Fire safety: Fire safety manuals

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A fire safety plan is considered by most property managers as being one of their most valued go to manuals. It is one of the most comprehensive fire safety documents for the building and will be referenced continually throughout the year.

Although newly created or existing fire safety plans bear the stamp of approval by the City Fire Officials and/or the letter of acceptance, building management is still responsible for any errors and/or omissions arising after the fact. In simple terms, the plan approval was based on the information submitted to the Fire Services at the time of acceptance and does not relieve the building management, owners, and operators of their responsibility to update its contents.

It is not uncommon for city fire officials to arrange random site visits to confirm that the fire safety plan has been fully implemented. These include verifying that the regular fire drills have been conducted, the training of the supervisory staff was completed, and the fire and life safety equipment preventive maintenance programs were carried out. The plan outlines in detail the periodic test and inspection requirements of the exit fixtures, emergency backup lighting, fire alarm system, sprinklers etc.

At least one copy of the fire emergency procedures shall be prominently posted and maintained on each floor area, unless otherwise ordered by the muncipal fire officials. The accepted fire safety plan is normally to be placed in the approved box at the entrance to the building, with additional copies circulated to the building management, floor warden, supervisory personnel, etc.

It is a legal responsibility for the building management, owners, and operators to carry out all the fire code provisions as contained in the fire safety plan. It is therefore the law that fire safety plans are reviewed as often as necessary, but at intervals not greater than 12 months, to ensure these account for changes in the use and other characteristics of the building as stated in the fire code.

Re-submission to the City Fire Services may be warranted in cases where the building ownership has been transferred, the structural layout of the building has changed, or when the fire systems have been retrofitted. Aging fire safety plans which have not undergone the required annual review may also be subject to upgrade and re-submission to the City Fire Services.

For general updating of the emergency contacts or persons requiring assistance, the fire safety plan update is completed by building management and rarely calls for a re-submission. However, it is recommended that this be confirmed as various City Fire Officials may have different protocols or extended policies.

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.

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