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Proposed Rules: Open to Comments

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Agency:
Comment By: 
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

The Fire Department proposes this rule to implement the provisions of Local Law No. 103 of 2019 regarding hurricane evacuation notices and to require apartment building owners to periodically inspect the fire safety notices on dwelling unit doors.

Hurricane Evacuation Notices

Local Law 103 requires apartment building owners (Group R-2 buildings and occupancies) within a hurricane evacuation zone, as designated by Commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management (now New York City Emergency Management or NYCEM) to post a hurricane evacuation notice in a common area of the building. The notice is intended to inform building occupants of the current hurricane evacuation zone designation for the building and the means by which building residents can determine the closest hurricane evacuation centers, namely by calling 311 or viewing the online Hurricane Evacuation Zone finder operated by NYCEM. The law provides that “[s]uch notice shall be in such form as prescribed by the commissioner by rule and shall be posted within a common area of the building and such other locations as set forth in the rules.”

Fire Department rule 3 RCNY §401-06 sets forth emergency preparedness requirements for apartment buildings. The proposed rule would amend Section 401-06 to require the posting of the hurricane evacuation notice in a conspicuous location in the building lobby at street level, either near the main building entrance, in the mailbox area or by the elevators or main stairwell.

The proposed rule prescribes that the notice take the form of the hurricane evacuation notice posted on NYCEM’s website and that it be affixed to the wall by adhesive or in a frame, displayed in an enclosed, locked bulletin board, or otherwise durably and securely posted.

Fire Safety Notices

Fire and emergency preparedness notices (entitled “Fire Safety Notices”) are required to be posted on the interior side of dwelling unit doors. The posting of this notice has been required for almost 20 years.

The Fire Department does not ordinarily inspect dwelling units and therefore does not have a means to enforce replacement of missing or damaged notices. When it has found missing or damaged notices, owners have maintained that the rule does not clearly require prompt replacement of the notices.

To address these issues, the Fire Department proposes to amend Section 401-06 to require building owners to inspect each dwelling unit at least once every two years to confirm the presence of the notice, and to replace missing or damaged notices whenever the owner or the owner’s managing agent or building staff become aware of a missing or damaged notice. In apartment buildings with a cooperative or condominium form of ownership, the cooperative or condominium association board of directors shall cause such inspections to be conducted, and, if the notice is missing or damaged, require the apartment owner to post the replacement notice provided by such board.

This proposed rule was not included in the Fire Department’s FY2020 regulatory agenda because the need for it was not anticipated.

Subject: 

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Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:3)

Agency:
Comment By: 
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Proposed Rules Content: 

 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

Background

 

Since 2000, New York City has required apartment building owners to print and distribute residential fire safety guides to apartment building residents and building staff, and to post fire safety notices on the inside of dwelling unit entrance doors and in building lobbies.  The purpose of these fire safety guides and notices is to:

 

·      promote fire safety and fire prevention in apartment buildings;

·      educate residents and building staff about the design and construction of their building, including construction type, fire protection systems and means of egress; and

·      outline emergency procedures to assist them in the event that they are confronted by a fire and need to determine what action to take to protect themselves and their families.

 

The format, content, distribution and posting requirements for the fire safety guide and notices were incorporated into the 2008 Fire Code (in FC408.9) and in Fire Department rule 3 RCNY §408‑02, which the proposed rule would amend.

 

New Fire and Emergency Preparedness Guide

 

The 2014 Fire Code comprehensively revised Chapter 4, which governs emergency planning and preparedness, and moved the fire safety guide and notice requirements to FC401.6.  The 2014 Fire Code expanded the scope of the guide to encompass non-fire emergencies, such as medical emergencies, severe weather emergencies, power outages, hazardous materials releases, and terrorism-related incidents.

 

This proposed rule would implement the 2014 Fire Code by replacing the existing Fire Safety Guide with a new Fire and Emergency Preparedness Guide (“FEP Guide”) entitled “New York City Apartment Building Emergency Preparedness Guide” (Appendix 1 to the renumbered §401‑06). Like its predecessor, the proposed FEP Guide consists of two parts. Part I is the Building Information Section, a form completed by the owner for each building indicating the building’s construction, fire protection systems, means of egress and other information specific to the building for which it is prepared.  The proposed rule would not substantially change the existing content requirements for this obligation, except to require the owner to indicate whether there is an emergency voice communication system in the building.

 

Part II of the FEP Guide is designed to educate all building occupants about ways to prepare for emergencies, prevent fires, and protect themselves from various fire and non-fire emergencies.  In addition, the FEP Guide emphasizes emergency preparedness planning for persons with functional or access needs who will need assistance if they must evacuate the building in an emergency.  During most non-fire emergencies, the elevator is available to evacuate persons unable to walk down stairs without assistance, and in modern buildings of non‑combustible construction, all residents are generally advised to shelter in place during the fire.  The Guide explains the importance of developing an individualized evacuation plan and a network of supports who can assist persons with functional or access needs in the event of an emergency in which they need to evacuate and they cannot use the elevator, such as in the case of a fire in their apartment.

 

Revised FEP Guide Distribution Requirements

 

Currently, the Fire Safety Guide must be provided to apartment building residents at time of occupancy (when they first move into the building) and must be distributed again every year.  The Fire Department proposes to require distribution of the new FEP Guide at time of occupancy and again as part of a building-wide distribution every three years.  During the off-years, the proposed rule would require building owners to distribute a short informational bulletin (4 pages or less), which would be used to highlight and reinforce an important, timely fire safety or other emergency preparedness message.  This would take advantage of an opportunity to communicate lessons learned or other message when the issue is fresh in the public’s mind because of a recent fire or other incident. The informational bulletin will remind apartment building residents to familiarize themselves with the contents of the FEP Guide and advise them on how to obtain a copy if they have not received one.

 

Additionally, the Fire Department proposes to authorize electronic distribution of the FEP Guide (by email or other form of electronic transmission) to apartment residents and building staff.  This would encourage development of electronic communications between owners and residents that can be used for other emergency preparedness communications and in actual emergencies.

 

Other Considerations

 

The proposed rule would not change the fire safety notices (Appendix 2 to the renumbered §401‑06) that building owners are required to post.

 

Text proposed to be deleted is [bracketed].  New text is underlined.

 

The underlining of words highlighted in green does not indicate a text change, but rather that the text of the existing rule is underlined.  The green highlighting indicates that the underlining should be retained in the publication of the final rule.

 

The underlining of words highlighted in blue indicates new text is being added to the rule.  The blue highlighting indicates that the underlining should be retained in the publication of the final 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: 

FDNY Proposed Promulgation of Fire and Emergency Preparedness Guides and Notices

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

No contact

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf):