Here’s how lower occupancy will impact your building’s life safety systems this fall

Most commercial/office buildings, gyms, and indoor recreational spaces such as museums are open. However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to stress the importance of staying vigilant, wearing a mask, ensuring social distancing, lowering occupancy, and updating ventilation systems in the months ahead, where COVID-19 is still a threat. Here’s how lower occupancy will impact your building’s life safety systems this fall and things to consider as you evaluate your building operations.

First, it’s important to make sure your emergency response systems are fully operational and communicating to your central station provider. With fewer facility management personnel on site, it is important to make sure alarms in your building are being communicated to emergency response professionals in case of emergency.

Implement low-occupancy procedures to increase energy efficiency and reduce operational costs. Consult your building engineer and lighting, boiler and HVAC vendors to see how you can cut utility costs while remaining code compliant.

Assess the condition of life safety systems. Schedule a semi-annual inspection of the fire alarm system during normal business hours. A bonus of low-occupancy circumstances is that the fire alarm vendor can clean and test all devices without worrying about alarms going off and disturbing very many tenants.

Review current security technology in place— are there improvements you have been putting off because they were hard to complete with a full occupancy load?


Note: Here are some additional basic security improvements you may want to consider and the NFPA fact sheet for maintaining emergency systems.