New Emphasis on New York City Fire Safety: Safeguarding NYC Properties

To encourage safety in buildings across New York City, the City’s Fire Department and The Risk Control Department are putting new emphasis on existing fire safety requirements designed to safeguard multiple dwellings within the City. Additionally, the requirements set forth by the City will be enforced by insurance carriers, further encouraging property owners to prioritize safety.

January 11, 2024 / CSkidmore

In the United States, a fire department responds to a fire every 21 seconds according to the National Fire Protection Association. For nonprofit residential facilities, fire risks pose added threats to the vulnerable populations who depend on a safe, secure facility.

To encourage safety in buildings across New York City, the City’s Fire Department and The Risk Control Department are putting new emphasis on existing fire safety requirements designed to safeguard multiple dwellings within the City. Additionally, the requirements set forth by the City will be enforced by insurance carriers, further encouraging property owners to prioritize safety.

The fire safety requirements for New York City building owners and landlords are as follows, including links to the necessary resources and signage:

  • Building owners must post the Building Information Form in the lobby or mailbox area.
  • Building owners are required to post a FEP/Fire Safety Notice—specific to Non-Combustible Construction or Combustible Construction, as applicable—in the following locations:
    • A common area, conspicuously located near mailboxes or, if there is no common mailbox area, in or near elevators or the main stairway
    • The inside surface of the front door for each dwelling unit
  • Building owners need to post a Close the Door Notice in “conspicuous locations” in every residential building. The sign reminds residents to close all doors behind them when escaping a fire.
  • The Fire Safety Guide has been replaced with a Fire and Emergency Preparedness Guide (FEP Guide), titled NYC Apartment Building Emergency Preparedness Guide. Building owners must distribute the guide, along with the building information form above, to building residents at the time of occupancy and every three years as part of a building-wide distribution.
  • Every year, owners also need to distribute the Fire and Emergency Preparedness Annual Bulletin, updated by FDNY.

Understanding Your Risk

The fire safety requirements are in place to protect New York City properties from life-threatening and costly damages. For example, failing to comply with these requirements could leave employees, visitors and residents with little direction in the event of a fire. In addition to complying with the fire safety requirements, nonprofit residential facilities must prioritize training. All employees and residents should know what is expected of them and if/how they should help others in a fire. Training could include checklists for employees and residents to reference, self-assessments or tactics for building supervisor accountability.

In addition to the potentially dangerous risks failing to comply with fire safety requirements could cause, it can also impact a facility’s ability to secure cost effective, adequate insurance coverage. If a carrier finds that a building is not equipped with proper signage or resident/employee training, they could choose to not renew a policy, or increase premiums based on the facility’s exposures.

While the New York City fire safety requirements are not new, the emphasis being put on them could bring new risk exposures to light for nonprofit residential facilities. Fortunately, Lamb Insurance Group’s risk control consultants can answer questions and provide guidance to ensure clients understand and properly execute the fire safety requirements. Stay tuned for more information from Lamb Insurance Group on an upcoming training webinar addressing New York City fire safety requirements. In the meantime, take the first step by familiarizing yourself with the New York City fire safety requirements and where your facility may need to make adjustments.

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