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Proposed Rules: Open to Comments

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Agency:
Comment By: 
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

The Fire Department proposes to adopt this rule to implement the provisions of Local Law No. 103 of 2019 regarding hurricane evacuation notices and to require apartment building owners to take certain actions to ensure compliance with the requirement of fire safety notices on dwelling unit doors.

The Fire Department is re-noticing this proposed rule for public comment on changes to the rule made in response to the public comments received on the rule as it was originally proposed.

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 and cooperative or condominium association board of directors, or their representatives, to:

• inspect each dwelling unit at least once every three 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, or, in apartment buildings with a cooperative or condominium form of ownership, require the apartment owner to post the replacement notice provided by such board; and/or

• obtain written certification from the tenant or apartment owner that the notice has been posted by delivering to each dwelling unit a form for completion and return to the owner or board that includes a statement from the Fire Department regarding the importance of the notice.

Public Comment and Fire Department Response

Three major organizations representing residential building owners and managers submitted comments objecting to the inspection requirement that owners inspect apartments for compliance with the longstanding requirement that a fire safety notice be posted on the back of each dwelling unit door. Comments were also submitted with respect to the requirements for the hurricane evacuation notice.

• Hurricane Evacuation Notice

Comment: Tenants would be better informed if the fire and emergency preparedness guide for apartment buildings (which is entitled “NYC Apartment Building Emergency Preparedness Guide”) and evacuation/emergency preparedness checklist indicated that the hurricane evacuation zone could be found on a notice in the building lobby.

Response: The suggestion is a good one. Consideration will be given to revising the Guide and checklist for the next distribution cycle. In the interim, building owners are free to reference the hurricane evacuation notice in the “other information” section on the building-specific Building Information Section that accompanies the Guide and checklist.

Comment: We urge the Fire Department to consider the consolidation of apartment building notices with other notices required by the agency in an effort to reduce the "wallpapering" of common areas in apartment buildings. The reality for apartment building owners, particularly for less sophisticated, smaller owners, is that maintaining and keeping track of the extraordinary number of notices required by the City, and protecting those notices from vandalism, is an extremely burdensome task.

Response: We are sympathetic to this concern. We appreciate that other City agencies have signage requirements but we cannot adjust those requirements. This Fire Department rule requires three lobby postings: the Building Information Section that accompanies the Guide, a copy of the fire safety notice posted in the apartments, and now the hurricane evacuation notice. The Fire Department has no objection to a single posting consolidating these requirements, provided it is legible and understandable. Building owners and/or their associations should contact the Fire Department through the Fire Code public inquiry form on the Fire Department website to obtain appropriate guidance.

• Fire Safety Notice Inspection

Comment: Apartment shareholders/unit owners receive ample instruction regarding building emergency protocols from the distribution of the Guide and other emergency preparedness information.

Response: The implication of this comment is that the posting of a fire safety notice in each apartment is unnecessary. The Fire Department begs to differ. When faced with a fire in one’s building, with smoke filling the public hallway corridors, not everyone will have the presence of mind to remember the instructions provided in the Guide, or the time to search for documents with instructions. Apartment residents who complete the evacuation/emergency preparedness checklist and given thought in advance to what actions they will take will be better prepared, but there is no substitute to having evacuation/shelter in place instructions posted right on the apartment door.

Comment: The rule should clarify how building owners should maintain records of the apartment inspection and indicate how these requirements will be enforced.

Response: Agreed. Section 401-06(e)(6)(C)(1) of the proposed rule has been revised accordingly.

Comment: When the requirements for fire safety notices were first promulgated, it was acknowledged that shareholders and unit owners often have strong feelings about the decor in their homes, and therefore it was required that boards of housing cooperatives and condominiums simply distribute these notices to these resident owners, provide replacements when requested and post the notices on any rental units that were under the control of the cooperative or condominium. We know of neither problems nor complaints that have arisen with this practical system in the intervening decades.

Response: Preferences for apartment décor cannot supersede interests of public safety. There is reason to believe that there is a lack of compliance with the posting requirement and hence the reason for this amendment. However, the Fire Department has attempted to balance the burden of compliance by allowing certification of compliance by the shareholder/unit owner (see below).

Comment: The rule should not make the fire safety notice inspection requirement applicable to cooperatives and condominiums. The obligation to inspect should fall on the shareholder/unit-owner rather than the board. Shareholder/unit owners are better positioned than the Board or managing agent to conduct such an inspection. Other City laws require these individuals – rather than boards or managing agents – to conduct inspections.

Response: In light of the comments indicating that apartment residents (whether rental tenants or shareholder/unit owners) should be responsible for fire safety notice compliance, we have revised the proposed rule to allow certification by the tenant/shareholder. Apartment building owners and managers will be required to inspect an apartment unit only if such certification is not timely received. See Section 401-06(e)(6)(C).

Comment: With the COVID-19 crisis, this is not the time to impose a new mandate for intrusive inspections into individual apartment.

Response: We understand the concern associated with apartment inspections at this time. Accordingly, we have revised the rule to require the fire safety notice inspection once every three years and timed to coincide with the distribution of the Guide and related documents. Accordingly, the obligation to conduct inspections (for apartments that have not submitted certifications) would not arise until after April 2022.

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

“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: 

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Contact: 

No contact

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, May 15, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

Notice of Extension of Time to Comment on Proposed Amendments to Fire Department Rule
3 RCNY 401-06 (Fire and Emergency Preparedness Guide, Checklist and Notices)

As a result of the present Coronavirus emergency, no public hearings are presently being conducted on proposed rules. It is not known at this time when they will resume.

The Fire Department also recognizes that the emergency has disrupted ordinary business operations.

Accordingly, to ensure that the public and affected building owners have an opportunity to review this proposed rule, the Fire Department is extending the time to comment on the proposed amendments to Fire Department rule.

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the time for submitting comments on the above proposed rule amendments is hereby extended from April 16, 2020, to FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2020. Comments may be submitted through the NYC Rules website, by email or by mail. Persons wishing to make a verbal statement can submit comments in standard video and audio formats, subject to size limitations, by emailing them to the email address below.

Any questions may be directed to the Code Development Unit of the Bureau of Fire Prevention by emailing code.develop@fdny.nyc.gov.

Contact: 

No contact

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

Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, May 15, 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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Contact: 

No contact

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):