As outlined in the provincial regulations, once a fire emergency is underway within a building there must be a safe means of evacuation for all occupants. Building management must maintain clear paths of escape, a sufficient number of suitably protected exit ways, emergency lighting, and signage. Occupants must know the location of all emergency exits and alternate paths to safety when emergencies arise in the building. It is important for building operators to review the fire and life safety equipment listed in the audit summary of the approved fire safety plan (FSP). This includes re-reading sections pertaining to the sequence of operation of smoke control devices, fire dampers and any automatic or semi-automatic means of fire control in the building. Likewise, it is important to confirm the implementation of FSP sections pertaining to the maintenance of the fire alarm system, its detection devices, public address system, or other means used for alerting occupants. This ensures the equipment and devices remain in top working conditions. To safeguard occupants during a fire evacuation, it is vital to comply with the regulations requiring that all building FSP’s be updated at intervals no greater than 12 months. In the event major changes have been made to the premises, when the building ownership has been transferred, or when modifications have occurred to the fire systems, the FSP must be revised and re-submitted to the City for re-acceptance and approval.
An approved FSP is a customized building manual which describes occupant evacuation procedures and the advance preparation required for the activities and events that occur just before the fire emergency starts, or during the first few minutes afterwards. These include floor warden and supervisory personnel roles and responsibilities, as well as exit routes to the outside assembly area or pre-designated meeting area(s), which must be well away from the building. The meeting area must not hamper access by first-responders and must allow fire wardens, supervisory staff and building managers to easily account for all of their occupants. If there are any occupants with hearing or vision impairment, or persons who are physically limited, wheelchair bound, etc., special procedures are required to be in place to alert them and assist with their evacuation from the building. It is therefore mandatory that the FSP lists all regular occupants with special needs requiring assistance. When the fire alarm sounds or other building-wide emergency is announced, all occupants should immediately leave the building by proceeding in an orderly fashion to the nearest exit. If fire or smoke blocks this exit, occupants should be able to proceed to an alternate exit, also described in the FSP. The first priority is to ensure that occupants safely exit 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.