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FIRE CODE REVISION PUBLIC COMMENT ANNOUNCEMENT

FIRE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES PROPOSED NEW FIRE CODE AMENDMENTS AND INVITES PUBLIC COMMENT

The Fire Department has completed its two-year review of the New York City Fire Code, and has proposed a series of Fire Code amendments. 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 full text of the proposed Fire Code amendments may be viewed using this [LINK].  Proposed text deletions are shown by [brackets] (or for lengthy deletions, strikethroughs).  New text is underlined.

A detailed summary of the proposed Fire Code amendments may be viewed using this [LINK].

The centerpiece of the proposed changes is the comprehensive revision of the emergency planning and preparedness requirements of Fire Code Chapter 4 for large buildings and occupancies (other than office buildings and hotels). These large buildings and occupancies include assembly spaces; institutional occupancies such as 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.

The proposal calls for simplified, occupancy-specific plans for these buildings and occupancies 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. This proposal would take the place of existing requirements that mandate elaborate office-building-type plans unsuitable to many of these occupancies, except in the largest buildings.

The new approach would also expand emergency planning and preparedness from fires only to fires and non-fire emergencies, including weather emergencies, medical emergencies and blackouts, as well as terrorist acts or threats.

The public is invited to submit written comment on the proposed Fire Code by August 30, 2013.  Comments may also be submitted electronically using the Fire Code Revision public comment form on the Fire Department’s website. To submit a public comment, click here.

A public forum on the proposed Fire Code amendments, at which comments may be made in person, will be held in the Auditorium at Fire Department Headquarters, 9 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, New York, on August 14, 2013, at 10:30 am.

The Fire Department anticipates introducing the proposed Fire Code amendments to the City Council in September 2013.

The current New York City Fire Code was enacted in 2008. It was based on a model code, the International Fire Code (IFC), 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, as reflected in the IFC.

The current Fire Code, together with Frequently Asked Questions and Responses (FAQs), Fire Department rules and other informational materials, may be viewed using the “Fire Code” link on the left side of the home page or this [LINK].

 

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