What Are Fire Safety Requirements in Apartment Buildings?
Landlords and tenants both have responsibilities when it comes to fire safety for apartments. In Ontario, landlords must make sure that smoke alarms are installed on each level of the apartment complex, and that they are checked once a month. Tenants must make sure that the smoke alarms are all turned on and in good working condition. If there are any building managers, they have responsibilities as well.
An apartment complex can potentially have a large number of occupants with different needs. For example, visual fire alarms may be required if there are any hearing repaired occupants.
Fire Safety Plan
In addition to equipment, there are also rules that have to be followed. Fire safety for apartments begins with a good plan. The Ontario Fire Code requires that an establishment such as an apartment building implements a Fire Safety Plan, which has to be acceptable to the Chief Fire Official. The required plan should be designed to suit the specific resources of each individual building or complex.
Responsibilities of the Owner
If you are the owner of an apartment complex, you must screen your tenants carefully so that you don’t end up with somebody who doesn’t respect the fire safety rules. You especially do not want to end up with irresponsible people who might end up starting a fire due to neglect or even vandalism.
Here are a few tips for increasing fire safety for apartments.
- Work with a fire protection company to determine what type of devices, alarms, extinguishers, and sprinklers you need, and the ideal locations for them. If the complex already has the equipment, have them inspected to make sure they are in good condition.
- Instruct occupants and staff on what their responsibilities are for fire safety.
- Consider appointing and organizing staff to perform fire safety duties.
- Have a Plan B prepared for the safety of occupants in the event that fire protection equipment is shutdown.
- Make sure that all inspections and tests are performed on schedule and keep copies of all of the records.
Responsibilities of Building Manager
Whether you are a building manager yourself, or wish to appoint one, the responsibilities are as follows:
- Maintain the approved Fire Safety Plan and that all of the provisions set forth in the Plan are carried out.
- Know all of the appropriate codes and regulations and comply with them.
- Train competent staff to complete all of the required safety duties during your absence. If a position becomes vacant, fill it immediately.
- Provide important information such as elevator locations, service rooms, keys, etc. to firefighters.
- Keep all access areas, exits, passageways, and stairways free of obstructions.
- Hold fire drills, participate in them, and complete records of the drills.
- When authorized by a fire service officer, reset a fire alarm system.
Additional Tips for Fire Safety in Apartments
- Keep electrical panels, space heaters, and controls to the sprinkler system clear of obstructions.
- There should always be an eighteen inch or more clearance maintained from the sprinkler heads.
- Storage areas should always be kept clean and organized.
- Flammable liquids must be stored in approved cabinets or containers.
- There should be the recommended fire extinguisher located on each floor, basement, and the parking garage. They must be accessible from any part of the floor.
This is simply an overview of how fire safety for apartments works. It’s important that you learn the regulations for your area and follow them accordingly. Fire safety is something that everyone, including tenants, should work together to achieve and maintain..