A fire safety plan is designed to help you escape as quickly and safely as possible should the worst happen. However, it shouldn’t be a plan that’s created once and never looked at again.
Over time, things may change in your structure requiring revisions to your plan. Of course, if the use of the building changes, additional revisions may be necessary too.
By law, you have to review your fire safety plan regularly. This is for your safety and the safety of all occupants in the building.
According to Ontario Fire Codes in subsection 2.8.2, you have to review your fire safety plan at least every 12 months. Keep in mind this is the minimum. However, they should be reviewed as often as necessary to ensure the safety of occupants.
All aspects of the plan should be fully reviewed. If any changes are made to the building or use of the building, the plan should be reviewed immediately after the changes are made.
In the case of major demolition or construction, a temporary plan should be put into place to account for the new hazards. As soon as the construction is over, it’s important to review the previous fire safety plan to ensure it’s still valid.
Main Areas To Review
The Fire Codes require buildings to have a fire safety plan in place at all times. During your review, you should check each of the following:
- Emergency procedures, such as sounding alarms, notifying the local fire department, escape routes, evacuation procedures and controlling the fire
- Assigning and training supervisory staff
- Ensuring documents diagramming the fire emergency systems are current
- List when and how fire drills are carried out
- Detail how fire hazards will be controlled
- List preventative maintenance for overall safety
- Provide alternative solutions should your fire protection systems go down
After reviewing all of these, place the revised version of your fire safety plan in an approved location. This should be a location that’s easy for others to see and access in the event of a fire.
If you didn’t make any revisions, add the latest review date to your existing plan. This allows everyone to know that it was reviewed within the last 12 months.
If you run a retirement home or care facility, you must keep your fire safety plans on record for at least two years, even if they’ve been replaced with a newer version. The Chief Fire Official may request to see them at any point. This is just to double-check the safety of the occupants.
Reviews For Homeowners
Much like with commercial businesses and residential structures, homeowners should also have a current fire safety plan in place. Reviewing these annually and holding regular fire drills helps to keep your entire family safer.
Why Review Your Fire Safety Plan
It takes time to review your fire safety plan and that’s why some people don’t want to do it. After all, why bother if nothing has changed? However, it’s important to review all existing plans as a refresher so everyone knows what to do if a fire occurs. Plus, you may see better ways of evacuating than you did in the past.
Another reason is to ensure your plan is up to date with the latest fire codes. If your plan doesn’t meet the minimum standards, you could face fines or worse if a fire does happen and you weren’t prepared. Remember, it’s not just the building on the line – it’s everyone inside and the surrounding area about your building. Having a current plan in place keeps everyone safer. That’s well worth taking the time for.
Do you need help in creating an up to code fire safety plan for your structure? See how our Fire Safety Plans service can help.