Effective date: 4 April 2017
Last amended: 31 March 2020
Next review: 30 April 2022
This policy is designed to provide information in regard to the subject matter covered, and with the understanding that the Director of Liquor Licensing is not passing legal opinion, interpretation or any other professional advice. The information is provided on the understanding that all persons accessing it undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its contents.
This policy has been developed to:
Patrons, guests and staff have a reasonable expectation that they will be provided with sufficient warning of emergency situations that arise and will not encounter barriers whilst evacuating. Appropriate warning and safe exit pathways are vital to minimise injury or death.
Licensed premises that also provide accommodation, can present additional challenges in an emergency. Patrons may not be familiar with their surroundings, may have consumed alcohol and may be in a relaxed state or asleep. Clear guidelines and facilities for warning and evacuation are important so that patrons can be prepared in case of an emergency.
When fires occur, most people are injured or killed not due to the fire itself, but due to the effects of smoke inhalation and the impact smoke has on their ability to safely exit the building. Smoke alarms provide for early detection and warning of the fire whilst emergency lighting allows patrons to safely make their way to dedicated and operational emergency exits. Emergency exits should be well placed and easily located to aid the quick and orderly escape of persons from the building.
The construction and age of a licensed premises can also have an impact on the potential risk. Generally, older style, multi-storey hotel buildings with wood floors and walls will pose more of a risk than newer buildings with a concrete, steel or masonry construction. Newer premises are also more likely to have been required to include rigorous fire safety control measures during construction than older hotels.
New buildings are subject to the requirements of the Building Act 2011 and the Building Regulations 2012. The National Construction Code series (NCC) sets out the minimum requirements for the design, construction and performance of buildings throughout Australia. Licensees may be required to upgrade their fire and evacuation standards to current NCC standards as part of any substantial alterations made to the licensed premises through a development or building licence approval process.
Section 99(1)(a) of the Liquor Control Act 1988 (the Act) requires licensees to “maintain the licensed premises at a standard that is reasonable having regard to the class of licence, the locality and expectations of the public.” The department’s inspectors may impose work orders under section 99(2) of the Act requiring the adoption of fire safety measures.
The purpose of the policy is not to require older premises to comply with the current requirements of the NCC (such as the need to have fire control panels, fire hose reels/sprinklers and smoke extraction systems). Rather, the minimum safety measures outlined in this policy will assist all premises to meet the safety intent of the NCC and the reasonable expectations of the public, regardless of the age of the premises.
The application and implementation of some fire safety measures may be varied by negotiation with departmental inspectors. This may occur in circumstances where the implementation of the safety measures described below are not possible or practical due to the age or construction of the premises, but the safety outcome intended by implementing the safety measure can be achieved through an acceptable alternative mechanism. Consideration of what is a reasonable safety measure for a premises may also depend on factors such as the age and construction materials of a building.
The following have been identified as the basic fire safety and evacuation measures that can be reasonably expected of most licensed premises in Western Australia:
1. Emergency Exits
2. Emergency lighting
3. Evacuation plan
4. Core doors
5. Smoke Alarms
6. Fire extinguishers
7. Fire blankets
8. Secondary exits
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