One of the many purposes of an approved fire safety plan is to enhance the level of awareness among the owners, operators and managers of buildings. Whether for commercial or residential high-rises, institutional or industrial classifications, the goal is to lessen the risk to the occupants in the event a fire emergency arises. For this reason, the fire code requires that listed building management personnel familiarize tenants, employees and even visitors with the necessary information to safely exit the building. In addition, the building management personnel are responsible to ensure that their supervisory staff and floor wardens are trained on their roles and responsibilities during an evacuation. Training material is provided in the approved fire safety plan to aid in guiding occupants to the nearest exit ways so that they safely reach the outside assembly area(s). Alternative evacuation measures are also detailed in the plan in case smoke or fire has progressed within a particular area of the building to the point it impedes safe passage. It is critical to review the designated safe haven areas in the building to ensure evacuees are not further exposed to the fire hazard. Supervisory staff and floor wardens must also be familiar with the building fire alarm systems and whether the fire panel is programmed to act as a single-stage, modified 2-stage or a regular 2-stage system. The approved fire safety plan clearly describes the fire alarm system installed in the building, its sequence of operation, and the functions of the audible and visual devices.
The elected supervisory staff and floor wardens are usually volunteers. They assist in conducting building fire drills which prepare occupants in the event a real fire emergency arises. The main objective of a fire drill is to evaluate the effectiveness of the occupant evacuations in response to the fire alarm system audible and visual devices. In addition, a subsequent review will appraise if all evacuation procedures were followed as outlined in the approved fire safety plan. The fire drill outcomes are to be documented and, where concerns are identified, corrective measures are to be implemented. The approved fire safety plan contains samples of the fire drill signage to be posted, worksheets to log the attendance of the personnel conducting the fire drill, a pre-preparation checklist and an activity summary template for the overall results. Fire drill records are to be kept on site for at least twelve months.
This article was contributed by Firepoint Inc, serving the GTA since 1997, developing fire department approved fire safety plans for newly constructed and existing buildings. See www.firepoint.ca or call 905-874-9400.