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Is Your Business Ready For The FENZ Emergency Scheme?

One year in for New Zealand’s updated fire and emergency regulations (FENZE Scheme & Procedure), how confident are you that your business has the right emergency procedures in place?

Evacuation schemes and procedures

As of 1 July 2018, most New Zealand buildings must by law have an approved and managed evacuation scheme or procedure. The exceptions are residential homes or complexes with three or fewer household units.

This is the result of a new regulation under the Fire & Emergency NZ (FENZ) Act and, although not as in-depth as our neighbouring Australia’s regulations, the new requirements are still causing some confusion for organisations and businesses trying to stay compliant.

There is particular confusion amongst businesses around whether an evacuation scheme or procedure is needed. The diagram below sheds some light.

FENZ Regulation Evacutaion and procedure scheme diagram

Other changes under the new regulation include:

  • colour and layout of building fire action notices
  • fire-fighting equipment for older buildings
  • new application deadlines and requirements for FENZ approval
  • adjustment to evacuation schemes or the power to revoke by FENZ
  • changes in trial evacuations
  • requirements for building owners to notify FENZ of certain events.

Although NZ’s commercial and industrial safety history is good, many have failed to adjust to and maintain these requirements. Those who have, however, have seen a positive response during insurance renewal periods, as well as quicker adjustments to new premises they’ve obtained.

Lockdown and shelter in place

Whilst every site must now have an evacuation procedure, this still leaves questions around the latest concerns: lockdown and shelter in place (ie, the opposite of evacuation).

Many industrial outfits close to Christchurch airport were put into lockdown immediately after the Christchurch attack on 15 March—a seemingly unlikely event for these businesses. One confirmed armed police prowling their loading docks, creating panic for staff and stakeholders on the business’s preparedness.

With growing focus on this new threat to New Zealand, businesses are assessing which staff need detailed training, how they maintain a programme, and how they align this to the updated evacuation requirements.

Mix in the issue of sending mass-communications for businesses with staff out in the field and on the move, and it can all seem overwhelming.

Plan, do, check & act…

Instead of worrying about the multitude of emergency events that could occur, take a practical look at your current processes. You’ll get a good idea of where you’re at by following these four steps: Plan, Do, Check & Act.

As an organisation, our client, Master Plumbers has taken this advice seriously and has begun a new programme with RiskLogic in 2019. By following the programme, Master Plumbers will develop a comprehensive crisis management plan and training for its newly-formed crisis management team in Wellington.

A full programme looks to increase their preparedness and capability across three levels of coordinated response:

  • Tactical: First responders, wardens and emergency services—building capability to ensure people and assets are protected.
  • Operational: Reducing the impact to critical business functions during a business interruption.
  • Strategic: Delivering a strategic incident response to protect the Master Plumbers brand and reputation.

The next phase of the journey looks to put the team through a scenario exercise to validate the crisis plan and team.

You can look to implement a similar program today by simply giving us a call.

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