Although building codes contain sizing requirements for exit ways and corridors to ensure that the maximum number of occupants may escape quickly in the event of a fire emergency, additional steps are to be taken towards minimizing the risk to occupants. The approved fire safety plan (FSP) allows building operators to review the evacuation procedures and to conduct a full study of the escape routes shown on the floor layout drawings. This is followed by implementation of the evacuation procedures and the conducting of fire drills as described in the approved FSP.
Sooner or later, one can expect a building evacuation to take place, whether it is a real alert or false alarm. The fact is that the majority of people entering a building extent rarely consider how to evacuate the premises should a fire emergency arise. Nevertheless, incidents requiring rapid evacuation of buildings do occur and are not always due to a catastrophic event. This means it is essential for building operators and their supervisory personnel to know the precise roles they are responsible to fulfill. Of course, putting measures in place to prevent fires and other hazardous events in advance further reduces the level of risk to the occupants.
Just as the need for a building emergency evacuation is difficult to predict, so are power interruptions to buildings. Much reliance is placed on the local infrastructure and electricity suppliers to continuously support a building’s needs. The weather has a huge influence on the supply of power. Main grids are subjected to increased demand to keep us comfortable indoors at the office during summer hot spells and the frigid winter outside. It is therefore critical to perform regular inspection and maintenance procedures on the building’s backup power systems as they must support various fire and life safety equipment during an electricity outage. Each approved FSP outlines the requirements for maintaining the functionality and operability of the building generator, whether its source is natural gas or diesel fuel.
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