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[Share]Published: November 07, 2013

Proposed Fire Code Amendments Introduced as Local Law in City Council

The Fire Department has completed its 2-year review of the New York City Fire Code, and a local law to enact the proposed Fire Code amendments has been introduced in the City Council.  The full text of the proposed local law (Intro 1174 of 2013) may be viewed using this [LINK].  Proposed text deletions are shown by [brackets].  New text is underlined.  The Fire Department’s Memorandum In Support of the proposed local law may be viewed using this [LINK].

The local law can also be viewed on the City Council’s website, www.council.nyc.gov.

The City Council’s Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services has scheduled a public hearing on Intro 1174 on Thursday, November 21, 2013, at 9:30 AM, at 250 Broadway (14th Floor Committee Room).

The review was conducted with the participation of real estate, building management, architectural and engineering societies; trade associations, public utility organizations and others, in consultation with the City Council and the Department of Buildings. The Fire Department held a public forum on the proposed Fire Code amendments on August 14, 2013, and took in consideration the public comments that were received in finalizing the proposed local law. A summary of the public comments and the Fire Department's responses may be viewed using this [LINK].

The centerpiece of Intro 1174 is the comprehensive revision of the emergency planning and preparedness requirements of Fire Code Chapter 4.  It advances an innovative approach to emergency planning and preparedness in occupancies other than office buildings and hotels, which have been the focus of such efforts since the 1970s.  The Intro focuses attention on large assembly spaces; institutional occupancies, including assisted living facilities, nursing homes and hospitals; department stores, covered malls, big box stores and other mercantile occupancies; and educational occupancies, including college and university classroom buildings and dormitories.

Simplified, occupancy-specific plans that can be prepared without professional assistance using a computerized plan format; training and certification of regular business employees; and coordination of the plans and staffing with building voice communication capabilities; would take the place of requirements that mandate elaborate office-building-type plans for all occupancies, regardless of their use, size, staffing and risk vulnterability.

The new approach would also expand emergency planning and preparedness from fires only, to fires and non-fire emergencies.  This would include weather emergencies, medical emergencies and blackouts, as well as explosions and chemical and biological releases.

The current New York City Fire Code was enacted in 2008.  It was based on a model code, the International Fire Code, published by the International Codes Council, Inc., with amendments to address the unique New York City environment.  Local Law 26 of 2008, which enacted the Fire Code, required a triennial review of the Fire Code to assess the ongoing changes in technology and safety standards.

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