How to conduct NYC Fire Drills During COVID-19
Back in March, the FDNY allowed, not required, NYC building owners to postpone fire drills and non-fire emergency drills during the COVID-19 outbreak because such drills require building occupants to gather for ten or more minutes in a tight space such as a building corridor. The March 13th memo states: “building owners who elect to postpone drills are encouraged to distribute to all required drill participants, either on-line or in hard copy, written information addressing fire safety and/or non-fire emergency preparedness.” The notice went on to say, “a log entry shall be made by the building owner or Fire and Life Safety Director indicating the postponement or delayed scheduling of any drill and the reason thereof, and/or the distribution to require drill participants of fire safety/non-fire emergency preparedness information. A copy of the information so distributed shall be kept on fire and made available to the Fire Department upon request.”
We inquired with the FDNY on October 6th, 2020, to see if they have posted any updated information and guidelines. They responded immediately saying, “As of now, there are no new guidelines. Fire drills can still be postponed.”
So what does that mean for your building? Can you continue to postpone your NYC Fire Drill?
First, you are allowed to keep postponing your fire drills out of concern for your tenants’ health and safety. This may be a relief for many of those who are concerned about jamming tenants into tight corridors or trying to find designated emergency floor managers who will always be in the building and not, say, working at home. However, that does not mean you should forget about fire safety. Now more than ever, it is imperative to ensure all your tenants receive written fire safety/non-fire emergency preparedness information. Tenants should still be aware of what they need to do and where they need to go in case of an emergency while in their office.
Second, it is essential to remember that some drills are also required by Federal or State law or regulation. In those cases, building owners should consult the Federal or State agency having jurisdiction as to whether the postponement of the drill is authorized.
Lastly, we encourage all building owners and managers to keep a detailed log of all fire safety information they are dispersing to their tenants, including names and dates. As we noted above from the March 13, 2020 memo, the FDNY expects all building owners to keep a log of all fire safety and non-fire emergency preparedness information. A copy of this information should be kept on file and made available to the FDNY upon request.
If you are having issues with false alarms here are potentially 4 causes for those false alarms: Here.
We at A-Z Fire Safety and Security are here to help you navigate this process and are available to assist your building in ensuring your life safety needs are met. Please feel free to reach out regarding FDNY violation consultation, fire safety plan design, and any additional questions you may have.