Firepoint Technologies
Firepoint Technologies

March 2020 Bulletin 251

Posted by Firepoint on 2020-03-06 11:04:46 EST

Evacuation Readiness for Building Occupants

No matter the type of building, whether it is recently constructed or an aging structure, property operators and managers may be faced with a potentially risky fire emergency. Add to the mix unexpected situations, such as when building occupants are in a state of panic which affects their safe evacuation from the building.

Furthermore, not all occupants share the same degree of building layout familiarity and when confronted by fire or smoke: their visual perceptions may very well impair their movement towards the mean of egress. Preventing fires from occurring in the first place is most definitely the number one goal of all building management teams, and is to be outlined in the approved fire safety plan under Controlling Fire Hazards.

An approved fire safety plan covers the designated actions to be taken by business owners and property managers, including individuals who have been elected as supervisory personnel in the event a fire emergency occurs in their building. This shared accountability and advance preparation aims to provide a higher level of evacuation readiness for occupants of a building, which is vital to their safety should a fire emergency event arise. The fire safety plan includes implementation instructions, the schedule for maintaining the buildings fire and life safety systems and illustrates the floor plan exits, stairwells and placement of the fire extinguishers, manual fire alarm pull stations, etc. The occupant evacuation procedures, fire drill schedules, roles and responsiblies of the supervisory personnel and the outside assembly points are also part of the approved fire safety plan content.

When updating the fire safety plan, the first step is to locate the workable copy, whether in soft or hard copy form. Once the copy has been found, the plan itself will usually indicate when it was accepted and/or approved by the city. Normally, the date can be found on a letter from the City, or a stamp located on the front cover of the fire safety plan. Should a workable copy not be available, the original author of the plan may be contacted to obtain the electronic version to allow for updates, such as the human resources list and persons requiring assistance. For extensive modifications, such as fire alarm and sprinkler system retrofits, transfer of the building ownership or structural add-ons, a site assessment of the building may be conducted. For industrial facilities, it is critical to update the quantities of stored flammable and combustible liquids, along with implementation of the mandatory fire code requirements for the building classification. It is recommended that you contact your City official to confirm their re-submission requirements, or alternatively review the original City letter which was issued at the time of the fire safety plan approval.

A building fire safety plan is to be updated as often as deemed necessary, at increments no greater than 12 months, as is required under the fire code.

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