Code Considerations for Effective Fire Protection
Focusing on precautions, education, and protection can help keep facilities and occupants safe
Fire-prevention codes require the proper maintenance of fire protection systems. They also might require that facilities install additional fire protection and life safety systems in an existing building. As a fire-prevention code changes, new requirements can necessitate upgrades to an existing building. These upgrades involve installing sprinkler systems, standpipes, smoke detectors and fire alarm systems.
Fire-prevention codes also require development of evacuation and emergency-response plans and fire drills.
An evacuation plan establishes a procedure to evacuate building occupants. For example, new and existing high-rise office buildings must conduct fire drills and instruct employees on the type and use of fire-extinguishers. An emergency-response plan that describes the building’s fire protection and life-safety systems normally is prepared just after construction finishes and then is given to the local fire department. While developing fir-protection plans, managers should review the plans with the local code official or fire department.
Fire-prevention codes also require that departments keep written logs and records of maintenance and testing of all fire-protection and life-safety systems. The local code official or fire insurance company also might require incident reports concerning fire emergencies and fire drill schedules.
Building codes and fire codes vary. A building contractor or designer should always consult with the appropriate building code and fire-code official for recommended fire safety measures.
This article is adapted from BOMI International’s course, The Design, Operation, and Maintenance of Buildings, Part II, part of the Real Property Administrator (RPA) and Facilities Management Administrator (FMA) designation programs. For more information regarding this course or the new High-Performance certificate courses, call (800) 235-2664 or visit www.bomi.org.