FDNY Subscribe to RSS - FDNY

Fire Department
Codified Title: 
Title 3: Fire Department

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:6)

Agency:
Comment By: 
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Proposed Rules Content: 

 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

The Fire Code regulates the manufacturing, storage, handling, use and transportation of hazardous materials in New York City, including liquefied carbon dioxide, a compressed gas that is a potential asphyxiant (i.e., suffocation hazard). The fire safety regulations for carbon dioxide installations currently set forth in Section 3004-01 of Title 3 of the Rules of the City of New York are outdated, as they are based on reference industry standards dating from 1984 and 1986.

 

Carbon dioxide is used for refrigerating and fire extinguishing systems, but the most common use is for carbonation of soft drinks in restaurants and other places of business.  Steel containers storing carbon dioxide, pressurized and liquefied to below minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit, are installed in such premises and connected by special piping to the fountains that dispense soft drinks and supply the carbon dioxide needed to carbonate the beverages.  Cargo tank trucks periodically refill these containers through a fill connection on the outside of the building that is connected by piping to the storage container.  This system is typically self-contained; it is not connected to any building systems other than being plugged into a standard electrical outlet.

 

After reviewing current industry standards, the Fire Department proposes to repeal and re‑promulgate Section 3004-01 in order to reference the relevant provisions of the 2015 International Fire Code, the model code upon which the New York City Fire Code is based and the National Fire Protection Association standard referenced by the International Fire Code, and to eliminate or update the New York City-specific design, installation, operation and maintenance requirements set forth in the rule.

 

The proposed rule would:

 

·        regulate carbon dioxide beverage dispensing systems storing more than 100 pounds of liquefied carbon dioxide (that is, all but the smallest containers for commercial use for liquefied carbon dioxide);

 

·        require the installation of such systems by a Fire Department certificate of fitness holder;

 

·        eliminate outdated design and installation requirements, such as copper piping, that are no longer approved for use in carbon dioxide beverage dispensing systems, and reference new design and installation standards, including carbon dioxide detection and alarm systems;

 

·        allow installers to electronically file with the Fire Department the report certifying the installation of the system, and require submission of a report if there is a release of carbon dioxide or activation of the carbon dioxide detection and alarm system;

 

·        require “quick checks” of the system at time of delivery, and full inspections on an annual basis; and

 

·        standardize recordkeeping requirements for such systems.

 

This rule was identified for repeal and re-promulgation in response to a review of the City’s existing rules conducted by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations, working with the New York City Law Department and Office of Management and Budget, to reduce regulatory burdens, increase equity, support small businesses, and simplify and update content to help support public understanding and compliance.

 

The entire proposed rule is underlined, indicating that it is a new rule.

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

 

Subject: 

3RCNY Section 3004-01 Use of Carbon Dioxide in Beverage Dispensing Systems

Location: 
Fire Department Auditorium
9 MteroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Contact: 

No contact

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

 Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule

The Fire Department is increasing the amounts it charges patients and insurers for Emergency Medical Service (EMS) ambulance transport service provided through the New York City 911 System, to reflect increased costs and help defray the City’s cost of providing these services.

The charges for ambulance service were last increased five years ago, in March 2012.  The new rates reflect a 10.4% increase in the salary of EMS and other Fire Department personnel. The rate increases will help the Fire Department recoup the cost of providing ambulance service and reduce the portion of such cost that is currently borne by City taxpayers.

The schedule of charges represents a single rate for BLS service, and separate rates for ALS1 and ALS2 levels of service.  The definition of BLS, ALS1 and ALS2 are determined by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The charges set forth in the rule are the amounts that the Fire Department would bill for EMS ambulance treatment and transport service.  The charges do not necessarily reflect the amounts accepted by the Fire Department as payment for such services from government and private health insurance plans.

Effective Date: 
Sun, 03/12/2017

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Final Rule


The Fire Code regulates the manufacturing, storage, handling, use and transportation of hazardous materials in New York City, including fuel oil, a combustible liquid.

Section 3405-01 of the Fire Department’s rules (Title 3 of the Rules of the City of New York) allows mobile heating and power generating trailers to operate with a citywide permit, and sets forth permit, supervision, and design and installation requirements. The rule was originally developed in response to the use of these trailers to serve buildings whose heating or electrical systems were undergoing major repairs or replacement and were taken out of service.  The trailers are typically parked on the street and connected to building utilities by piping or electrical lines.

