Fire and life safety planning is a critical component of any building. How it is approached, depends on the types of building for which fire plan and the equipment were designed for. In developing an effective fire plan, you need to take a building’s construction and function into consideration. Is it a concrete, steel-reinforced structure or is it framed in wood. How many floors does the building have and what is its main function. If it is a hospital with a critical care , it would the fire plan would be very different then a storage facility where hazardous materials are being kept. One can assume a fire occurring in a warehouse would certainly be very different than one in an office building also. So it is imperative to take hazards in the building into account when creating the evacuation procedures. Building operators which also have safety plans would describe the types of emergencies that could occur in a facility, not just fires. In fact, many companies have turned their fire and life safety plans into an emergency management plans. While the name has changed, the primary focus is saving lives and reducing the risk of injury. As with any building or fire code regulations, building operators in most cases work towards meeting the bare minimum of the codes. On the other hand, just as many property operators take life safety planning to the next level under the building management umbrella. They cover not only emergency evacuation plans but also the building’s fire detection and containment systems. Thankfully, fire detection and prevention technologies have become increasingly sophisticated, intelligent, and powerful in recent years. Recently, some government officials are of the opinion if you’re just meeting codes, you’re probably not doing enough, particularly when the public is involved. Case in study, while building codes might not have required sprinkler installation at a particular residential occupancy, fire safety professionals say building owners and managers have a responsibility to provide their employees, tenants, guests, and patrons with the highest level of safety possible. So its back to the codes being a minimum and things that one absolutely has to do and shouldn’t do more.
One other area which has been totally over looked, are the training requirements for the building occupants and tenants. Training is crucial once a building manager goes through their approved fire safety plan, as it contents mandatory requirements such as the key personnel of the building must be properly trained according to their specified responsibilities. Section 2.8 of the National fire Code clearly outlines the fire warden and supervisory staff training requirement. Their roles and activities are to be document, filed, and forwarded to the fire officials on request. Other jurisdictions and insurance underwriter in some cases require training to include CPR, first aid, and disaster recovery. Simply put, educating the building fire safety teams on exactly what they are to be doing in a fire emergency should be discussed a weekly basis. Educating the tenants on planning and procedures during a fire emergency should include issuing evacuation floor plan maps, advising them of who their floor wardens, and when they hear the alarm know where the nearest exit are. Unfortunately these educational measures and polices fall short if the flow of daily visitors is not controlled every day by the reception and/or security personnel. The reality is visitors are not familiar with the building facility and are aware of the emergency procedures in the event of a fire. In addition, your regular staff or fire wardens may not necessarily be looking for visitors in their search. Therefore it is imperative for property managers and building operator to clearly get a head start and identify the risk factors. It is important to identify the hazards in the building environment and out safe guards in place to avoid them. Providing frequent training does ensure that everyone in your building facility becomes familiar with fire safety plan, and contained evacuation procedures. Finally monitoring and testing the fire alarm system in the building will ensure its readiness and functionalty.
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.