The National Fire Code of Canada requires the implementation of a fire safety plan for most buildings and occupancies, and this is also supported by individual Provincial legislation. Sadly, these required building plans have a high frequency in being found nonexistent, outdated and / or not implemented.
Let’s put aside the fact that it is a legislated requirement and take a look at the significant benefits of maintaining a professional – up to date – Building Fire Safety Plan;
Building Owner Benefits
Building Fire Safety Plans are required by law, and must be reviewed and updated at least – annually. Once properly developed and implemented, they provide valuable building fire safety information for occupants, property managers, and owners.
A properly completed Fire Safety Plan also provides detailed instructions on the many requirements of the fire code, which owners need to comply with – in respect to daily, weekly, monthly and annual test and inspections of building life safety systems and equipment. This allows building owners to ensure they are compliant, ensure system readiness, and take measures to effectively protect employees, building occupants and corporate reputation – A critical component in property owner due diligence.
Another direct benefit to building owners is the opportunity to display a strong building fire safety program to prospective new clients – significantly aiding in attracting new clients. Don’t get me wrong – It is truly unfortunate that some buildings and owners are not as focused with public safety, and legal compliance, yet if your organization is proactive and sets the bar in meeting code compliance and maintains a proactive fire safety program…This is a positive that can impact your bottom line and it should be communicated to potential clients.
Corporations looking for leased space are now more than ever, being proactive in their due diligence –Considering status of building life safety systems, safety procedures, and emergency management programs in their decisions where to lease property and space for their employees. This is an important aspect of a tenants due diligence.
Property Management Benefits
Under the Fire Code, building managers, residential superintendants, and property supervisory personnel are required to be familiar with the buildings life safety systems they are responsible for. A properly developed fire safety plan provides a clear overview of building safety systems, procedures for supervisory personnel, and reference material for use in the event of a building emergency.
Further, this plan provides detailed information on conducting fire drills, testing and inspection requirements, occupant training, and what to do in the event of a life safety system failure. These are critical components to successfully managing a property, and protecting the public and your family of tenants.
Benefits to Building Occupants / Tenants
Fire Safety Plans provide tenants and building occupant’s detailed instructions on fire and emergency procedures, including actions to take in the event of a fire, evacuation and shelter in place requirements.
A properly completed Fire Safety Plan also provides tactical information to assist fire services in rescue operations, property conservation efforts and hazardous materials. If this is information is known by all building supervisory staff – it can limit costly operational disruptions, and allow a return to business faster – This saves time…and in return – money.
Truly unique to NLS Group Building Safety Plans, they also provide a tactical tool that may be utilized by specialty response teams such as the municipal police services; Emergency Task Force. Certain building information and detailed floor plans may be used to provide rapid support to first responders in the event of active violent incidents, suspicious packages and criminal acts in both workplace facilities and residential buildings. This type of proactive planning significantly enhances the safety of building occupants.
If your plan is outdated, and the information is incorrect and not easily attainable, it may hinder emergency operations. This hindrance may negatively impact public safety, and expose your organization to significant risk and liabilities.
Persons Requiring Assistance (PRA’s) Within Building Emergencies
Persons requiring assistance during a building evacuation may be described as anyone who has reduced mobility, a speech, hearing or visual impairment, or a cognitive limitation—regardless of whether or not these conditions are temporary or permanent.
A building fire safety plan shall contain a list of persons requiring assistance within a building and their procedures in the event of a building emergency. In the event of an evacuation or related emergency, this plan is made available to the responding Fire Services.
This section within the fire safety plan also supports your organizations compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Requirements, and the Ontario Accessibility Act for Customer Service coming into effect January 01, 2012.
Benefits to First Responders & Municipal Emergency Services
Building fire safety plans must be approved by the Authority Having Jurisdiction, in most cases this would be your local fire services. Approved fire safety plans provide tactical reference tools to effectively and timely respond to building related emergencies.
Clear and concise informational tools such as floor drawings, sprinkler, HVAC, gas and electrical isolation points can decrease response times and contribute to firefighter emergency scene safety.
Further, a properly completed Fire Safety Plan can permit local fire departments to conduct virtual building tours and familiarization of your building – without impact to your operations. This permits the proactive review of high hazard areas and locations with significant challenges like shopping centres, public buildings with high occupancy, schools and industrial establishments with higher than average operational risks.
Jason D. Reid
National Life Safety Group
National Life Safety Group was established with the direct purpose of enhancing public safety through innovative solutions to your truly unique corporate and facility risks.
We achieve this by utilizing tested and proven leadership and experience from both the private, and public sector, utilizing the internationally accepted principles of emergency management in everyday business, facility and safety operations.