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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 Rule

 

As of December 31, 2014, the New York City Building Code requires, in Sections 403.4.4 and 907.2.13.2, that an in-building auxiliary radio communication (ARC) system be installed and maintained in all newly‑constructed high-rise buildings.  An ARC system is a wireless two-way building communication system for Fire Department use only that receives and transmits Fire Department portable radio frequencies within the building.  An ARC system typically consists of a transceiver (base station) connected to a building-wide antenna system, with a radio console in the building lobby.  Section 917.1.2 of the New York City Building Code and Section FC 511 of the New York City Fire Code together require that ARC systems be installed, acceptance tested, operated and maintained in accordance with the Fire Code and the rules of the Fire Department.

 

The Fire Department adopts this rule to establish requirements for the design, installation, operation and maintenance of ARC systems, including the testing procedures necessary to confirm that the ARC system is providing adequate radio coverage in the building in all areas accessible for firefighting operations. The rule seeks to ensure that ARC systems achieve their intended purpose and, once installed, are continuously maintained in good working order.

 

The new rule, 3 RCNY §511-01, sets forth standards, requirements and procedures for installation, acceptance testing, daily inspection, annual certification and five-year recertification of ARC systems.  It requires that the testing of ARC systems be supervised by a person holding a Fire Department license, known as a Certificate of Fitness, who knows the New York City Building Code, Fire Code and Fire Department rule standards that apply to ARC systems.  The rule reflects the Fire Code requirement that this person hold a General Radiotelephone Operator License issued by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

 

The new rule also addresses the operation and maintenance of pre-existing in-building radio communication systems similar to ARC systems that were approved for installation by the Department of Buildings and/or the Fire Department prior to December 31, 2014.  As set forth in Section 511‑01(j) of the rule, a commissioning test must be conducted and the results submitted to the Fire Department; a Fire Department permit must be obtained; operation of the system for maintenance and testing purposes must be under the supervision of a certificate of fitness holder; and the system must be operated and maintained in compliance with the requirements for ARC systems set forth in the rule.

 

The Fire Department is additionally amending two existing Fire Department rules in connection with the ARC system requirements of the Fire Code and Section 511-01.

 

The Fire Department is amending Fire Department rule 3 RCNY §115-01 to establish a company certificate for businesses that test ARC systems.  These company certificates seek to ensure that the businesses that test ARC systems, including operating the systems to perform the required testing, are subject to the same standards as the individual Fire Department Certificate of Fitness holders whom they employ to perform the testing.  The Fire Department regulates blasting and fireworks contractors, private fire alarm central stations, fumigation companies, portable fire extinguisher sales and servicing companies, and smoke detector maintenance companies in a similar fashion by requiring both the individuals who perform the work and the companies that employ them to be certified.

 

Lastly, the Fire Department is amending Fire Department rule 3 RCNY §4601-01 to adopt fees for the ARC system testing company certificate and for ARC system acceptance testing by Fire Department personnel.  The fee for the ARC system testing company certificate will cover the Fire Department’s costs in issuing the certificate and programming and periodically inspecting the portable radios that each company will use to operate on Fire Department frequencies to test the ARC systems. The fee for the ARC system permit is amended to cover the cost of acceptance testing by the Fire Department.

 

In response to public comment, the Fire Department has revised Section 511-01 to clarify that the ARC system must be capable of operating on either the Fire Department simplex channels or duplex channels designated in the rule, and is not required to be capable of operating on both.  The rule has also been revised to allow the cabling for ARC systems that carries or radiates the radio frequencies (RF) to be shared with other building communication systems, provided that the owner demonstrates that such sharing will not impair the operation of the ARC system.  Additional revisions seek to clarify the terminology associated with preexisting in-building radio communication systems similar to ARC systems.

 

Finally, the rule has been revised to authorize owners of ARC systems, as well as impairment coordinators and persons who install or maintain ARC systems, to possess a citywide standard key. A citywide standard key is the key that enables Fire Department personnel and other authorized persons to operate elevator firefighter service and other devices and locked boxes.  The ARC system console will be accessed using a citywide standard key.

 

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 to be deleted is indicated by [brackets].  Text 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, www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/firecode/index.shtml#p6.