Effective Date: 
Wed, 03/15/2017

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Proposed Rules Content: 

 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

The Fire Department is proposing to increase the amounts it charges patients and insurers for Emergency Medical Service (EMS) ambulance transport service provided through the New York City 911 System, to reflect increased costs and help defray the City’s cost of providing these services.

 

The charges for ambulance service were last increased five years ago, in March 2012.  The proposed rates reflect a 10.4% increase in the salary of EMS and other Fire Department personnel. The proposed rate increases will help the Fire Department recoup the cost of providing ambulance service and reduce the portion of such cost that is currently borne by City taxpayers.

 

The proposed schedule of charges represents a single rate for BLS service, and separate rates for ALS1 and ALS2 levels of service.  The definition of BLS, ALS1 and ALS2 are determined by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

 

The current and proposed charges set forth below are the amounts that the Fire Department would bill for EMS ambulance treatment and transport service.  The charges do not necessarily reflect the amounts accepted by the Fire Department as payment for such services from government and private health insurance plans.

 

The Fire Department proposes to amend subdivision (b) of §4900-02 of Title 3 of the Rules of the City of New York to adopt the following schedule of charges for ambulance transport service provided by the Fire Department through the New York City 911 System:

 

Subject: 

Schedule of Charges for Fire Department Ambulance Transport Service

Location: 
Fire Department Auditorium
9 MteroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Contact: 

No contact

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf): 

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:1)

Agency:
Comment By: 
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

The Fire Code regulates the manufacturing, storage, handling, use and transportation of hazardous materials in New York City, including fuel oil, a combustible liquid.

 

Currently, Section 3405-01 of the Fire Department’s rules (Title 3 of the Rules of the City of New York) allows mobile heating and power generating trailers to operate with a citywide permit, and sets forth permit, supervision, and design and installation requirements. The rule was originally developed in response to the use of these trailers to serve buildings whose heating or electrical systems were undergoing major repairs or replacement and were taken out of service.  The trailers are typically parked on the street and connected to building utilities by piping or electrical lines.

 

Permitting of Mobile Trailers for Outdoor Gatherings

 

When the current rule was promulgated, the Fire Department did not envision that these trailers would be used at public gatherings like street fairs and festivals near large numbers of people, cooking operations, and other activities where their presence may potentially pose a danger to others. In response to this unanticipated use of these trailers, the Fire Department is proposing to amend the rule to clarify when the citywide permit may be used and what it authorizes, and to specifically provide that a site-specific permit, different from the one used for building heating and electrical systems, is required for mobile heating and power generating trailers used at street fairs, bazaars, carnivals, concerts, festivals, and similar outdoor gatherings.

 

Additional Capacity Permitted

 

The Fire Department additionally proposes to amend the rule to increase from 550 gallons to 1200 gallons the fuel oil storage capacity permitted on mobile heating and power generating trailers.  Trailers with 1200-gallon tanks have become the industry standard; use of such trailers has been allowed by the Fire Department by modification (variance) without incident.  Although the rule would allow the on-site storage of a substantial additional amount of fuel, the risk of fire and fuel spills is greatest when the tanks are being filled.  During peak usage, when the equipment is in constant operation, a 550 gallon tank may need to be refueled daily.  The larger tank reduces the need for frequent fueling and therefore reduces the risk of fire or spills.  Accordingly, the Fire Department has concluded that 1200-gallon capacity trailers should be allowed, eliminating the need for special applications and additional fees to obtain permission to use larger tanks.

 

Elimination of Certificate of Fitness Requirement For Most Uses

 

The Fire Department further proposes to amend the rule to provide that mobile heating and power-generating trailers only need to be supervised when connected to a high-pressure boiler.  Personal supervision of most residential heating systems is no longer required by the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) now that use of #6 fuel oil has been virtually eliminated for environmental reasons and replaced by fuels that do not require pre-heating.  Personal supervision by a DOB-licensed operating engineer continues to be required by DOB for high-pressure boilers.  Accordingly, under this proposal, the requirement of a certificate of fitness would be eliminated where no high-pressure boiler is involved.

