An approved fire safety plan does contain guidelines in the event that the automatic fire systems are off-line for any reason whatsoever, and a description of the fire watch procedures to be implemented immediately. In other words, whenever critical fire and life safety equipment in a building is temporarily out of service, building operators are to commence fire watch procedures. The term “fire watch” means that pre-designated person(s) have the sole responsibility to be on the lookout for fires in their assigned area(s). All building occupants are to be notified in writing that the fire protection systems in the building are currently not functional and that a fire watch has been instituted until repairs have been made. This applies whenever it is anticipated that the fire system will be shut down for more than four hours. As described in the approved fire safety plan, signage must be clearly posted throughout the common areas of the building indicating which equipment is offline and the procedures to be followed in the event that an emergency arises.
During the fire watch, an elected occupant, employee or contracted security guard actively looks for evidence of smoke or fire as they walk the entire building area. If smoke or fire is seen, they must declare a building emergency and contact the fire department immediately. The approved fire safety plan includes log sheets for documenting contact with the fire department at the start and end of the each fire watch interval or shift change. Until the particular fire protection system is back on line, it is critical that the fire watch personnel maintain a written log of the fire watch shift, indicating the date, time and alarm status. As with the fire watch guidelines, the approved fire safety plan provides instruction and training material for employees, visitors and anyone who may need assistance to escape in the event of a building emergency. Occupants with a wide range of physical and/or mental impairment can have difficulty getting out of a building, a fact that becomes all the more critical during an emergency. Special needs occupants must be able to leave the premises safely if there is a fire. They are to be identified as part of the special fire safety arrangements and evacuation procedures in the fire safety plan.
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.