Fire safety: Identifying building fire protection systems and equipment

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From establishing the safe haven areas for evacuees, outlining the locations of the emergency shutdowns for hydro, water and natural gas, to the fire watch procedures, the fire safety plan is tailored to comply with the fire code that is specific to the building.
Evacuation solutions are based on the nature of business being conducted in the building and industry group classification.

The plan is a customized reference manual that starts with the preparation required for the activities and events before the fire emergency, and during the first few minutes of occupant evacuation. It identifies the most common and critical emergency scenarios, describes how to reduce the building fire hazards, contains floor plan evacuation drawings, and summarizes the inventory of the installed fire safety equipment.

It must be available to owners, property managers and the building supervisory personnel so they can review the fire safety measures and prepare for implementation. Checklists are structured into the plan to ensure that the fire department access routes are not obstructed, and that the property fire hydrants, pumper connections and key boxes are fully accessible.

The building emergency power generator and fuel storage tank also fall into the audit agenda, so as to ensure that fire and life safety equipment are supported during a power failure. Another key area is the description of the sequence of operations of the fire alarm system and sprinklers. The plan also specifies the posting requirements for evacuation procedures and fire watch signage, in case a fire system is shutdown as a result of a failure or servicing.

Maintenance requirements throughout the premises are stipulated for exit fixtures, extinguishers, fire hoses, smoke alarms, battery operate emergency lighting, etc. With such a wide range of detail in the fire safety plan, the fire code does require that its contents, including evacuation drawings, be kept current and reviewed at increments of no greater than 12 months.

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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