The South African Qualification & Certification Committee for the Fire Industry
BSI Group, also known as the British Standards Institution is the national standards body of the United Kingdom. The group operates in over 190 countries and offers a wide range of accredited testing, products- and services certification, management systems certification, training as well as other standards-related services to businesses.
The introduction of BSI group takes the number of accreditation bodies approved by the DOL for the 1475 accreditation to 3, this follows the previous approval granted to SACAS (South African Certification and Auditing Services) early last year.
The SAQCC Fire is in possession of an approval letter issued by the DEL and has welcomed another role player in the market. Similar to the SABS and SACAS, BSI is recognized as a certification body approved by the chief inspector and is authorized to issue SANS 1475permits.
The annual SAQCC Fire road shows for 2019 are drawing to a close with only two road shows remaining for this year.
Distribution, positioning of fire equipment, non-compliant CO² Fire extinguishers and the QCTO process are the main topics which proved very popular with the technicians thus far.
SAQCC Fire has utilized independent facilitators as well as committee members to conduct the presentations. Following on the success of the 2018 road show, the format remained unchanged which saw the interactive sessions and group discussions still taking place. In place of the normal raffle, the attendees this year, had to work to participate in the prize draw by completing a marketing questionnaire so we can ascertain what you, as our members would like to see being done on your behalf. A quick browse through those completed so far confirms that the road show is very much in demand – and many would like us to hold them twice a year – which the administration staff aren’t too happy about – but it does go to show that we are doing something right.
Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Rustenburg and Polokwane got off to a fantastic start with all areas reporting a record attendance. In fact, Polokwane alone had double the attendance of previous years reaching 100 as opposed to the previous 50. It’s great to see that the annual road shows not only attracted technicians, but the local fire departments, DOL and accreditation bodies as well, who were all present to show their support and participate in up skilling themselves.
Remaining road shows for 2019 are Bloemfontein on 14th September, which comes up shortly and the last one of the year in Johannesburg on 9th November. If you haven’t managed to attend one yet, then please visit our website or the Facebook page for details. If you have attended the road shows – then have a look on our Facebook page to see if you are featured in the many photographs – and then you can tag yourself.
The 1475 Qualification is complete but there has been a delay with completion of the Fire Detection and Gas Suppression qualifications, unfortunately, one of the requirements of QCTO is that these 2 qualifications must be submitted together hopefully this can be finalized before the end of the year. The SAQCC has been funding the entire exercise from the start however; it does appear that the QCTO will now be taking over all future costs.
At the recent SAQCC Fire committee meeting, the topic of servicing equipment that is not covered under the scope of SANS 1475 was discussed at length. The common practice of servicing/inspection of safety equipment such as booster connectors, breathing apparatus sets and foam firefighting equipment to name a few were discussed, and it was agreed that this does not fall under the ambit of SANS 1475.
The responsibility for maintenance of booster connectors and other equipment has always been a grey area and historically technicians have been conducting visual inspections, using their company service labels, which is not in line with the standard.
If 1475 technicians wish to continue inspecting the said equipment, it must be done using labels that do not display the SAQCC Fire and accreditation bodies’ logo. It is advisable that a separate label be used for this purpose.
Our marketing drive this year is being done at the road shows with the focus on creating a relationship with our technicians and completing our committee objectives.
The aim is to anticipate the needs and wants of our technicians and how we can improve in communicating valued and essential information to them.
Technicians are encouraged to complete the questionnaires handed out at the road show, this information will be analysed and assist committee in making decisions on future communications.
One salient point which has appeared so far is that it does appear this newsletter is welcomed and read by the vast majority of you which is very encouraging.
We bid a fond farewell to Astrid Wright, former director of East Rand Fire and a long standing SAQCC Fire Committee member. Astrid has been one of the first female SAQCC Fire registered technicians and played a major part in the positive changes that have taken place in the industry today. Both active and vocal, she served on the SAQCC Fire committee for many years and not only participated but also chaired the disciplinary commmittee on many occasions.
Astrid says goodbye to the fire industry and has emigrated to the USA where she will pursue her personal connection she feels towards animals and donate her time to this charitable cause. Her absence will be felt by us all and she will be sorely missed. On behalf of the SAQCC Committee and Executive, we wish Astrid all the best in her future endeavours and may she always stay blessed.
SAQCC Fire - New Email addresses for the office: We finally have our own domain so please take note of the new email addresses for the office. All 1475 registrations to go to Craig at email@example.com – any D&GS correspondence to Meryl at firstname.lastname@example.org and everything else should go to email@example.com. Rosemary ends up with the short end of the straw as she will get all the complaints and problems - which goes along with being the General Manager.
SANS 1475 part 1 and part 2 - Draft standards out for comment: The draft revision of both SANS 1475 part 1 & 2 are out for public commence, the closing date for comments is on the 22nd September 2019. All comments must be directed to the SABS as per the instructions specified in the draft. Please note that comments are not to be sent to the SAQCC Fire. If you have not yet seen this, contact the SAQCC Fire administration office who can forward a copy to you.
Instruction labels: The age old industry issue on the use of generic instruction labels still continues; The standard calls for fire extinguishers to be maintained and brought back to the original manufacturers specifications. The use of generic instruction labels contradicts this and the information used on generic instruction labels is often incorrect as the specifications differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. Companies and technicians are advised to refrain from this practice.
Department of Employment and Labour: SAQCC Fire is mandated by the Department to register technicians – and attention is drawn to the fact that what we all knew as the DOL, is now known as the DEL. As and when we need to reprint anything, we will make the necessary amendment and you will notice the changeover from references to the DOL to DEL.
1. TRAINEES: A reminder for every trainee, you are eligible to register as a competent person after six months – and no longer than 24 months.
2. CHANGE OF DETAILS: As we are using the bulk sms facility and emails to communicate with you and not relying on the post office any longer – please ensure you advise us of any new details. Unfortunately, it is only when our administrators receive complaints that an invoice hasn’t been received or a person has not received any reminders or sms’s that the SAQC Fire learn there has been a change of details. This is particularly important for the email address being used for invoicing. We are only as good as the information received and/or written on the registration form.
3. WEBSITE & FACEBOOK PAGE: Every person is invited to visit the website as well as our Facebook page. This will keep you up to date with any functions / events / invitations as well as photographs of the road show attendees on the Facebook page – where you can tag yourself!!
4. COMPANY NAME CHANGE OR NEW COMPANY REGISTRATION: In the event of a company name change or registration of a new company, the technician must apply for registration, and technician/s will be issued with a competent person letter by the SAQCC Fire administrator for the purpose of the mark scheme audit. NO REGISTRATION WILL BE DONE OR CARD ISSUED until confirmation is received in writing that a permit has been issued by the SABS, SACAS or BSI. Only then will the technician be registered under the permit of that company and be allowed to conduct servicing on fire equipment.