Halloween, a day characterized by lit candles inside vegetables, marked the last day of Fire Prevention Month. Why not end it with a non-fire starting bang? You can't just prevent fires by being a wet blanket - you need to follow codes and standards, brush up on safety information, train your team, and conduct routine maintenance and inspections. It's a lot more to cover than a blanket can handle, which is why I'm going to break it down for you. With help from Cintas Corp's article on Fire Readiness and a recent interview with Peter Harrod, VP of Code Consulting and Fire Engineering Services at Cosentini Associates, I've gathered 7 fire prevention best practices for property management professionals.
- Building construction
- Minor structural changes such as adding or removing doors
- Major tenant renovation
But before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s talk about what an Emergency Action Plan is exactly:
Since 9/11, all high-rise commercial buildings (75 feet or greater) in NYC are required by law to have a full set of Emergency Action Plans that denote all standpipes, fire barriers, and evacuation routes.
If you’re an owner or manager of a high-rise commercial building in NYC, chances are you already had these plans created for your building to comply with Local Law 26 and the FDNY. But if there are discrepancies between your building and EAPs, you could find yourself in some trouble.
Here are the Top 2 Reasons to Update your Emergency Action Plans:
1. The State of your Building Shifts Frequently – Keep up With Industry Changes
The real estate industry is changing quicker than ever. It’s unlikely that a building will go many years without a new tenant moving in or, at the very least, minor construction or structural changes. Many times, when a new tenant moves in or construction is being done it will affect the Emergency Action Plans. In these cases, any floor plan changes must be verified and filed with the FDNY.
2. Avoid FDNY Violations and Fines
The FDNY requires that EAPs are proactively kept up to date and refiled anytime there are significant changes in a building. If these plans are not up to date and the Fire Department shows up for a building inspection, the building will be issued a violation. Fines can be steep depending on the violation and can increase if not resolved. On average, the FDNY does a yearly inspection, though they technically can show up at any given time, unannounced.
The best practices for a property manager or building owner to reduce risk include being proactive and transparent about your building. Any significant changes should be reported to the original architect or plan designer so that plans can be refiled with the FDNY.
Don’t put your building at risk. Protect your building or portfolio against hefty fines or violations by updating your EAPs.
Our Building Compliance Solutions have helped countless landlords and property managers understand the process of fulfilling fire safety requirements and keep their buildings in compliance with New York City regulations.
Our Emergency Action Plan support can handle your building’s ongoing changes and ensure that your building is up to date with plans approved and filed with the FDNY. Contact us to learn more.