Posted by: RJ the Fire Dog Blogger | November 23, 2009

New High-Rise Codes

High-Rise Safety Codes Can Save Your Life

Let’s face it. Code talk is dry. Even though I’m in the business of fire safety and disaster prevention, reading through codes and the like puts me to sleep. But sometimes we need to talk code because knowing safety-related stuff like this will help protect you whether you own, live or work in a building. And, besides those of us who live in doghouses, this covers us all.

So here are the new codes, in brief:

  • All of the guidelines are meant for high-rise buildings, which have floors located more than 75 feet above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access.
  • Impact-resistant walls in elevators should protect from potential fire-related blasts or projectiles.
  • New requirements focus on extra redundancies to sprinkler risers. (If there’s anything I hate, it is redundant redundancies.)
  • A minimum of two water mains must be connected to the fire pump water supply.
  • New Smoke removal requirements are set for buildings in the cleanup phase after a fire.
  • Electrically-powered fire pumps must be under an emergency power load.
  • To decrease the risk of injuries, new requirements aid the movement of occupants out of buildings. Knowing how to safety exit a building in case of emergency makes sense to me.
  • New rules regarding the required distance between exit stairway enclosures have been established.
  • During emergencies, official personnel need to use stairways. So new guidelines allow for additional exits.
  • Luminous egress path markings will ensure that building occupants know exactly where to go. Lighting the way should cut down on confusion in cases of emergency.
  • New requirements for a fire service access elevator will give firefighters a safe and fast way to reach staging areas. This should help cut down on the time it takes to fight fires.
  • Occupant elevators can be used for evacuation, if the new, specific requirements are met.
  • Also good news, completion of the requirements may allow exemption from the additional stairway requirement mentioned earlier.

Be sure to review the detailed requirements before implementing changes. Visit the International Code Council website for more information or check out the complete list of new requirements at RJ Westmore Inc. RJ Westmore is a credible source for property managers and owners to learn about building-related issues. Refer your colleagues to our blog so they can also stay informed about the latest industry trends. And, no matter how dry the code may be, make sure you do what it takes to BE SAFE.

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