 

Effective Date: 
Fri, 01/01/2016

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Final Rule

 

The New York City Fire Code (FC) incorporates by reference a large number of industry standards, including dozens of standards developed and published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  A list of Referenced Standards is included in FC Chapter 45.

 

One of the Referenced Standards is NFPA 45, entitled “Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals.”  Currently, both the Fire Code and the New York City Building Code reference the 2004 edition of NFPA 45.  The NFPA has recently published an updated, 2015 edition of this standard.

 

The Fire Department adopts modifications to the Fire Code to incorporate standards, procedures and requirements from the latest (2015) edition of NFPA 45.

 

The Fire Department adopts these modifications in response to a number of recent fires in school laboratories.  The 2015 edition of NFPA 45 addresses a number of concerns associated with those fires.  Among the changes made by these modifications are the following operational and maintenance requirements:

 

·         Risk assessments for all experiments and demonstrations that use hazardous chemicals;

 

·         Establishment of instructor responsibilities;

 

·         Initial and refresher training on the laboratory’s emergency plan for instructors and students;

 

·         Proper use of fire retardant clothing when pyrophoric reagents (chemicals that spontaneously ignite in air) are used outside the inert atmosphere of a glove box (a sealed enclosure);

 

·         Proper handling and dispensing of pyrophoric reagents and water reactive materials;

 

·         Restrictions on the use of Bunsen burners and other open flames;

 

·         Prohibitions on the use of improperly functioning exhaust hoods; and

 

·         Prohibitions on the handling and use of hazardous materials when laboratory exhaust ventilation is improperly functioning.

 

The adopted Reference Standard modifications relate solely to operational and maintenance provisions of NFPA 45.  The Fire Department is not replacing the 2004 edition of NFPA 45 with the 2015 edition at this time because the New York City Building Code continues to reference the 2004 edition with respect to design and installation requirements, and it is important to coordinate the two codes.

 

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, www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/firecode/feedback.shtml.

 

New material is underlined.  Deleted material is in [brackets].

 

Effective Date: 
Fri, 01/01/2016

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

The New York City Fire Code (FC) incorporates by reference a large number of industry standards, including dozens of standards developed and published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  A list of Referenced Standards is included in FC Chapter 45.

 

One of the Referenced Standards is NFPA 45, entitled “Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals.”  Currently, both the Fire Code and the New York City Building Code reference the 2004 edition of NFPA 45.  The NFPA has recently published an updated, 2015 edition of this standard.

 

The Fire Department proposes to adopt modifications to the Fire Code to incorporate standards, procedures and requirements from the latest (2015) edition of NFPA 45.

 

The Fire Department proposes these modifications in response to a number of recent fires in school laboratories.  The 2015 edition of NFPA 45 addresses a number of concerns associated with those fires.  Among the changes proposed to be made by these modifications are the following operational and maintenance requirements:

 

  • Risk assessments for all experiments and demonstrations that use hazardous chemicals;

 

  • Establishment of instructor responsibilities;

 

  • Initial and refresher training on the laboratory’s emergency plan for instructors and students;

 

  • Proper use of fire retardant clothing when pyrophoric reagents (chemicals that spontaneously ignite in air) are used outside the inert atmosphere of a glove box (a sealed enclosure);

 

  • Proper handling and dispensing of pyrophoric reagents and water reactive materials;

 

  • Restrictions on the use of Bunsen burners and other open flames;

 

  • Prohibitions on the use of improperly functioning exhaust hoods; and

 

  • Prohibitions on the handling and use of hazardous materials when laboratory exhaust ventilation is improperly functioning.

 

The proposed Reference Standard modifications relate solely to operational and maintenance provisions of NFPA 45.  The Fire Department is not proposing to replace the 2004 edition of NFPA 45 with the 2015 edition at this time because the New York City Building Code continues to reference the 2004 edition with respect to design and installation requirements, and it is important to coordinate the two codes.

