Why Having Fire Safety Notices Posted in Your Building is Essential
Having the required fire safety notices in your NYC building — from vestibules to the insides of apartments — is not only a smart way to keep your tenants and property safe, it’s required by law. Not ensuring your building staff and residents are prepared in the case of a fire or other catastrophic emergency can open you up to fines, lawsuits, and, in some extreme cases, criminal charges.
In this blog we’ll go over all the signage currently required by the city, as well as offer helpful tips and links in order to ensure you have the correct signage that is in compliance with the latest fire safety regulations.
The two main types of fire safety signage required by the New York Fire Department (FDNY), the Department of Buildings (DOB) and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) are:
- The Fire Safety and Emergency Preparedness Notice
- The “Close All Doors Behind You” Sign
Since 2018, landlords are now also required to provide an Emergency Planning Checklist to all apartment building residents with mobility problems, physical or mental disabilities. This is done in order to help educate and prepare both renters and their caregivers for evacuation during fires or other emergencies.
Fire and Emergency Preparedness Notice
A Fire and Emergency Preparedness Notice, otherwise known as a Fire Safety Notice, offers instructions for your building tenants and employees. They will inform them on what to do in the case of a fire. These notices will vary based on the type of building materials your property is constructed of. According to the FDNY, there are two main types of residential structures: combustible (aka non-fire proof) and non-combustible (aka fireproof).
- Many houses and older, smaller apartment buildings are constructed of flammable materials such as wood, in which fires can spread quickly. This is a considered
a combustible or non-fire proof building.
- Most newer and/or larger buildings made out of fire-proof materials such as poured concrete, often with an enclosed fireproof stairwell. These structures are considered
non-combustible or fireproof.
Unlike most new fireproof buildings, many older combustible buildings rely on fire escapes for exiting the building in an emergency.
Older buildings under six stories are almost always combustible, while most modern buildings over six stories are considered fireproof. The six-story brick apartment buildings commonly seen throughout NYC may fall into one category or the other depending on a number of factors, such as the prevalence of wood construction materials and the presence of fire stairs. If you’re not sure which type of structure your building is, you can look it up here on the DOB website.
According to the FDNY, if you are located in a combustible, non-fireproof building it is often safer to leave immediately in the event of a fire, as fires in these types of structures can quickly become out of control and spread throughout the entire building in minutes. Despite this major difference in safety strategies, the two different types of fire safety notices look very similar.
Beginning in 2018, landlords of multi-unit buildings are also required to fill out, print, and post the following Emergency Preparedness Notice in a conspicuous place in the lobby or mailbox area. This notice is an online form which contains specific details about the building — including sprinkler system coverage, types of emergency egresses (such as fire escapes, interior vs. exterior stairs, etc.) as well as the construction material type — which are important for residents to know in case of an emergency.
Close the Door Notices
A “Close All Doors behind You” Sign otherwise known as a Close the Door Notice, is now required by law in all apartment buildings. This type of signage is mandated by Local Law 115. This requires “owners of multiple dwellings to post a notice in conspicuous locations indicating that those escaping a fire should close all doors behind them. The sign must be posted in building lobbies (or vestibules if there is no lobby) and the on the public hallway side of stairwell doors. According to the Rules of the City of New York, it would be required to include an image of an open door with flames behind it and read:
In a Fire, Close All Doors Behind You!
Keep Fire and Smoke Out of Building Hallways and Stairs.
Keep Apartment and Stairwell Doors Closed at All Other Times.
Protect Your Neighbors and Your Home!
Individual Emergency Preparedness/Evacuation Planning Checklist
Since 2018, property owners and managers are also required to supply an Individual Emergency Planning Checklist to “all apartment building residents, including individuals with limited mobility or other disabilities or special needs”. This will help to prepare the resident/ leaseholder, as well as their guardian, family member or caregiver if applicable, for a quick and safe evacuation in case of a fire or any other emergency situation or disaster — and plan accordingly.
It also encourages them to sign up for emergency alerts from the city, in addition to taking note of their building construction type and proximity to coastal evacuation areas in case of flooding.
Help Building Residents Stay Prepared With FDNY Notices
While placing Fire Safety Notices and Close the Door Signs may now be second nature for many landlords and supers, having the latest FDNY signage — including the Individual Emergency Preparedness/ Evacuation Planning Checklist, along with the Emergency Preparedness Notice — is crucial to avoiding violations and keeping all your tenants safe in the case of a fire, natural disaster or other emergencies. For the most up to date FDNY, HPD, and DOB signage feel free to contact us here at Brooklyn Signs for any questions or a free quote. You can also browse our full collection of HPD Signs and Covid-19 Signs. Remember, having the newest fire safety signage isn’t just a matter of keeping your tenants safe and property free from damage, it’s the law.
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