Fire Safety Tips for High-Rise Buildings
When a fire starts, it can spread fast, and residents of high-rise buildings can face a critical risk, due to the very nature of a high-rise structure. Factors impacting this include egress, fire control and smoke movement through the building, as well as evacuation procedures. All these factors and more can affect residents’ safety.
In 2016, according to the National Fire Protection Association, there were approximately 95,000 apartment structure fires, causing more than 300 deaths and 3,000 injuries. While residents are responsible for abiding by standard fire safety protocols in their homes, community associations can be instrumental in making sure the entire building is as safe as possible.
HOW SPRINKLERED ARE YOU?
A fully sprinklered building is the safest way to go to put out a fire and stop it from spreading.
WHAT FIRE SAFETY FEATURES DOES YOUR BUILDING HAVE?
Associations can meet with the building manager to assess fire alarms, sprinklers, voice communication systems, and evacuation plans. A focus on fire alarms, as well as residents’ responsibility with smoke detectors, is vital.
REVIEW PAST INSPECTIONS
Have there been any recommendations made after an inspection that haven’t been implemented? Reviewing past inspections and being involved in upcoming inspections is a great way to assess your building’s needs and make improvements.
FIRE ESCAPE SAFETY
Make sure fire escape are up to code and that security gates are approved by the fire department. Reminding residents to keep fire escape exits clear is also important.
ARE ALL EXITS CLEARLY MARKED?
All stairwell and exit doors should be clearly marked. They should not be locked or blocked with security bars, and they should be free of clutter.
HAVE A FIRE SAFETY PLAN
Educating tenants on fire safety yearly, conducting annual fire drills, and creating an evacuation plan is necessary. Your fire safety plan should include information on prevention, specific to your building, and different ways to exit the building. This plan should be posted on the Interior and common areas of each floor.
UNDERSTAND THE RISKS OF ALUMINUM CLADDING IF APPLICABLE
Aluminum cladding is construction material that is commonly used for building facades, insulation, or for signage. The cladding is found in panels that are composed of aluminum composite material, and while it is cost-effective and easy to install, aluminum cladding can act as a “chimney” during a fire, spreading the flames quickly.