Once a building manager has read their approved fire safety plan, the key personnel of the building must be properly trained according to their specified responsibilities. Fire codes clearly outline the need for fire warden and supervisory staff training: the fire safety plan describes the training required. Roles and activities of designated personnel are to be documented, filed, and forwarded to fire officials upon request. Certain jurisdictions and insurance underwriters may require training that includes CPR, first aid, and disaster recovery. Education of building fire safety teams regarding exactly what they must do during a fire emergency should be part of their weekly activities. Instruction for tenants on safety planning and emergency procedures should include the issuing of floor plans with marked evacuation routes, information on floor warden assignments, and direction regarding the nearest exits from each part of the building. Unfortunately, most educational measures and polices will fall short if the flow of daily visitors is not controlled by reception and/or security personnel. Visitors are not usually familiar with the building facility and are often unaware of the emergency procedures in the event of a fire. In addition, your regular staff or fire wardens may not be on the lookout for visitors as part of the search process during an evacuation. It is important for property managers and building operators to clearly identify risk factors for both occupants and visitors before an emergency occurs. They must be familiar with the hazards in the building environment and aware of implemented safeguards. Providing frequent training will help to ensure that everyone in your building facility understands the fire safety plan and evacuation procedures.
Fire and life safety planning is a critical activity for any building manager. The approach used will depend on the type of building for which the fire plan and equipment are designed. In developing an effective fire plan, you need to consider a building’s construction and main function. Is it a concrete, steel-reinforced structure or is it framed in wood? How many floors does the building have and what is the main activity on each floor? A hospital with a critical care unit may have a very different fire plan than an office building, warehouse or storage facility for hazardous materials. It is imperative to account for hazards in the building when creating the evacuation procedures. Most building operators have safety plans which describe fire and other types of emergencies that could occur in a facility. In fact, many companies have turned their fire and life safety plans into all-encompassing emergency management plans. These include emergency evacuation plans, as well as descriptions of the building’s fire detection and containment systems. This allows property operators to take life safety planning to the next level. While the name and scope have changed, the primary focus is saving lives and reducing the risk of injury. In conjunction with the improvements in safety plans in recent years, fire detection and prevention technologies have become increasingly sophisticated and powerful. This coupled with proper monitoring and testing of the fire alarm system in the building will ensure its functionality and readiness in the event an emergency arises. Finally, holding regular fire drills will help all building occupants remain familiar with evacuation procedures. Fire drills develop and reinforce the efficient and safe use of the exit facilities available for emergencies. Conducted properly, fire drills allow occupants to practice an orderly exit in a controlled situation. Fire drills must be carefully mapped out and, for the most part, can be “mocked up” to provide the sense of an emergency condition in the building.
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.