Personal Rescue‬, The Good Addition In Your Safety

Personal Rescue‬, The Good Addition In Your Safety

Is there a requirement for building owners/operators to hold regular emergency drills for occupants?

Although not mandated for all buildings, NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, requires that workplaces, healthcare facilities, educational institutions and other occupancies provide evacuation/relocation plan information and routinely schedule and hold drills when practicable.

What are the key elements of emergency preparedness?

Early warning (typically through an alarm or voice communication system), adequate means of egress (exit routes) and occupant familiarity with the plan through knowledge and practice.

Is high-rise building evacuation different from other buildings?

Evacuating multiple floors of a high-rise building creates the cumulative effect of requiring great numbers of people to travel great vertical distances on stairs.

In the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, for example, we learned that in some cases it took as long as 6-8 hours for occupants to successfully exit the buildings. The physical demands made on high-rise occupants exiting in stairwells can exceed their capabilities.

The fire and life safety systems installed in high-rise buildings today, including automatic fire sprinkler protection, are designed to control a fire and therefore lessen the need to evacuate all occupants.

In a typical scenario, the occupants of the fire floor and the floors immediately above and below it should immediately use the exit stairs to descend to a floor level that is at least several floors below the fire floor, and await further instruction from safety officials. Remember, these building systems are designed to control a challenging fire; not one caused by a commercial airliner crashing into the building.

Under what circumstances may I use the elevator safely?

It is never appropriate to use the elevator during a fire or similar building emergency, even in a two-story building. When a fire occurs, elevators are designed to be recalled to a designated floor, normally the lobby. In unusual circumstances, an elevator malfunction may cause the elevator to travel to the fire floor itself, thus exposing occupants to the fire.

Elevator shafts may also allow some smoke to enter the shaft and migrate toward the roof of the building. If they are in the elevator and there is smoke in the elevator shaft, they will exposed to that smoke. Any vertical shaft in a building can allow smoke to quickly rise to the top of the building.

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