Understanding the sections of the fire safety plan (FSP) pertaining to the building occupant evacuation procedures does require advance preparation. There are critical activities required during the time between the identification of the fire emergency and commencement of evacuation. These FSP sections include floor warden and supervisory personnel roles and responsibilities, as well as drawings which indicate the placement of exit routes to the outside assembly area or pre-designated meeting area(s). The outside meeting areas must not hamper access by fire-responders and must allow fire wardens, supervisory staff and building managers to easily account for all their occupants. Special attention must be given to any occupants with hearing or vision impairment, or persons who are physically limited, wheelchair bound, etc. Special procedures are to be outlined within the approved FSP. Ultimately, the main goal is that when the fire alarm sounds, all occupants will be able to immediately leave the building by proceeding in an orderly fashion to the nearest exit. In addition, should fire or smoke block an exit, occupants must know where to find the alternate exits. Therefore, the priority is to ensure that all paths of escape are sufficiently equipped with exit fixtures and emergency backup lighting to illuminate the building exit routes.
One area that is often overlooked is understanding the smoke control equipment and fire dampers in building. These devices are designed as either being automatic or semi-automatic, and govern the passage of smoke. This equipment is to be clearly described in the FSP, along with the related testing and maintenance procedures. Equally important is implementing the sections of the FSP that pertain to the maintenance of the fire alarm system, its detection devices, public address system, or other means of alerting occupants to ensure that these remain in top working condition. Given that the fire safety plan is continually referenced, its contents must be reviewed and updated at intervals of not greater than 12 months. This will ensure it accurately reflects the current building layout, the location of fire equipment, emergency personnel contact information, etc. Advanced updates to the FSP (such as those to reflect structural changes to the building, fire safety system upgrades and floor plan modification) may subsequently warrant a re-submission to the City for re-approval.
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.