Building management must maintain clear paths of escape, a sufficient number of suitably protected exit ways, emergency lighting, and signage. If a rapidly-spreading fire occurs, all occupants must be able to leave the building without injury and without being trapped by the fire. Occupants must know the location of all emergency exits and alternate paths to safety. Escape routes are to be clearly marked, unobstructed and never locked. While there are common elements in all fire evacuations, the actual procedures will almost always need to be customized for each building. This is due to the fact that there is such a diverse range of buildings and types of occupancy. A chosen fire evacuation strategy reflects the nature of the activities in the building, its classification, and the type of fire safety systems present. Although it may seem a daunting task to develop the best possible fire evacuation procedures for occupants, these can be determined and clearly outlined within each city-approved fire safety plan. A fire safety plan for a building outlines how to raise the alarm, notify the city fire service, and the best means to quickly vacate the premises and account for the building occupants.
The principal duty of a fire warden or their designated team member is also outlined in the approved fire safety plan, which is checking every room during an evacuation, including utility rooms and washroom facilities. Fire wardens must be very familiar with the fire procedures and escape routes in their building. They will be the last person to leave the floor for which they are responsible (as long as it is safe to remain in the area) and are not expected to try to determine the source of a fire or attempt to extinguish it. Fire wardens are always assigned a specific area of the building, which does not extend beyond one floor. The organization on each floor, or company space on a floor, normally nominate and assign their own fire warden. All fire wardens should be reminded of the importance of notifying their appointers should there be a change in the location/hours at their place of work. Their training must ensure they are familiar with the fire evacuation procedures in their building, the nature of the alarm signals, the location of the fire exits in their area, as well as the locations of refuge for people who may require assistance during an evacuation.
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. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, the bulletin publishers and authors do not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current and shall not be liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the bulletin information. Bulletin reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the written consent of Firepoint Inc. Copyright 2021 – All Rights Reserved. See www.firepoint.ca or call 905-874-9400.