 

Rule Clarifications

 

The proposed rule includes two clarifications.  First, the section would be amended to make clear that it applies only to mobile heating and power generating trailers with storage for more than 10 gallons of combustible liquid fuel on the trailer or in the equipment mounted thereon, which  require a permit as set forth in FC105.6 .

 

Second, the scope of the rule would be amended to clarify that a mobile trailer with heating and power generating equipment that stores 10 gallons or less of combustible liquid fuel (or no fuel) in or upon the trailer, but is fueled by an off-vehicle temporary tank, is subject to the permit requirement applicable to combustible liquid fuel storage in the tank (also set forth in FC105.6), rather than the permit requirement applicable to mobile trailers.

 

To summarize, the proposed rule:

 

1.    Clarifies the authorization granted to operate mobile trailers under a citywide permit and makes clear that use at a street fair requires a site-specific permit to address the fire safety concerns associated with operation at such an event;

 

2.    Allows larger (1200-gallon) tanks to be installed on such mobile trailers instead of the current 550 gallon tanks;

 

3.    Eliminates the supervision requirement except for use of such mobile trailers in connection with high-pressure boilers;

 

4.    Clarifies that the rule applies only to mobile heating and power generating trailers that require a permit – that is, trailers with storage for more than 10 gallons of combustible liquid fuel on the trailer or in the equipment mounted thereon; and

 

5.    Clarifies that a mobile trailer with heating and power generating equipment that stores 10 gallons or less of combustible liquid fuel (or no fuel) in or upon the trailer, but is fueled by an off-vehicle temporary tank, is subject to the permit requirement applicable to combustible liquid fuel storage in the tank, not the permit requirement applicable to mobile trailers.

 

Working with the City’s rulemaking agencies, the Law Department, and the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Operations conducted a retrospective rules review of the City’s existing rules, identifying those rules that will be repealed or modified to reduce regulatory burdens, increase equity, support small businesses, and simplify and update content to help support public understanding and compliance. Portions of this proposed rule amendment were identified through this initiative.

 

Text that has been deleted is indicated by [brackets].  Text that has been added is underlined.

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

 

Guidance with respect to the interpretation of the Fire Code and Fire Department rules may be obtained using the Public Inquiry Form on the Fire Department’s website,http://www1.nyc.gov/site/fdny/about/resources/code-and-rules/nyc-fire-code.page.

 

Subject: 

Storage and Use of Fuel Oil on Mobile Trailers for Heating and Power Generation

Location: 
Fire Department Auditorium
9 MetroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Contact: 

No contact

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf): 

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Final Rule

 

The Fire Department issues licenses known as certificates of fitness authorizing qualified persons to serve as Fire Safety and Emergency Action Plan (Fire Safety/EAP) Directors in office buildings, and Fire Safety Directors in hotels and in other buildings that have voluntarily installed fire alarm systems with two-way voice communication.  Fire Safety/EAP Directors and Fire Safety Directors train building occupants in the building’s emergency procedures in case of fire, and implement those procedures when there is a fire.

 

The 2014 Fire Code (incorporating amendments enacted by Local Law No. 148 of 2013) replaced these two certificates of fitness with a single certificate of fitness for a Fire and Life Safety (FLS) Director in both types of occupancies. This rule implements the new Fire Code requirements by repealing the two rules relating to Fire Safety Director (3 RCNY §113-02) and Fire Safety/EAP Director (3 RCNY §113‑03) and replacing them with a new Section 113-02 for FLS Director.

 

The 2014 Fire Code was also updated to cover non-fire emergencies, such as situations involving active shooters and medical emergencies.  This rule requires persons applying for an FLS Director certificate of fitness to obtain training in these areas.

 

In response to public comment, the timeframe for implementation of these Fire Code requirements has been extended.

 

Beginning March 1, 2020, all occupancies currently required to be staffed by a Fire Safety/EAP Director or Fire Safety Director are required to be staffed instead by a person holding an FLS Director certificate of fitness.

 

This rule sets forth the procedure and timeframes by which current Fire Safety/EAP Directors and Fire Safety Directors must transition to the new FLS Director certificate of fitness:

 

  • Fire Safety/EAP Directors, who have been trained in non-fire emergencies, must complete an active shooter and medical emergency training course from an accredited training school (based on a curriculum recently developed by the Fire Department and the New York City Police Department) by the earlier of September 4, 2017 or the date of expiration of the Fire Safety/EAP Director certificate of fitness, in order to obtain their new FLS Director certificate of fitness.  No Fire Department written or on-site (practical) examination will be required for active Fire Safety/EAP Directors who timely complete the active shooter and medical emergency training course.

