Goodbye, Fire Safety Guide. Hello, Fire and Emergency Preparedness Guide.
Since 2000, the city has required owners of apartment buildings, including co-op and condo boards, to distribute the Fire Safety Guide to all residents and staff and also to post it in the lobby and on the inside of all unit entrance doors. Printed copies of the guide had to be distributed when residents moved in and then once a year.
In 2014, in response to unnerving local and worldwide trends, the guide was expanded to include medical emergencies, severe weather, power outages, hazardous materials releases, and terrorist acts.
And now the city has come out with the Fire and Emergency Preparedness Guide, which addresses virtually every foreseeable emergency and, in a major change, can be distributed electronically and is to be distributed every three years instead of annually. The guide states the rationale for allowing electronic distribution: “This would encourage development of electronic communications between owners and residents that can be used for other emergency preparedness communications and in actual emergencies.”
The guide is to be distributed either during Fire Prevention Week in October or in conjunction with mandated window-guard notices. By August 15 of every year, the fire department will post annual bulletins on its website (fdny.org) that boards must distribute to residents in the years between their mandated triennial distribution of the complete guide. The bulletins are designed to convey lessons learned from recent fires or other incidents while they’re still fresh in the public’s mind.
Boards will still have to complete the Building Information Section, a form indicating each building’s construction, fire protection systems, means of egress and other information, as well as any modifications to the building’s physical structure. The form’s only change is that owners must now indicate whether there is an emergency voice communication system in the building.