If you own or manage a high-rise residential or business operations building, were you aware that over half of high-rise fires occur in apartments, hotels, offices, and medical facilities? Given this, it’s imperative that you have fully-functioning fire suppression systems and a thorough fire evacuation plan.
A survey was recently conducted with 119 businesses. It was found that just 35% of these businesses had some type of fire evacuation plan in place. It’s been shown that when a business or residential building has on-site personnel that are trained in fire response, it can have a positive impact on avoiding and detecting fires.
According to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) “FAQs about building evacuation,” there are several key elements involved with preparing for an emergency such as a fire. In addition to having an early warning system, such as an alarm or voice communication system, there should also be clearly labeled exit routes.
Furthermore, everyone that lives or works within the building should be familiar with the evacuation plan. In addition to identifying key personnel to assist with the evacuation process, when possible, the building’s residents should practice evacuation procedures until they become automatic.
While not all building owners and operators are mandated by the NFPA to provide regular emergency drills, it is still advised. However, the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code mandates that regular emergency drills are to be conducted within the following environments:
- Healthcare facilities
- Educational institutions
- Other types of occupancies
The NFPA indicates that these regular emergency drills should include both evacuation and relocation plans. Furthermore, drills should be scheduled and held when practical or expedient.
Even when an emergency plan is clearly delineated and practiced, unexpected emergency situations may arise. The NFPA states that these preparedness plans are designed with the building or structure in mind, and focus on accidental fires. As a result, they stress the importance of being informed and understanding how and when to take action.
While fire drills aren’t mandated for all building types, the NFPA does encourage employees to ask their employers for annual mock drills. However, some employers and employees may choose to do this on a more regular basis. This makes sense particularly when a business has been experiencing employee turnover or absenteeism.
Occupants living in high-rise apartments and condominiums should also request information and fire evacuation drills. The property owner, manager, or other designated personnel could provide this potentially life-saving service.
One of the major preventative steps is to have all of your fire alarm systems inspected and tested on a regular basis. If your building has an outdated system, or one which may not be working optimally, a fire protection company can provide repairs and/or install a new system.
A fire protection company will also be able to determine whether you have the right type of fire alarm systems in place. When you have a fire protection contractor evaluate your building’s fire alarm systems, they will be able to advise you on the proper systems.