 

  • Fire Safety Directors, who do not hold the EAP certificate of fitness and have not been trained in non-fire emergencies, must complete an active shooter and medical emergency training course by the earlier of September 4, 2017 or the date of expiration of the Fire Safety Director certificate of fitness.  Fire Safety Directors must thereafter complete a full course in non‑fire emergencies by the earlier of September 3, 2018 or the date of expiration of the Fire Safety Director certificate of fitness.  Fire Safety Directors may, if they wish, take the full course (which includes training in active shooter and medical emergencies) by the earlier of September 4, 2017 or the date of expiration of the Fire Safety Director certificate of fitness, instead of the two courses.  Upon completion of the full course, Fire Safety Directors must apply for the new FLS Director certificate of fitness and complete the necessary written examination by the earlier of March 1, 2020 or the date of expiration of the Fire Safety Director certificate of fitness.

 

The certificates of fitness for Fire Safety/EAP Directors and Fire Safety Directors who do not comply with these requirements, or who fail the applicable FLS Director written examination, will be suspended and the holder may be required to apply as a new applicant.

 

First-time certificate of fitness applicants must comply with the new FLS Director certificate of fitness requirements, including attending and successfully completing an accredited course that includes fire safety and non-fire emergency training, and passing written and practical Fire Department examinations.

 

Public comment was mixed in response to the Fire Department’s proposal to establish a minimum of one year of qualifying experience for the FLS Director certificate (as opposed to the current requirement of three years for a Fire Safety Director).  Some supported the change as a beneficial expansion of the pool of qualified applicants; others were concerned that one year was insufficient qualifying experience.  After further consideration, the Fire Department has determined to strike a balance by retaining the current requirement of 3 years of qualifying experience, but accepting as an alternative qualification 18 months of qualifying experience that includes 6 months of continuous employment at one work location.  In the Fire Department’s judgment, continuous employment at one location deepens an applicant’s understanding of building operations and/or increases the likelihood of exposure to the types of incidents and emergencies that an FLS Director will encounter.

 

This rule also amends and expands the existing rule for the Fire Safety Director training course (3 RCNY §113-05) to cover all requirements for FLS Director training courses, including the requirements in the existing rule for Fire Safety/EAP Director training courses (3 RCNY §113‑06).

 

New Section 113-06 sets forth the requirements for courses for active shooter and medical emergency training. In response to public comment, the rule has been revised to make clear that FLS Directors are neither expected nor required to personally provide patient care.

 

Active shooter and medical emergency training have been added as a component of the FLS Director training course, but the requirements have also been set forth in a separate section to allow accredited educators and educational institutions to offer it as a separate training course for emergency preparedness staff and other building staff not seeking an FLS Director certificate. In response to public comment, the curriculum for the medical emergency training course will make clear that:

 

  • FLS Directors are neither expected nor required to personally provide patient care, as their duties as FLS Director require them to remain at the fire command center during an emergency.

 

  • A building owner is not required to establish or train an emergency medical response team, but only to invite CPR-trained or other qualified persons working at the premises to volunteer to be contacted in the event of a medical emergency on the premises, and to establish a procedure by which they can be notified (such as a text or call).

 

  • The volunteer’s unavailability, untimely response, or unwillingness to respond to a notification of a medical emergency does not constitute a breach of the owner’s or the emergency preparedness staff’s obligations under this rule.

 

Also, in response to public comment, the qualifications for conducting the active shooter and medical emergency training have been revised to include instructors experienced in fire safety and non-fire emergency (EAP) training.  (One of the instructor qualification provisions, inadvertently marked for deletion, has been restored.)

 

Conforming terminology changes have been made to the general certificate of fitness rule (3 RCNY §113-01), the training course accreditation rule (3 RCNY §113-04) and the Fire Code fee schedule (3 RCNY §4601-01).

 

This rule also:

 

·         Requires verifiable proof of qualifications or fitness to serve as an FLS Director or other certificate of fitness.

 

·         Codifies the current practice of allowing applicants who fail the Fire Department-accredited training course examination to take the examination a second time.  Applicants who fail a second time must re-take the training course.