 

For legal and editorial reasons, Referenced Standard modifications do not appear as revised (combined) text (that is, the text of the NFPA standard with Fire Code modifications) but as deletions, additions and other revisions to the original copyrighted text of NFPA 45.  However, in order to make it possible for the public to understand the nature and purpose of the proposed Referenced Standard modifications, revised (combined) text is included as part of this Statement of Basis and Purpose.  The revised text included in this Statement of Basis and Purpose is solely for informational purposes in connection with this rulemaking and is not intended for, nor does it authorize, any commercial use.

 

The actual text of the proposed Referenced Standard modifications immediately follows.  An addendum to this Statement of Basis and Purpose includes the text of the NFPA standard with Fire Code amendments.

 

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, www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/firecode/index.shtml#p6.

 

New material is underlined.  Deleted material is in [brackets].

 

“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: 

.National Fire Protection Association Referenced Standards

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

No contact

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

Agency:
Comment By: 
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

As of December 31, 2014, the New York City Building Code requires, in Sections 403.4.4 and 907.2.13.2, that an in-building auxiliary radio communication (ARC) system be installed and maintained in all newly‑constructed high-rise buildings.  An ARC system is a wireless two-way building communication system for Fire Department use only that receives and transmits Fire Department portable radio frequencies within the building.  An ARC system typically consists of a transceiver (base station) connected to a building-wide antenna system, with a radio console in the building lobby.  Section 917.1.2 of the New York City Building Code and Section FC 511 of the New York City Fire Code together require that ARC systems be installed, acceptance tested, operated and maintained in accordance with the Fire Code and the rules of the Fire Department.

 

The Fire Department proposes to adopt a new rule to establish requirements for the design, installation, operation and maintenance of ARC systems, including the testing procedures necessary to confirm that the ARC system is providing adequate radio coverage in the building in all areas accessible for firefighting operations. The proposed rule seeks to ensure that ARC systems achieve their intended purpose and, once installed, are continuously maintained in good working order.

 

The proposed rule, 3 RCNY § 511-01, sets forth standards, requirements and procedures for installation, acceptance testing, daily inspection, annual certification and five-year recertification of ARC systems.  It requires that the testing of ARC systems be supervised by a person holding a Fire Department license, known as a Certificate of Fitness, who knows the New York City Building Code, Fire Code and Fire Department rule standards that apply to ARC systems.  The proposed rule reflects the Fire Code requirement that this person hold a General Radiotelephone Operator License issued by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

 

The proposed rule also addresses the operation and maintenance of in-building repeater systems that were approved for installation by the Department of Buildings and/or the Fire Department prior to December 31, 2014.  As set forth in Section 511‑01(j) of the proposed rule, a commissioning test must be conducted and the results submitted to the Fire Department; a Fire Department permit must be obtained; operation of the system for maintenance and testing purposes must be under the supervision of a certificate of fitness holder; and the system must be operated and maintained in compliance with the requirements for ARC systems set forth in the rule.

 

The Fire Department is additionally proposing to amend two existing Fire Department rules in connection with the ARC system requirements of the Fire Code and proposed Section 511-01.

 

The Fire Department proposes to amend Fire Department rule 3 RCNY § 115-01 to establish a company certificate for businesses that test ARC systems.  These company certificates seek to ensure that the businesses that test ARC systems, including operating the systems to perform the required testing, are subject to the same standards as the individual Fire Department Certificate of Fitness holders whom they employ to perform the testing.  The Fire Department regulates blasting and fireworks contractors, private fire alarm central stations, fumigation companies, portable fire extinguisher sales and servicing companies, and smoke detector maintenance companies in a similar fashion by requiring both the individuals who perform the work and the companies that employ them to be certified.

 

The Fire Department also proposes to amend Fire Department rule 3 RCNY §4601-01 to adopt fees for the ARC system testing company certificate and for ARC system acceptance testing by Fire Department personnel.  The proposed fee for the ARC system testing company certificate will cover the Fire Department’s costs in issuing the certificate and programming and periodically inspecting the portable radios that each company will use to operate on Fire Department frequencies to test the ARC systems.  The fee for the ARC system permit is proposed to be amended to cover the cost of acceptance testing by the Fire Department.

 

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, www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/firecode/index.shtml#p6.

Subject: 

Fire Department Proposed Rule
3 RCNY Section 511-01 In-Building Auxiliary Radio Communication Systems

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

No contact

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf):