket, to avoid them being moved.

Relevant Information

  • Statutory Compliance & Property Policy, please contact Building Projects and Compliance Officer at property@sa.uca.org.au

Other Relevant Information