 

·         Establishes an original application fee of $25, test fee of $25, and a practical (on-site) examination fee of $750 for the new FLS Director certificate of fitness.  These amounts reflect the consolidation of the existing fees for Fire Safety Director and EAP Director certificates of fitness. The renewal fee of $5 remains unchanged.

 

·         Establishes an original application fee of $2,940 (and a renewal fee of $420) for an application for accreditation of the new active shooter and medical emergency course.  These fees are identical to the fees currently charged for Fire Department accreditation of other training courses, including emergency preparedness-related training courses.

 

Terms used in the rule that are defined in the Fire Code or elsewhere in the Fire Department’s rules are indicated by italics.

 

Text that has been deleted is indicated by [brackets].  Text that has been added is underlined.

 

Guidance with respect to the interpretation of the Fire Code and Fire Department rules may be obtained using the Public Inquiry Form on the Fire Department’s website, http://www1.nyc.gov/site/fdny/about/resources/code-and-rules/nyc-fire-code.page.

 

Effective Date: 
Thu, 12/01/2016

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:4)

Agency:
Comment By: 
Monday, September 19, 2016
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

The Fire Department issues licenses known as certificates of fitness authorizing qualified persons to serve as Fire Safety and Emergency Action Plan (Fire Safety/EAP) Directors in office buildings, and Fire Safety Directors in hotels and in other buildings that have voluntarily installed fire alarm systems with two-way voice communication.  Fire Safety/EAP Directors and Fire Safety Directors train building occupants in the building’s emergency procedures in case of fire, and implement those procedures when there is a fire.

 

The 2014 Fire Code (incorporating amendments enacted by Local Law No. 148 of 2013) replaced these two certificates of fitness with a single certificate of fitness for a Fire and Life Safety (FLS) Director in both types of occupancies. The proposed rule would implement the new Fire Code requirements by repealing the two rules relating to Fire Safety Director (3 RCNY §113-02) and Fire Safety/EAP Director (3 RCNY §113‑03) and replacing them with a new Section 113-02 for FLS Director.

 

The 2014 Fire Code was also updated to cover non-fire emergencies, such as situations involving active shooters and medical emergencies.  The proposed rule would require persons applying for an FLS Director certificate of fitness to obtain training in these areas.

 

Beginning March 1, 2019, all occupancies currently required to be staffed by a Fire Safety/EAP Director or Fire Safety Director would be required to be staffed instead by a person holding an FLS Director certificate of fitness.

 

The proposed rule sets forth the procedure and timeframes by which current Fire Safety/EAP Directors and Fire Safety Directors must transition to the new FLS Director certificate of fitness:

 

·         Fire Safety/EAP Directors, who have been trained in non-fire emergencies, must complete an active shooter and medical emergency training course from an accredited training school (based on a curriculum recently developed by the Fire Department and the New York City Police Department) by the earlier of March 1, 2017 or the date of expiration of the Fire Safety/EAP Director certificate of fitness, in order to obtain their new FLS Director certificate of fitness.

 

·         Fire Safety Directors, who do not hold the EAP certificate of fitness and have not been trained in non-fire emergencies, must complete an active shooter and medical emergency training course by March 1, 2017, and a full course in non‑fire emergencies by March 1, 2018, or in both cases by the expiration of the Fire Safety Director certificate of fitness if sooner, in order to obtain the new FLS Director certificate of fitness by the earlier of December 1, 2018 or the date of expiration of the Fire Safety Director certificate of fitness.

 

The certificates of fitness for Fire Safety/EAP Directors and Fire Safety Directors who do not comply with these requirements, or who fail the applicable FLS Director written examination, will be suspended and the holder may be required to apply as a new applicant.

 

First-time certificate of fitness applicants must comply with the new FLS Director certificate of fitness requirements, including attending and successfully completing an accredited course that includes fire safety and non-fire emergency training, and passing written and practical Fire Department examinations.

 

The Fire Department also proposes to amend and expand the existing rule for the Fire Safety Director training course (3 RCNY §113-05) to cover all requirements for FLS Director training courses, including the requirements in the existing rule for Fire Safety/EAP Director training courses (3 RCNY §113-06).

