Fire Hose Reels

Most building owners and tenants recognise fire hose reels when they are attached to a wall in a corridor. Those tenants residing in a building where the fire hose reels are enclosed behind a cupboard door in most cases would not know that an essential safety measure was behind the door. Fire hose reels are nominated by a building surveyor/ building certifier when installed in a building under the Building Code of Australia (BCA) for the protection of contents within a fire compartment for the initial fire attack by the occupiers and fire brigade. Fire hydrants on the other hand are installed in a building for use by trained officers in the fire brigade.

Building Code of Australia

Clause E1.4(a) (b) and (c) prescribes in which buildings a fire hose reels system is required with the type of system being suitable for its purpose for all building permits.

The performance clause EP1.1 for fire hose reels states:

PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS

EP1.1
A fire hose reel system must be installed to the degree necessary to allow occupants to safely undertake initial attack on a fire appropriate to-

  1. the size of the fire compartment; and
  2. the function or use of the building; and
  3. any other fire safety systems installed in the building; and
  4. the fire hazard.

The following illustration depicts when fire hose reels are required in a Class 2, 3 and 4 building.

The following is a part extract of clause I1.1 for an Essential Safety Measure (as appeared in BCA 2013) known as fire hose reels:

Table I1.5 SAFETY MEASURES – FIRE FIGHTING SERVICES AND EQUIPMENT

Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Fire hose reel system E1.4

Clause E1.4 requires fire hose reels to be installed in accordance with AS 2441-2005 Installation of fire hose reels (known as an essential safety measure in most states).

A check of the referenced standards in Table 1 Schedule of Reference Documents in Specification A1.3 “Documents Adopted by Reference” reveals that no maintenance standard for fire hose reels systems is nominated (or in Clause E1.4), only AS2441-2005.

What Maintenance is Applicable for Fire Hose Reels?

We have eight States and Territories around Australia, each with their own “building regulations” requiring building surveyors to issue statutory documents (determinations/ occupancy permits/ schedules/ lists of essential safety measures) nominating the performance conditions for the regular testing, inspection and standard of maintenance for essential safety measures e.g. fire hose reels.

Most jurisdictions (states), nominate AS 1851-2005 ‘Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment’ in their documents for either the building owner, agent of the building owner or the occupier to ensure that all fire hose reels (an essential safety measure) are maintained to the requirements of this standard.

Australian Standards – Fire Hose Reels

The following Australian Standards have an impact on the design, installation and maintenance of fire hose reels (Not all are referenced in the BCA).

  1. AS1221-1997 Fire hose reels (the making of the fire hose reel)
  2. AS2484.2-1991 Fire – Glossary of terms – Fire Protection and firefighting equipment
  3. AS2441-2005 Installation of fire hose reels
  4. AS1851-2005 Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Fire Hose Reels

AS 1851-2005 Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment is very specific for the type of inspections and frequency to occur for fire hose reels. The standard requires a fire hose reels logbook to record all information specified. A number of State regulations also require logbooks to be provided for all essential safety measures. The AS 1851 fire hose reels logbook would then form part of the “state” required logbook for the nominated essential safety measures. An essential safety measures auditor to ensure fire safety compliance, should be aware that fire hose reels located in a building would be a required essential safety measures and want to view the essential safety measures logbook to allow for signing the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate of Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement, Annual Maintenance Statement and Annual Occupiers Statement.