Fire is a reality that all sites must prepare for.  In a live fire situation panic is likely to make the incident more dangerous.  The best way to combat panic is to understand the appropriate responses and to regularly practice those responses, so that they become second nature.  Sites can not set a fire on the forecourt to practice, but a simulation can go a long way to building confidence and reducing panic in site staff.  This weeks HR Highlight will look at how to engage staff in managing this risk on site.
Formal Training

Accessing, scheduling and paying for live fire theory and practical training for all staff is impractical in the retail fuel industry.  While achieving that level of exposure for all staff would be ideal, the realities of the industry often prevent it.

But businesses have an obligation under the law to ensure that they have identified risks and have consulted with staff on, and then trained their staff in the controls that are appropriate to managing the risk.

Fire on a forecourt is a known risk and must be managed.  Staff must be trained and the business must be able to show regulators that the training was appropriate to the risk.

Online Training

The Petroleum Convenience Compliance course (or PCC) is a series of modules that have been developed by the industry association ACAPMA to provide best practice training for frontline staff, in all areas of retail safety and compliance.  PCC Online 08 Fire First Response is a dedicated fire module that takes participants through the nature of fire and the process for responding to a fire on the forecourt, in store and even when people are on fire.

This comprehensive course outlines through video and interactive assessments the causes of fire, hazardous zones onsite and the use of fire extinguishers.

The PCC Online 08 Fire First Response course provides staff with the information they need to understand fire in a retail petroleum context, and what they need to do in the event of a fire.

However it is important to engage with staff to turn information into a skill.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Embedding information and converting that into a skill that staff feel confident utilising adds value to training of any type.  When the area being discussed is something like fire first response, it is vital that that deeper level of engagement be undertaken, so that in the event of an incident onsite panic is overridden by practice.

Sites are reminded to practice, practice, practice the skills that are conveyed in training.

Example Fire Drill

An example of a Fire Practice drill could be:

Gather staff together and discuss the PCC Online 08 Fire First Response cours

The nature of fire onsite A REVIEW

  • Fire needs fuel, oxygen and ignition.  We fight fires by removing the oxygen or by separating the fuel from the oxygen
  • Fires in store use the CO2 (Black Band) Extinguisher
  • Fuel Fires use the Dry Powder (White Band) Extinguisher
  • Fuel and Water do not mix never use water on a fuel fire it will just increase the size of the fire
  • Using extinguishers PASS Method Pull the pin, aim at the base of the flames level with the ground, Squeeze the trigger, Sweep across the fire.

Responding to a Fire THE PROCESS

  • Shut the pumps down
  • Call or direct someone else to call emergency services
  • If you choose to fight the fire select the appropriate extinguisher, pull the pin and test that it is working before approaching the fire
  • Ensure that you have an escape route planned and that you never turn your back on the fire
  • Fight the fire, let the extinguisher do the work
  • Stand guard over the area , never turning your back, until the emergency services arrive
  • SPECIAL CASE Person on fire (fire blanket, put the person on the ground, cover with blanket to separate the fire from the oxygen, roll the person gently if there are still patches of fire)


  • Gather staff in the store
  • Get a small amount of water (2Lts) and tip on the forecourt this is the fire
  • Ask staff to enact the PROCESS above
  • Discuss the good, bad and next time learning’s after the drill so all staff are clear on what should have been done


  • Gather staff in the store
  • Get a small bin this is the fire
  • Ask staff to enact the PROCESS above
  • Discuss the good, bad and next time learning’s after the drill so all staff are clear on what should have been done


  • Gather staff in the store
  • Get one staff member to stand on the forecourt this person is on fire
  • Ask staff to enact the PROCESS above
  • Discuss the good, bad and next time learning’s after the drill so all staff are clear on what should have been done

Real-life fire training is expensive and impractical, but regular drills combined with the online training, can build confidence and combat panic in staff, as well as meet consultation and safety training requirements under the law.

Accessing Online Training

The PCC is available from ACAPMA as a face to face course or as a series of 11 online modules.

Modules include:

  • PPC Online 01 Retail and Competition Compliance
  • PCC Online 02 Tobacco Compliance
  • PCC Online 03 Restricted Products Compliance
  • PCC Online 04 Personal Workplace Safety
  • PCC Online 05 Instore Safety and Manual Handling
  • PCC Online 06 Forecourt Safety
  • PCC Online 07 Environmental Safety
  • PCC Online 08 LPG and Autogas Safety
  • PCC Online 09 Fire First Response
  • PCC Online 10 Armed Robbery and Security
  • PCC Online 11 Food Safety (handlers)

Modules are available individually ($35 each Non Members, $28 each Members), as a bundle of all 11 PCC modules ($335 per bundle Non Members, $268 per bundle Members).  Bulk buying, single site and multiple site discounts are available.  Contact ACAPMA on 1300 160 270 or email for more information on the PCC.

Here to Help

ACAPMA Workplace Relations Professionals are available to assist members on 1300 160 270 or you can email ACAPMA members can access resources and can call on the advice and support of the ACAPMAlliance Workplace Relations Professionals on 1300 160 270.

HR Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice and you should seek further advice on your situation by  calling 1300 160 270 and speaking to one of ACAPMA Workplace Relations Professionals its free for members. ACAPMA membership is affordable at only $770 per year for a single site, which represents great value with sites gaining HR advice support and representation as well as a raft of other benefits and discounts. Learn more about ACAPMA membership here.