 

A proposed new Section 113-06 will set forth the requirements for courses for active shooter and medical emergency training. Active shooter and medical emergency training will become a component of the proposed FLS Director training course, but the requirements have also been set forth in a separate section to allow accredited educators and educational institutions to offer it as a separate training course for emergency preparedness staff and other building staff not seeking an FLS Director certificate.

 

Conforming terminology changes are proposed to be made to the general certificate of fitness rule (3 RCNY §113-01), the training course accreditation rule (3 RCNY §113-04) and the Fire Code fee schedule (3 RCNY §4601-01).

 

The proposed rule would also:

 

·         Require verifiable proof of qualifications or fitness to serve as an FLS Director or other certificate of fitness.

 

·         Codify the current practice of allowing applicants who fail the Fire Department-accredited training course examination to take the examination a second time.  Applicants who fail a second time must re-take the training course.

 

·         Establish an original application fee of $25, test fee of $25, and a practical (on-site) examination fee of $750 for the new FLS Director certificate of fitness.  These amounts reflect the consolidation of the existing fees for Fire Safety Director and EAP Director certificates of fitness. The renewal fee of $5 remains unchanged.

 

·         Establish an original application fee of $2,940 (and a renewal fee of $420) for an application for accreditation of the new active shooter and medical emergency course.  These fees are identical to the fees currently charged for Fire Department accreditation of other training courses, including emergency preparedness-related training courses.

 

Terms used in the proposed rule that are defined in the Fire Code or elsewhere in the Fire Department’s rules are indicated by italics.

 

Text proposed to be deleted is indicated by [brackets].  Text proposed to be added is underlined.

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in Fire Department rules, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

 

Guidance with respect to the interpretation of the Fire Code and Fire Department rules may be obtained using the Public Inquiry Form on the Fire Department’s website, http://www1.nyc.gov/site/fdny/about/resources/code-and-rules/nyc-fire-code.page.

 

Subject: 

.Fire and Life Safety Director Certificate of Fitness

Location: 
Fire Department Auditorium
9 MetroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Contact: 

No contact

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Final Rule

 

The Fire Code regulates the manufacturing, storage, handling, use and transportation of hazardous materials in New York City.  This includes ammonia, a corrosive liquid.

 

Ammonia in its pure (anhydrous) form (100% concentration) is used as a refrigerant in a limited number of applications, typically large industrial refrigerating systems.  In New York City, 120 to 420 gallons of ammonia circulate under pressure in each ammonia refrigerating system.  By way of comparison, common household bleach has a concentration of only 5 to 10 percent ammonia.

 

The accidental release of such highly concentrated ammonia from such refrigerating systems can pose a public safety threat.  Exposure to ammonia can result in severe skin burns and eye damage and, if inhaled, can cause severe lung injury and asphyxiation.  Ammonia also has flammable properties.  A spark can ignite concentrated ammonia vapors.

 

The risk of release from ammonia refrigerating systems and other closed systems is generally low.  Modern equipment includes various safeguards to prevent accidental refrigerant release.  However, recent events in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park have revealed a vulnerability in ammonia refrigerating systems when lubricating oil must be manually removed.

 

Lubricating oil is used in ammonia refrigerating systems to ensure the proper operation of their mechanical components.  Spent lubricating oil collects at various locations in the system and must be removed.  Some ammonia refrigerating systems are equipped with automatic removal systems that separate the spent lubricating oil from the ammonia refrigerant and remove it from the system. Such automatic separation and removal prevents accidental refrigerant release.

 

In other refrigerating systems, the spent lubricating oil is not separated from the refrigerant and must be manually removed from the refrigerant system, in some systems through a simple valve.  If the valve is not immediately shut after the spent lubricating oil is removed, ammonia refrigerant is released.  If there is a problem shutting the valve, the ammonia refrigerant will continue to be released and in a short time endanger the maintenance or servicing personnel. Such a release occurred in connection with the maintenance of the ammonia refrigerating system serving Prospect Park’s ice skating rink.  Fortunately, it occurred when the ice rink was not open to the public and the park was lightly occupied so there were no injuries, but a strong odor of ammonia was detected at a considerable distance from the facility.

 

A simple remedy, which has been adopted by the latest industry standard, can prevent this scenario: installing two valves in sequence, one self-closing.  Personnel performing manual removal of the lubricating oil must continuously hold open the self-closing valve by squeezing the valve.  As soon as the self-closing valve is released, it shuts and prevents any further release of lubricating oil or ammonia refrigerant.  The main valve can then be closed in a calm, controlled manner.

