Fire Safety Plans | ROI Beyond Code Compliance

March 13, 2012

How can a fire-safety plan contribute to your ROI?  More than just code compliance, an effective fire safety plan can benefit your bottom line.


Let’s look at the benefits of maintaining a professional, up-to-date fire safety plan and the return on investment for building owners and facility managers.

How can a fire-safety plan contribute to your ROI?  More than just code compliance, an effective fire safety plan can benefit your bottom line.

Let’s look at the benefits of maintaining a professional, up-to-date fire safety plan and the return on investment for building owners and facility managers.

Building-owner benefits

Fire-safety plans can save lives and eliminate red tape if there is an incident in your building.

Implementing a fire-safety plan may seem daunting, but once a plan is established it needs only an annual update. Fire-safety plans provide valuable life-safety information for occupants, property managers, building owners, and firefighters. 

A properly constructed fire-safety plan includes detailed instructions about how to inspect and test life-safety systems, equipment, fire drill procedures, and emergency instructions.  The fire code requires that building owners test systems to ensure readiness. Adherence ensures building owners are compliant and are effectively protecting employees, building occupants and the corporate reputation.

A direct benefit of a well-appointed fire-safety plan is the opportunity to attract prospective clients such as corporations looking to lease space,or individuals looking to purchase a home. Proactive due diligence with consideration to the status of building life-safety systems and emergency management programs in their decisions is a growing trend that cannot be overlooked.   A property owner’s reputation when it comes to safety is an important consideration for prospective clients.

Let’s take a look at fire safety ROI.  In Toronto an average response to a high-rise fire alarm costs property owners $1,050.00 each if deemed a nuisance.  It is important to note that each property receives one (1) non-chargeable “nuisance” response per year.  The objective of charging property owners for this nuisance is to reduce false alarms and proactively prevent a waste of emergency resources.  A nuisance fire alarm is defined as an activation of a fire alarm system through mechanical failure, equipment failure, operator error, improper maintenance or installation of the system.  Almost all of these are preventable.

Property-management benefits

Building managers, residential superintendents, and property supervisory personnel are required to be familiar with their building’s life-safety systems. A properly developed fire-safety plan provides a clear overview of building safety systems, procedures for supervisory personnel, and reference material for use in a building emergency.

A complete plan provides detailed information and procedures for conducting fire drills, testing and inspection requirements, annual occupant and superintendent training, and what to do in the event of a life-safety system failure. These components are critical to successful property management and the protection of the public and tenants, and allow for achieving due diligence and risk mitigation.

Unique to NLS Group, Fire Safety Plans provide an overview of buildings systems and act as an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) for building superintendents to use on a day to day basis.  The ERP provides detailed procedures for building personnel to use as consistent guide to respond to critical infrastructure failures and operational concerns.

Benefits to building occupants

Fire-safety plans provide detailed instructions for building occupants on actions to take if there is a fire, an evacuation order, or if tenants are told to shelter in place.

A fire-safety plan provides tactical information to assist the fire department in rescue operations, property conservation efforts, and dealing with hazardous materials. If this information is known and understood by all building staff it can limit costly operational disruptions and allow a return to business.  It is this rapid recovery time that impacts the bottom line and corporate reputation.

Some building safety plans include detailed building information and floor plans that can be used by specialty response teams in the event of violent incidents, reports of suspicious packages, and criminal acts in residential buildings or workplaces. This type of proactive planning significantly enhances the safety of building occupants, and provides due diligence to the building owners in support of ongoing OSHA and workplace violence programs.

An outdated, incorrect, or inaccessible fire-safety plan may hinder emergency operations. This can negatively impact public safety and expose your organization to significant risk and liabilities.

Persons requiring assistance (PRAs) in building emergencies

People who have speech, hearing, visual, cognitive limitation, or mobility issues all require assistance in building emergencies. A fire-safety plan should contain a list of those in the building who need help and the procedures necessary to get them out of the building. In an evacuation or other emergency, this plan should be made available to the responding emergency services.

Professional planning

Clear and concise tools such as floor drawings, isolation points for sprinklers, HVAC, gas and electrical can decrease response times, reduce operational impact and property damage, and contribute to firefighter safety and enhanced occupant safety.

A properly completed fire-safety plan allows fire departments to conduct virtual building tours and become familiar with your building without impacting your operations or your tenants. This permits a proactive review of high-hazard areas and the identification of response and evacuation challenges.

Jason D. Reid is the Principal Consultant for National Life Safety Group, a consultation firm providing infrastructure emergency management & continuity of operations.

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