Comment Period Ends for FDNY's Proposed Emergency Checklist, 'Close Door' Sign Requirements
The public comment period for the Fire Department’s proposed rule regarding implementation of Local Law Nos. 114 and 115 of 2018 recently closed. The Fire Department will review the testimony and modify the rules based on the public’s feedback, if necessary, then draft a final version. A copy will be posted on NYC Rules, published in the City Record, and submitted to the City Council.
Emergency Checklist. Local Law 114 directed the FDNY to develop, in consultation with the Department of Emergency Management (NYCEM) and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), an emergency planning checklist. This checklist is to be provided to apartment building residents, including individuals with limited mobility or other disabilities or special needs, to assist in the development of individualized emergency evacuation plans. It will inform residents about the availability of evacuation assistance devices and other means of evacuation. It will also outline recommended measures that individuals with disabilities or limited mobility can proactively take to prepare to evacuate a building safely in case of emergency, such as identifying neighbors who can provide assistance in an emergency.
The Emergency Preparedness and Evacuation Planning Checklist developed by the Fire Department, in consultation with NYCEM and MOPD, is designed to complement the NYC Apartment Building Emergency Preparedness Guide adopted Oct. 1, 2018, and required to be distributed by owners to residents and staff by April 30, 2019. The form and content of the guide and the requirements for its distribution are set forth in Fire Department Rule 3 RCNY §401-06.
The proposed rule would amend Section 401-06 to set forth the form and content of the checklist and, in accordance with Local Law 114, require its distribution in the same manner as the guide. Following the initial distribution of the checklist, it would be distributed with each subsequent guide distribution. The checklist would also be posted on the Fire Department’s website, with the guide and other emergency preparedness forms and notices.
‘Close Door’ Signs. Local Law 115 directed the Fire Department to require owners of multiple dwellings to post a notice in conspicuous locations indicating that those escaping a fire should close all doors behind them. When escaping a fire, an apartment resident and the members of her household should close all doors behind themselves, including all doors within the apartment through which they exit. At all other times, public hallway corridor doors and all stairwell doors should be kept closed (except, of course, when using it to enter or exit the apartment or floor).
Some stairwell doors, and some public hallway corridor doors serving as fire and smoke barriers, are held open by a magnetic device that releases when a smoke detector on the floor activates. Such doors will close automatically, provided that there’s nothing blocking them. Such doors don’t have to be kept closed, but once they’re released by the fire alarm system they should be allowed to close.
The proposed rule would establish the design and content of a “Close the Door” notice and require posting in building lobbies and on the public hallway side of stairwell doors. The message would be visually reinforced by an image of a door ajar, with flames behind it. The proposed notice would read: