Special to Ontario Construction News
An approved fire safety plan contains multiple sections including but not limited to instructions for its implementation, the schedule for maintaining the building fire and life safety systems, and illustrations for the floor layouts, exits, stairwells and placement of fire extinguishers, manual fire alarm pull stations, etc. In addition, the fire safety plan outlines the occupant evacuation procedures, fire drill schedules, roles and responsibilities of the supervisory personnel, and illustrates the locations of the outside assembly point for evacuees leaving the building.
By design, a fire safety plan aims to lessen or minimize the threats associated with building fire evacuations, and to provide occupants with safety directives should emergencies arise. Each plan describes advanced fire safety measures, supervisory staff duties, and guidelines to ensure the effectiveness and full utilization of the fire and life safety features installed in the building.
Of course, in order for the fire safety plan to be effective, the building operator and management personnel must fully understand and implement its contents prior to and in the event of an emergency. The provisions for occupant fire safety clearly define the owner as being any person, firm or corporation controlling the property under consideration. Consequently, the owner may be any one or a combination of parties, including building management, maintenance staff and tenant groups. This shared accountability and preparation by all parties aims to provide a higher level of evacuation readiness for the occupants of a building, which is vital to their safety should a fire emergency arise.
Not enough emphasis can be placed on the need for building operators and managers to keep their fire safety plan updated. In cases where its contents may not have been kept current for an extended length of time, the city fire services may order that the plan be upgraded to comply with the current standard platform.
The original city letter of approval which accompanied the fire safety plan will provide further clarification as to when notification is required for changes to the plan subsequent to its acceptance and approval. As per the fire code, fire safety plan shall be reviewed 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.
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. See www.firepoint.ca or call (905) 874-9400.