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May 16, 2018

Becoming familiar with fire emergency procedures

Whether one owns or manages a building, the responsibility of identifying all potential risks for fires is a high priority. By far, the best line of defense to reduce injuries from fires is to prevent the fires from occurring in the first place. This is followed by implementation of an approved fire safety plan (FSP) to ensure the building occupants gain confidence and become familiar with emergency procedures. It is to be noted that although a FSP bears the stamp of acceptance and/or letter indicating the FSP meets the requirements, a building manager’s responsibility is far from over when it comes to implementation. Regardless of whether the building has a newly-approved FSP or one which is already in place, building managers are responsible for ensuring that all applicable requirements are followed at all times.

Ensuring that the contents of a fire safety plan are up to date is an absolute must. Fire code requires that each FSP is reviewed at intervals not greater than twelve months. This undoubtedly may seem like a huge task as the FSP can easily run over sixty pages, and a building manager can be overwhelmed with the update process. It is even more of a challenge since one of the aims is to update only the applicable text as required. Being in possession of an electronic copy of the FSP certainly is of benefit as it allows the building manager to make revisions and print pages on demand. Simple changes may include updating the building’s emergency contact information, identifying those individuals with special needs, and other minor revisions. Should the electronic version not be available, a hardcopy is normally found within the FSP box located by the building main entrance.

Unfortunately, if an electronic version of the FSP is not available, re-typing portions of the document may be necessary for insertion into the FSP. For more extensive alterations, such as properly describing fire alarm and sprinkler system retrofits, structural add-ons, or a building ownership change, the developer of the original FSP may be contacted. Their comprehensive audit would include verifying the placement of the fire and life safety equipment is accurately indicated on the floor layout drawings, along with confirming the fire panel’s sequence of operation, elevator homing functions and all means of egress. A re-submission to the City Fire Services should be considered.


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