Bulletin 195 May 2015 Evacuation Challenges for Building Occupants
- Posted at: September 25, 2021 03:03:57

Although each building is different, the latest construction technologies and design features allow increased time for occupants to evacuate the building, in addition to allowing fire responders safer passage to reach the area of concern. As with newly constructed buildings, older structures undergoing renovation projects require an element of design that incorporates modern systems to detect, contain, and control fires during their early phase of ignition. From the planning stages to the commencement of the building renovation, fire and life safety professionals are engaged in ensuring that occupants shall be protected from the impacts of fire and product of smoke. It is therefore critical to integrate current building code requirements along with fire safety design strategies. Building occupant fire safety also depends on other parameters, such as early detection, safe exit paths, and the use of automatic fire suppression systems, including sprinklers. Once the building structure has been completed, the paperwork to gain the occupancy permits is put in motion. The key to obtaining permits is to develop a City-approved fire safety plan for the building occupants. A fire safety plan is a customized manual that outlines life safety procedures and the availability of fire protection equipment within a building. Most importantly, it is an internal map to guide fire responders in the event a fire emergency arises in the building. Other important objectives of a fire safety plan are to increase safety awareness for all the occupants of a building, and to minimize the occurrence of situations that may be life-threatening.

The fire safety plan illustrates the floor plan layout of a building, including all exits, stairwells and the location of fire and life safety equipment. It describes occupant evacuation procedures and the fire drill schedules. It lists emergency contact telephone numbers, specifies procedures for the floor warden teams and identifies occupants with special needs. It also describes the requirements for daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly inspections and testing of the fire and life safety equipment within the building. Under the present requirements, most commercial and residential building structures are likely to require a fire evacuation plans; therefore, workplace safety and health planners or property managers must take these requirements into account. The approach is to identify potentially hazardous situations, assess risks and implement control measures to eliminate or reduce the risk of injury or harm that may occur during a fire evacuation. All occupants within the building, including the personnel who coordinate the emergency fire evacuations, must know these procedures and conduct fire drills as outlined in the approved fire safety plan. To be effective, preparation for emergency fire evacuations must be an integral part of the building’s emergency management system. Equally important is updating the fire safety plan as deemed neccessay and at increments no greater than 12 month.

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.

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