Thursday, December 05, 2019

Bulletin 240 – Building occupant evacuation readiness

Fire safety plans do not necessarily have to be lengthy or even complex, however they are to be designed so that they are easily understood and tailored to comply with the fire code that is specific to the building classification. Even the best fire safety plans will fall short unless the facilities staff learn the essential plan, implement the emergency evacuation procedures, and follow the fire drill requirements. As described in the approved fire safety plan, fire evacuation procedures are the responsibility of building management or the business operator to set in motion, ensuring readiness to deal with an emergency when it arises. The fire code does require that each fire safety plan is to be reviewed at intervals of no greater than 12 months to ensure its contents continue to accurately reflect the current building layout, the placement of the fire and life safety equipment, the current list of persons requiring assistance and emergency contact / phone information.

Alongside the approved fire safety plan, fire code regulations also direct much attention to the safe means of occupant evacuation, maintaining clear paths of escape, ensuring there are a enough suitably-protected exit ways, and emergency backup lighting to illuminate the building exit routes. Without question, building occupants must know the location of all emergency exits and alternate paths to safety. The outside meeting areas must not hamper access by fire-responders and must allow fire wardens, supervisory staff and building managers to easily account for all their occupants. If there are any occupants with hearing or vision impairment, or persons who are physically limited, wheelchair bound, etc., special procedures for these persons are to be outlined within the approved fire safety plan.  Ultimately the main goal is that when the fire alarm sounds all occupants must immediately leave the building by proceeding in an orderly fashion to the nearest exit. In addition, should fire or smoke block an exit, occupants must know where to find the alternate exits.

 

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