Fire and Life Safety Director Certificate of Fitness

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Effective Date: 
Thursday, December 1, 2016

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.