5) Overlook The General Public – The recent nightclub fire tragedy in Brazil where over 230 people died raises an important point – routine fire drills will do nothing to protect guests who have never been in your building before.
In the event of an emergency, visitors will naturally flee the building using the entrance they are familiar with – the one they came through. Even building occupants will become creatures of habit and seek out whatever pathway they use at morning and night.
But what if that known exit is blocked? Signage, emergency lighting, and unblocked egress options become paramount in such a situation and may be the only backup measures leading guests to safety.
Know How to Operate Your Building
Even if you're vigilant about life safety, system malfunctions may test the limits of your own knowledge, cautions Reid. Your ability to respond and recover from equipment and system failures can be invaluable in crisis or even prevent one from happening. Are you prepared to handle:
- Elevator entrapments or system failures
- CO gas detection alarms within parking garages
- Emergency generator manual start-up procedures for power failures
- Manual shut down of fire pumps, sprinkler systems,
HVAC units, and building air intakes
- Minor chemical spills or leaks
"If the operator is not prepared, there will be delays in response," notes Reid. "A slow return to business operations may negatively impact the reputation of both the building and management personnel."
Robust life safety and fire protection start with an awareness of your risks and concrete plans to mitigate them. There's no stronger return on investment than keeping occupants safe and protecting your building from damage.
Jennie Morton email@example.com is associate editor of BUILDINGS.