Fire Safety: Protecting Those in High-Rise Residential Condominiums
November 18, 2015
With all the perks of living in a high-rise condominium, it is obvious why so many residents choose them as their home. Those tall buildings typically are in downtown areas of a bustling city, making them ideal locations for residents. You have all the amenities you need conveniently within walking distance. Quite often, there is a concierge service that adds a unique touch to the atmosphere. On top of that, you can enjoy fantastic views from the top floors of the high-rise
But those living in a high-rise must face the challenge of fire safety. The higher up you are, the more difficult it will be to get yourself to a safe location in the event of a fire. However, there are measures in place to protect the residents inside of the building and to prevent a fire from even occurring
Let’s look at what you should know about fire safety if you live in a high-rise residential condominium.
Know the Emergency Plan
The condo association should have a plan put in place in the case of an emergency. Whether you are on the board or not, you should know the details of the plan to protect yourself and anyone that lives with you.
The fire safety plan should have multiple aspects to it. It should map out the escape routes on every floor and pinpoint meeting locations in the event of an evacuation. Every resident should be aware of the emergency exits near their unit, location of fire safety equipment, and how to trigger the fire alarm system, if needed.
If there is no plan, it is the responsibility of the owner to provide one. Law requires fire safety plans to protect those who occupy the building. Additionally, the plan is designed to prevent a fire in the first place.
Have Emergency Systems in Place
A high-rise building should have multiple emergency systems in place to protect the residents. First, is the fire alarm system. Each bedroom of a unit is required by law to have a smoke detector, including any hallways that connect to a bedroom. A smoke detector can be the first line of defense for protecting and notifying residents of a fire.
However, for high-rise buildings, a more elaborate fire alarm system would be beneficial. Having something installed that alerts all of the occupants of the building that a fire has ensued is essential to the safety of everyone on every level. Furthermore, some alarm systems are connected to local fire departments, so that first responders can be immediately alerted without anyone having to place a call.
Regulations also require a fire sprinkler system be installed in high-rise buildings that are three stories and higher. Buildings that do not currently have sprinkler systems in place should be retrofitted with one. These systems activate when triggered by smoke or flames and release an agent to extinguish the fire. Some use water, while others have a chemical agent that is better suited for areas prone to damage from water.
Have Constant Communication
Lack of communication can easily turn a small situation into a disaster. Everyone associated with the building should have an understanding of the emergency systems in place, and know what protocol to follow in the case of a fire. Without this communication, a small kitchen fire can quickly consume the building and harm anyone inside of it.
It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that residents are contacted when an emergency system is disabled for any reason. If the system is down for more than 24 hours, the local fire department needs to be notified, as well.
Communication between tenants, the management team, and the owner of the building also ties in with the emergency plan. Any time there are updates or changes to the plan, all residents should be informed. Furthermore, safely evacuating residents with special needs should also be included in the emergency plan.
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