Firexpo 2024 — Helping the industry adhere to fire regulations

Firexpo 2024, being held at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg from 28 to 30 May 2024, is a hub for everything fire safety-related, from products and services, to seminar sessions on the latest trends and regulations.

Three of the main causes of fire are electrical, arson, and heating equipment. Apart from the ethical reasons regarding protection of life, South African law stipulates that “…a comprehensive fire-detection system must be installed to detect a fire as soon as possible and warn the occupants of the building, with an evacuation procedure that is rapid, safe, and easy and allows unrestricted access for emergency services.”[i]

South Africa’s fire safety standards include SANS10400-T:2020, and Section 156(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, read with section 11(3)(m) of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act, 2000 (Act 32 of 2000) and The Fire Brigade Services Act 99 of 1987[ii]

“SANS 10400 Part T, ‘Fire Protection’, is a crucial section of South African building regulations. It sets out the requirements and principles for fire safety in buildings, encompassing various aspects, including structural fire protection, means of escape, fire detection and suppression systems, and more. Firexpo provides a conduit for visitors to access the latest fire safety technologies available, and to hear stimulating talks on challenges and solutions in the industry at the Firexpo Seminar Theatre,” says Mark Anderson, Portfolio Director at Specialised Exhibitions — a division of Montgomery Group.

SANS10400-T:2020 says that “All buildings should have a means of detecting fire. In small buildings/premises fire can be detected by people. Alternatively, a simple manual call point combined with a bell, battery and charger is suitable. In other cases, an electrically operated fire warning system with manual call points sited adjacent to exit doors and sufficient sounders that can be clearly heard throughout the building should be considered. In larger more complex buildings, or buildings in which people sleep, an automatic fire detection system with fire alarms throughout the building is necessary. If it is considered that people might not respond quickly to a fire warning, or where people are unfamiliar with fire warning arrangements, consideration should be given to the installation of a voice evacuation system that can give both audible signals and verbal instructions in the event of fire.”

The regulations stipulate that:

  • Voice alarm systems be designed, installed and maintained by a competent person(s) in accordance with SANS 7240-16, SANS 7240-19 and SANS 7240-24.
  • For buildings classified E2, the design and installation of fire detection and alarm systems shall be in accordance with SANS 322.
  • Fire protection measures for Electronic Data Environments (computer rooms) shall be in accordance with SANS 246.
  • Any occupancy classified as A1, A2, C1, C2 or F1 shall have a manually activated visual and audible alarm system that is designed, installed, and maintained by competent persons in accordance with SANS 10139.

Andersons says that the starting point for all building fire safety measures lies in a comprehensive fire risk assessment. These assessments are at the core of establishing sufficient fire prevention, protection and suppression measures, alongside safe evacuation procedures to be used in the event of an incident.

FPASA’s Technical Division offers a full and limited scope fire assessment consultancy service in South Africa. This service is tailored to meet the intentions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the risk assessment component of a company’s safety management programme. FPASA (an industry body partner of Firexpo), uses a unique reporting system, which includes provision for managing the implementation of risk improvement recommendations. Post assessment support to help address any findings or recommendations further enhances the value of this service.[iii]

“Firexpo gives exhibitors the unrivalled opportunity to engage with building managers, safety officers and others involved in the fire safety solution purchasing process. Its co-location with Securex South Africa, A-OSH EXPO, and Facilities Management Expo add a further reason to secure a stand, with combined visitor numbers exceeding 11 000 at the 2023 events,” says Anderson.

Organisations wishing to exhibit at Firexpo 2024 can contact the Firexpo team on team on zelda.jordaan@montgomerygroup.com or kyle.burgess@montgomerygroup.com to book a space or capitalise on a sponsorship opportunity.

Engage with Firexpo 2024 on social media using the show hashtag #Firexpo2024.