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Fire safety in condos is key. Which means condo boards should know the minimum requirements for fire safety in Ontario. Governed by the Fire Code O. Reg. 213/07, under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, fire safety applies to condos with 10 or more occupants.
Here are five important facts every condo board member in the GTA and Ontario should know.
1. Fire Safety Plans
As mentioned above, condos with more than 10 people must have a fire safety plan approved by the Chief Fire Official. Here’s what’s required for the plan:
- Your emergency fire procedures such as sounding the fire alarm, calling 9-1-1 and evacuation processes
- Special evacuation provisions for those who need assistance to evacuate
- Appointing and training supervisory staff responsible for safety related duties, like condominium managers, superintendents, and security staff with
- A supervisory staff training outline
- Fire drill scheduling, organization, and procedures for supervisory staff as well as residents
- Creating and updating a list of system tests and inspection requirements for daily, weekly, monthly, and annual code compliance
- As well, you must post a copy of fire emergency procedures on each floor area of the building.
2.When to Review your Plans
Once approved, review your plans at least once a year to allow any required revisions. Revisions would include things like building modifications, new staff, renovations both ongoing or newly completed. As well as other upgrades, especially to electrical systems or alarms.
3. On Training and Drills
All records regarding the training of building supervisory staff must be maintained for two years. Staff must be available to fulfill their duties under the fire safety plan with full training for the procedures.
Fire drills take place quarterly (every three months) with records of each drill kept for 12 months. However, since you have to keep training records for two, you can keep them all together to make it easier to manage. For high-rise buildings with seven stories or more, or with occupancy 18m above grade, annual resident fire drills must be held and documented.
4. Fire Safety and Short-term Rentals
For condos with four or more short-term rental suites, your status changes to a hotel. Therefore, it needs further fire safety considerations.
One thing to remember is that fire safety supervisory staff has to stay in the building on a continual basis. It’s not just strictly for residential buildings. Also, a copy of fire emergency procedures must be posted in the following areas:
- In the main reception area
- On each floor area of the building
- At all exits
However, here’s where it gets a little complicated. All procedures and rules must also be posted on the inside of the egress doors of each guest suite. Which means you have to identify all short-term rentals to make sure you are meeting fire safety requirements.
5. Communicate to Residents
Sharing your fire plan annually with residents tells them how to proceed in case of a fire emergency. Therefore, it’s a good idea to share the communication prior to the annual resident fire drill. This gives residents fair warning, so they aren’t as surprised or startled when the alarm goes off.
In short, understanding these important facts ensures your condo corporation is compliant with the emergency planning requirements of the Ontario Fire Code. Therefore, the directors and your condo corporation can avoid fines and penalties.
The condo experts at CPO Management Inc, a property management company in Toronto and the GTA serving condo corporations, can assist with short-term rental regulations as well as fire safety planning. Speak to us today.