13 Oct 1999 Views

FlamesCANBERRA: Strategies to prevent a tragedy on the scale of a Sydney nursing home inferno that killed 14 people dominated discussions at a fire safety conference in Canberra.

About 160 delegates, primarily from Australia and New Zealand, debated methods of improving building safety on the first day of the Institution of Fire Engineers Australia conference.

The discussions covered topics ranging from the practicality of automatic sprinklers to long-term fireproofing of buildings.

The 2011 Quakers Hill nursing home blaze, which led to death of 14 people and sparked a statewide inquiry into safety precautions, was used as a case study.

The institution’s Australian branch vice-president, Jeremy Fewtrell, said NSW Fire and Rescue had demonstrated the difference sprinklers made to the spread of damage in the wake of the disaster.

He said a controlled experiment set a replicated nursing home room alight, then immediately activated sprinklers.

The sprinklers rapidly slowed the fire’s path, leading to change in government policy mandating automatic sprinkler systems in all nursing homes.

“That was an example of practical fire engineering,” Mr Fewtrell said.

To read the full article in the Canberra Times, click here.

Blog Posted by Roxayne West, Principal Consultant Health Care, October 2015

Roxayne West has been working in the health industry for many years, starting out as a Registered Nurse and Midwife, becoming an Infection Control Manager in NSW Hospitals. In 1989, Roxayne moved into the specialisation of Health, Safety and Quality; consulting, recruiting, training and auditing for national and local businesses in Australia.

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