 

To address the risk of refrigerant release from ammonia refrigerating systems, the Fire Department adopts a new rule, 3 RCNY 606-01, which establishes requirements and procedures for the removal of lubricating oil from such systems.

 

Specifically, the rule requires:

·         regular servicing for ammonia refrigerating systems that automatically remove the lubricating oil;

·         basic safety procedures for ammonia refrigerating systems that require manual removal of lubricating oil and are equipped with dual valves, one self-closing;

·         additional safeguards for removal of lubricating oil from ammonia refrigerating systems equipped with a simple valve, including:

o   a second Fire Department-certificated person to monitor the removal (the Fire Department encourages the presence of a second person in all oil removal operations);

o   conducting the oil removal process outside of regular business hours; and

o   notifying the Fire Department; and

·         recordkeeping, including documenting the periodic servicing of ammonia refrigerating systems and all removals of lubricating oil from such systems.

 

The entire rule is underlined, indicating that it is a new rule.

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

 

Guidance with respect to the interpretation of the Fire Code and Fire Department rules may be obtained using the Public Inquiry Form on the Fire Department’s website,http://www1.nyc.gov/site/fdny/about/resources/code-and-rules/nyc-fire-code.page.

 

Effective Date: 
Thu, 09/01/2016

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Monday, June 13, 2016
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

The Fire Code regulates the manufacturing, storage, handling, use and transportation of hazardous materials in New York City.  This includes ammonia, a corrosive liquid.

 

Ammonia in its pure (anhydrous) form (100% concentration) is used as a refrigerant in a limited number of applications, typically large industrial refrigerating systems.  In New York City, 120 to 420 gallons of ammonia circulate under pressure in each ammonia refrigerating system.  By way of comparison, common household bleach has a concentration of only 5 to 10 percent ammonia.

 

The accidental release of such highly concentrated ammonia from such refrigerating systems can pose a public safety threat.  Exposure to ammonia can result in severe skin burns and eye damage and, if inhaled, can cause severe lung injury and asphyxiation.  Ammonia also has flammable properties.  A spark can ignite concentrated ammonia vapors.

 

The risk of release from ammonia refrigerating systems and other closed systems is generally low.  Modern equipment includes various safeguards to prevent accidental refrigerant release.  However, recent events in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park have revealed a vulnerability in ammonia refrigerating systems when lubricating oil must be manually removed.

 

Lubricating oil is used in ammonia refrigerating systems to ensure the proper operation of their mechanical components.  Spent lubricating oil collects at various locations in the system and must be removed.  Some ammonia refrigerating systems are equipped with automatic removal systems that separate the spent lubricating oil from the ammonia refrigerant and remove it from the system. Such automatic separation and removal prevents accidental refrigerant release.

 

In other refrigerating systems, the spent lubricating oil is not separated from the refrigerant and must be manually removed from the refrigerant system, in some systems through a simple valve.  If the valve is not immediately shut after the spent lubricating oil is removed, ammonia refrigerant is released.  If there is a problem shutting the valve, the ammonia refrigerant will continue to be released and in a short time endanger the maintenance or servicing personnel. Such a release occurred in connection with the maintenance of the ammonia refrigerating system serving Prospect Park’s ice skating rink.  Fortunately, it occurred when the ice rink was not open to the public and the park was lightly occupied so there were no injuries, but a strong odor of ammonia was detected at a considerable distance from the facility.

 

A simple remedy, which has been adopted by the latest industry standard, can prevent this scenario: installing two valves in sequence, one self-closing.  Personnel performing manual removal of the lubricating oil must continuously hold open the self-closing valve by squeezing the valve.  As soon as the self-closing valve is released, it shuts and prevents any further release of lubricating oil or ammonia refrigerant.  The main valve can then be closed in a calm, controlled manner.

 

To address the risk of refrigerant release from ammonia refrigerating systems, the Fire Department proposes a new rule, 3 RCNY 606-01, which would establish requirements and procedures for the removal of lubricating oil from such systems.

