Given the COVID-19 crisis, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is urging officials to ensure that fire protection and life safety systems be maintained in all commercial and multi-occupancy residential buildings; and that the personnel and vendors that service those systems be deemed essential.
“We cannot put additional strain to our overburdened emergency response capabilities, by not ensuring buildings are protected with the very equipment that saves lives and property,” said NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley. “First responders rely on commercial and multi-occupancy residential buildings in their communities to have a full array of fire and life safety systems such as working fire detection, alarms and sprinkler systems.”
To avoid compromising fire and life safety, and leaving buildings vulnerable to vandalism, refer to the new NFPA Guidance for Maintaining Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems Regardless of Occupancy Status fact sheet that includes the following points:
- All commercial and multi-occupancy residential buildings should maintain fully operational fire and life safety systems as required by the applicable codes and standards. (NFPA 25, NFPA 72, NFPA 101)
- Those responsible for these buildings should adhere to the expected schedules for inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM) that are vital to their operation.
- Public and private employees who perform the inspection, maintenance and other responsibilities for these systems should be deemed essential workers.
- Most ITM requirements can be executed by a single ITM service provider limiting the need for face to face interaction.
- Systems on construction sites that are being temporarily abandoned should remain in an operating condition as specified in the construction safety plan (NFPA 241).
- Blocking open smoke or fire-protection rated doors can compromise the integrity of a building’s compartmentation plan. Maintaining these opening protectives is critical, especially in health-care occupancies. (NFPA 80)
- ITM requirements for health care systems, including med-gas systems, that require ITM as outlined by the risk assessment performed for the building and in accordance with manufacturers recommendations should continue. (NFPA 99)
- Without emergency power systems in proper working order, fire alarm system may not work as intended. (NFPA 110)
More information can be found at www.nfpa.org/coronavirus.
As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, we remain committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards.