Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) has recently released the findings of two new research reports to help reduce the risk of fatalities in home fires.
The two studies conducted were on the effectiveness of sprinklers in residential buildings up to 25 metres in height, as well as the functionality of current residential smoke alarms.
FRNSW Commissioner and President of Australasian Fire & Emergency Service Authorities Council, Paul Baxter, said they have undertaken three years of research and testing through the support of CSIRO, Fire Protection Association of Australia, Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council and industry partners.
“The results confirm that stronger measures are needed to ensure best practice fire safety and fire prevention in homes. FRNS has made recommendations from its extensive research into sprinklers and smoke alarms and will be working closely with relevant stakeholders to realise these recommendations over the coming months,” said Mr. Baxter.
“To that effect, FRNSW, along with FPAA and AFAC, has submitted a Proposal for Change to the 2019 National Construction Code that seeks to mandate sprinklers in all new Class 2 and Class 3i shared residential accommodation buildings up to 25 metres in effective height.
“Modern-day furnishings and building materials often produce faster fires with higher levels of heat and toxic smoke. We are committed to keeping the people of NSW fire safe and will continue to carry out research that better informs building code legislation and product standards to improve fire safety.”
FRNSW is also encouraging NSW households to increase the number of working smoke alarms in homes to one per bedroom and living space and to have them interconnected.
“On average, there are approximately 21 deaths reported each year as a direct result of residential fires across NSW. Research indicates that up to half of those fatalities could have been prevented if these homes had working smoke alarms as well as a home fire escape plan. Additionally, the interconnection of multiple alarms ensures that if one alarm detects smoke, all other alarms will activate to sound a warning,” said Mr. Baxter.
“Smoke alarms have had a significant impact on reducing the number of fatalities over the past 10 years; however, a combination of fire sprinklers and smoke alarms can significantly further reduce the risk of fatalities, injury and damage in the event of a fire.”
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