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October 3, 2018

Bulletin 234 – Identifying the Building Fire Hazards

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Identifying the fire hazards in a residential or commercial building in advance is a huge asset to the property management teams as it allows them to implement proactive corrective measures and reduces the overall risks to the building occupants. This strategy becomes one of a property operator’s first lines of defense in safeguarding the occupants and minimizing the property damages. It also covers property management’s responsibility to provide adequate guidance and instruction to the building supervisory personnel on their roles in keeping an on-going lookout for fire hazards in the building, and the required reporting procedures. These preparations, along with the building approved fire safety plan, will have a huge impact on preventing catastrophic fire events in the building.

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It is an absolute must to ensure that the contents of the fire safety plan (FSP) are up to date. Each FSP is required by code to be reviewed at intervals of no greater than twelve months. Being in possession of an electronic copy of the FSP is certainly 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, as well as other minor revisions that do not require re-submission to the City. Should the electronic version not be available, a hardcopy is normally found within the FSP box near the building main entrance. In the event of more extensive modifications, such as fire alarm and sprinkler system retrofits, structural add-ons, or a building ownership change, the publisher of the original FSP may be contacted to perform a comprehensive site audit followed a re-submission to the City. It is to be noted that although a FSP may bear the stamp of acceptance and/or letter indicating that the requirements have been met, it is the building manager’s on-going responsibility to ensure implementation of the plan. 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.

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