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The standard for automatic fire sprinkler systems is being revised to help provide better protection during fire evacuation situations.

Standards for Fire Services and the emergency management community

Standards Australia is the nation’s peak non-government, not-for-profit organisation for developing standards in Australia. Our standards are voluntary documents which do not become mandatory unless they are referenced in regulation or legislation.

Net Benefit is a key element of Australian Standards to support the enhancement of the nation’s economic efficiency, productivity and public safety. We also represent Australia at the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) to help drive international competitiveness and to ensure the Australian voice is heard at the international table.

Standards Australia’s commitment to the development of standards for the fire service and emergency management community is strong.

The best interests of our stakeholders and the Australian community are always front of mind. We need to ensure that we continue to deliver standards to advance the industry in the right way; we need to respond fast enough to be part of the solution and lead the discussion.

Ron Pulido, National Sector Manager for Building and Construction, shares developments in from the standards world.

Standards to Support Innovation

World’s First Hoverboard Standard

In December 2016, a new standard was published titled AS/NZS 60335.2.201: 2016, House and similar electrical appliances – Safety – Part 2.201: Particular requirements for battery powered self-balancing personal transport devices. The standard provides rules and guidance to address electrical safety issues for products colloquially known as “hoverboards”.

In recent years, hoverboards have grown in popularity across the world. At the same time, there has been an increase in electrical safety issues associated with these products. The benefit of AS/NZS 60335.2.201: 2016 is that it provides clarity to suppliers, manufacturers and regulators to help ensure the safety of these products sold on the Australian and New Zealand markets.

The development of the standard was in direct response to this market gap, and indeed from project initiation to publication significant resources were expended to ensure the document was available as quickly as possible. In this case, Standards New Zealand, who manage the secretariat of the responsible committee, did a stellar job in delivering this project so quickly.

The process to develop this joint Australian and New Zealand standard shows how Australian and New Zealand regulators can work together with input from community and industry representatives to produce this world-first for electrical safety of hoverboards. Indeed, such is the success in Australia and New Zealand, the standard is now being discussed and earmarked for adoption at the international level, demonstrating that the standards process can keep pace with the rapid advances in technology.

With an increase in electrical safety issues associated with hoverboards, the need for a new standard was identified.

With an increase in electrical safety issues associated with hoverboards, the need for a new standard was identified.

Standards for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Firefighters Station Uniform/Workwear (Scope):

The ISO international technical committee on Firefighters Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), ISO TC94 SC14, have agreed to develop an international standard for station uniform and workwear.

The intent of this international standard is to facilitate the construction of station uniform and workwear that meets specific performance requirements and complies with the specified test methods. Any station uniforms and workwear must complement the science which is built into primary protection firefighting garments to avoid an increase in injuries to firefighters.

It shall specify basic heat and thermal shrinkage requirements as well in accordance with the thermal stability requirements of the material used to produce the workwear.

A New Work Item Proposal (NWIP) was developed and received overwhelming support. This work will commence immediately with a draft ready for discussion at the next meeting of SC14 scheduled in June 2017 in London.

ISO TC94 SC14 Working Group 5, responsible for “Rescue PPE” continues to work with the risk matrix approach for all items of PPE. In the first instance this is addressing RTC (Road Traffic Crash) and USAR (Urban Search and Rescue). Following the last meeting of WG 5 held in Greenville, USA in July 2016, new drafts have been prepared and sent out for further ballots. A status of the draft Standards are as follows:

  • ISO 18639-1 General requirements (approved for Draft International Standard ballot)
  • ISO 18639-2 Compatibility (approved for 3rd Committee Draft)
  • ISO 18639-3 Clothing (approved for Draft International Standard ballot)
  • ISO 18639-4 Gloves (approved for Draft International Standard ballot)
  • ISO 18639-5 Helmets (approved for a 3rd Committee Draft)
  • ISO 18639-6 Footwear (approved as a Committee Draft)
  • ISO 18639 Parts 7-10 (yet to be developed)

For more detailed information about these and other important Firefighters PPE Standards being developed you can contact the Australian and International Chairman of the firefighters PPE committee, Mr Russell Shephard at russell.shephard@afac.com.au.

Standards in the Works

As Australia’s national standards body, we are conscious that the standards we develop must provide solutions with the greatest net benefit for the community, with support from industry and governments. Standards can also affect consumer, market, and industry behaviour without the need for costly government intervention.

Some standards that are currently going through a revision in your sector include:

AS 3959-2009 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas

This Standard is currently in the Drafting phase of the project and it is expected to be released for public comment in 2017.

Changes to the standard for fire hydrant installations intend to provide safer and more effective firefighting in metropolitan and regional areas.

Changes to the standard for fire hydrant installations intend to provide safer and more effective firefighting in metropolitan and regional areas.

Some of the intended changes include:

  • Reorganizing the construction sections in group-specific construction requirements by Bushfire Attack Levels (BALs), rather than by building component
  • The construction requirements in Sections 3 to 9 have been revised to address the levels of exposure for the Bushfire Attack Levels (BALs)
  • AS 2419.1-2005, Fire hydrant installations – System design, installation and commissioning
  • The objective of this standard is to safeguard building occupants from the risk of fire through the installation of functional fire hydrant systems that allow for safe and effective firefighting for both metropolitan and regional areas.
  • This standard recently completed a second round of public comment that was released for nine weeks. The Technical Committee, FP-009 Fire Hydrant Installations, is currently working diligently to review the comments that have been received.
  • Some of the intended changes include:
  • A restructure of the document and content
  • Inclusion of new technologies and industry best practices
  • Introduction of a range of provisions for high rise buildings based on internationally applied standards
  • AS 2118.1-2006, Automatic fire sprinkler systems – General systems
  • The objective of this standard is to ensure occupants are safeguarded while evacuating a building during a fire, assisting fire fighters in their operations and preventing the spread of fire between buildings
  • This standard recently completed a second round of public consultation through a combined procedure that was released for six weeks. The Technical Committee, FP-004, Automatic Fire Sprinkler Installations, is in the process of reviewing the comments that have been received.
  • Some of the intended changes include:
  • Removing references to third party standards
  • Adopting current developments in sprinkler technology
  • Providing information for designers and installers to prevent inadvertent under or over design of sprinkler systems

Streamlining Standards Development

Standards Australia remains committed to streamlining our operations and processes to maximise contributor time and ensure our standards are relevant and innovation focused. Keep an eye out for our updates to see what’s happening in your sector as well as the changes affecting the wider standards world, including many enhancements to our process.

We will continue to engage with our stakeholders to ensure we are meeting industry needs. Do not hesitate to contact our National Sector Managers at any time with questions or comments.

For more information, go to www.standards.com.au

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<p>Ron Pulido is a National Sector Manager at Standards Australia and is responsible for stakeholder engagement and standards development in the Building and Construction sector.</p>

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