It certainly is no wonder that a fire safety plan is one of the most comprehensive set of documents in the building. Some would have it be called a safety road map as it describes the occupant evacuation procedures, and contains schematics of the site plan, fire routes and floor layout drawings. From the listing of special needs occupants to establishing safe haven areas for evacuees, to the placement of the key lock box with respect to the location of the fire safety plan and the locations of the emergency shutdowns for hydro and natural gas, the fire safety plan is the building operator’s most important set of working documents. Although the fire safety plan bears the stamp of approval and/or letter of acceptance as meeting the Fire Code requirements by the local City Authorities, a building operator’s responsibility is far from over when it comes to implementation. Regardless of whether the building has a newly-approved fire safety plan or one which is already in place, the owner and all representatives of the owner are responsible for ensuring that all applicable requirements of the Fire Code are followed at all times. These representatives include building personnel such as the superintendents, building operators, and property managers. All personnel are to be aware of their duties, and provided with the applicable portions of the fire safety plan. In addition, all the elected building supervisory staff and floor wardens must be trained and instructed on their duties. Contractors performing annual testing and maintenance of the fire and life safety equipment are to reference the equipment’s inspection guidelines, as is the property manager when setting up and conducting the fire drills.
Procedures and signage required for emergency evacuations are also listed in the fire safety plan, stating that at least one copy is to be prominently posted and maintained on each floor area. A sample of the approved 911 signage for posting at each the fire alarm pull stations is also provided. “You Are Here” floor layout drawings are commonly seen in buildings alongside the emergency evacuation procedures. These drawings indicate the locations of the exits and egress pathways, and the locations of the fire and life safety equipment including the emergency light exit fixtures, fire extinguishers, fire alarm detection devices and pull stations, as well as elevators, stairwells, and a legend for all symbols on the drawing. Other fixtures shown include sprinkler risers, fire alarm control panels, and zone annunciators. Even after a fire safety plan has been submitted and approved by the local authorities, the building owner is still responsible for any errors and/or omissions arising after the fact. Every approval is based primarily on the information submitted and does not relieve building operators of their legal responsibility to carry out all the provisions of the Fire Code. It is therefore critical that the building operator review their fire safety plan as often as necessary, but at intervals not greater than 12 months, to ensure that it takes account of changes in the use and other characteristics of the building as stated in the Fire Code. Some types of updates to the fire safety plan will warrant a re-submission for approval, including changes to the responsibilities, procedures, structure or layout of the building, and the replacement or upgrade of a major fire and life safety equipment. The fire safety plan must include a stamp of approval with date and/or letter of review for compliance with the Fire Protection and Prevention Act.
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.