Fire and Safety Australia has reviewed various studies along with conducting our own research and found some alarming statistics about workplace fire safety in Australia.
Our research found that workplaces are underprepared for emergencies that may occur and that building occupants are not confident in how to respond in an emergency, particularly that occupants do not feel confident in knowing what procedures to follow during an emergency or how to operate a fire extinguisher.
The top 5 workplace fire statistics from our research are listed below:
1. Less than 50% of occupants feel confident in an emergency
Our research found that over 50% of occupants did not know what action to take or where to evacuate to during an emergency.
Annual evacuation exercises are a mandatory requirement under AS3745-2010, it is by conducting these annual exercises that occupants gain more confidence in emergency procedures.
These evacuation exercises also allow for a better understanding of emergency actions occupants should take for themselves and their work colleagues.
2. Less than 50% of occupants feel confident operating a fire extinguisher
Fire extinguishers are quick and easy to use and can greatly assist in an emergency when waiting for emergency services.
It is crucial for building occupants to be supplied with a basic level of fire extinguisher training, it is through this training occupants are then able to identify the type of fire that is burning, choose the appropriate class of fire extinguisher and effectively operate it in a range of circumstances.
3. Less than 25% of people can locate their nearest fire extinguisher
In an emergency you are forced to think quickly, when surveyed less than 25% of people could locate from memory their nearest fire extinguisher.
By undertaking regular safety training building occupants improve their knowledge about the location and operation of site firefighting and emergency equipment. This practice also allows occupants to be able to locate these items from memory without having to search the building.
4. Over 50% of the people who operate a fire extinguisher do so incorrectly or dangerously
People operate fire extinguishers incorrectly or dangerously by not selecting the correct type of extinguisher and not sweeping across the fire. Without correct training people also do not know to continue to spray after the fire is our or to aim at the base of the fire.
Fire and Safety Australia make sure that during our fire extinguisher training courses each participant operates a real fire extinguisher.
Our research found that after attending our fire extinguisher training course over 90% of people were able to operate a fire extinguisher correctly on their second attempt and they were 33% more effective in extinguishing the fire by selecting the correct type of fire extinguisher, aiming at the base of the fire and cooling the area after the fire is out.
5. Only 13% of people are aware of the different types of fire extinguishers
There can be very dangerous results when the incorrect type of fire extinguisher is used on a fire. Fire extinguisher training increases the knowledge and emergency response action of building occupants when confronted with a fire or emergency situation.
Both Australian and International fire statistics show that 95% of all fires are found to be extinguishable if the correct fire extinguisher is used promptly on a fire.
To be compliant with Australia Standard AS1851 and the Building Code of Australia (BCA) fire extinguishers must be located throughout Australian workplaces. Without correct training the majority of occupants are fearful of fire extinguishers and do not understand how to operate one correctly in an emergency.
Providing occupants with basic fire safety training increases their knowledge and confidence in emergency situations. Fire extinguisher training, in particular, can give occupants the courage to extinguish small workplace fires before they grow large and potentially interrupt business operations.
- Fire and Safety Australia. 2013. The 5 frightening statistics of fire safety in the workplace [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.fireandsafetyaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Click-here-to-view-the-5-frightening-statistics-of-Fire-Safety-in-the-workplace.pdf [Accessed 20 May 2019]