 

Specifically, the proposed rule would require:

·         regular servicing for ammonia refrigerating systems that automatically remove the lubricating oil;

·         basic safety procedures for ammonia refrigerating systems that require manual removal of lubricating oil and are equipped with dual valves, one self-closing;

·         additional safeguards for removal of lubricating oil from ammonia refrigerating systems equipped with a simple valve, including:

o   a second Fire Department-certificated person to monitor the removal (the Fire Department encourages the presence of a second person in all oil removal operations);

o   conducting the oil removal process outside of regular business hours; and

o   notifying the Fire Department; and

·         recordkeeping, including documenting the periodic servicing of ammonia refrigerating systems and all removals of lubricating oil from such systems.

 

The proposed rule is underlined, indicating that it is an entirely new rule.

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

 

Guidance with respect to the interpretation of the Fire Code and Fire Department rules may be obtained using the Public Inquiry Form on the Fire Department’s website,http://www1.nyc.gov/site/fdny/about/resources/code-and-rules/nyc-fire-code.page.

 

Subject: 

Removal of Lubricating Oil from Ammonia Refrigerating Systems

Location: 
Fire Department Auditorium
9 MetroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Contact: 

No contact

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Final Rules

 

The Fire Department adopts a rule, 3 RCNY §505-01, entitled “Apartment and Guest Room Identification and Directional Markings and Signs,” to set forth standards and requirements for the design and placement of entrance door room number markings for dwelling units (apartments, guest rooms and sleeping rooms) in Group R-1 and Group R-2 buildings and occupancies, and building lobby and building hallway corridor directional signs, which serve to assist emergency response personnel in locating such dwelling units when responding to fires, medical emergencies and other emergencies at the premises.

 

The Fire Code was amended by Local Law No. 148 of 2013 to include, in FC505.3, requirements for identification of apartment and guest rooms.  This rule has been adopted to implement this new section of the Fire Code.

 

The Fire Department adopts a second rule, 3 RCNY §505-02, entitled “Apartment, Guest Room and Stairwell Fire Emergency Markings,” to set forth standards and requirements for the design and placement of entrance door fire emergency markings for dwelling units (apartments, guest rooms and sleeping rooms) in Group R-1 and Group R-2 buildings or occupancies, and stairwell doors, which serve to assist firefighters in locating such dwelling units and stairwells and in identifying multi-floor dwelling units.

 

The Fire Code was amended by Local Law No. 148 of 2013 to include, in FC505.4, requirements for apartment, guest room and stairwell fire emergency markings.  This rule has been adopted to implement this new section of the Fire Code.

 

The marking of entrance doors with emergency markings serves to better facilitate firefighting operations, thereby providing a greater level of safety to firefighters and building occupants.  The fire emergency marking enables firefighters to identify apartment numbers in smoke conditions that obscure the regular (eye-level) door numbers.  Such identification ensures firefighters can more quickly conduct search and rescue operations.

 

Additionally, the fire emergency marking for multi-floor dwelling units will make it possible for firefighters to ascertain whether they are entering the lower level of an apartment, rather than the upper level of an apartment, where temperatures may be unsafe.

 

The fire emergency marking also assists in identifying apartments that are joined horizontally (such as adjoining apartments that have been combined into a single dwelling unit).  All doors are to be marked with a star or a triangle to indicate whether they are a main entrance or a secondary entrance.

 

The requirement for doors to be marked extends to entrance doors lawfully obstructed from inside the dwelling unit, such as entrances obstructed by the placement of furniture or in some cases by sealing the door with sheetrock, while giving the appearance of an unobstructed entrance door on the corridor side.  Notwithstanding the fact that such lawfully obstructed entrance doors represent a major impediment to access, this final rule requires that such entrance doors be identified as a secondary entrance.  However, depending upon fire conditions in the dwelling, it is possible that even a lawfully obstructed entrance could be the only or safest means of access to a dwelling unit.

 

Terms used in the final rules that are defined in the Fire Code or elsewhere in the Fire Department’s rules are indicated by italics.

 

The entire final rules are underlined to indicate that they are new rules.

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of the Fire Department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

 

Guidance with respect to the interpretation of the Fire Code and Fire Department rules may be obtained using the Public Inquiry Form on the Fire Department’s website, http://www1.nyc.gov/site/fdny/about/resources/code-and-rules/code-and-ru....

 

Effective Date: 
Wed, 06/01/2016

Pages