Where There’s Smoke … Developing Sound Fire-Safety Policies

One only needs to watch the news regularly to understand the devastation that a fire can have on a home or community whatever the time of year. The Lowell, Massachusetts, apartment fire last summer that killed four adults and three children has made us all especially aware of the dangers.

Fires can happen any time but certain times of year are more dangerous. “The winter months are the peak time of the year for fire deaths,” says Marty Ahrens, a manager of fire analysis services at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), based in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Now is an excellent time to think about association fire-safety plans.     

According to a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) report published last year for the years 2009 to 2011, multi-unit dwellings were responsible for close to 30 percent of all U.S. residential fires serious enough to require a call to the local fire department. Three hundred ninety-five deaths were caused by these fires, 4,250 injuries, and $1.2 billion (yes, billion!) dollars in property loss. It's just plain old common sense to have a solid prevention and evacuation plan and make sure everyone knows the details.

Formulate a Plan

The first step in developing a fire-safety plan appropriate for your association is understanding the legal requirements. Most municipalities use some edition of the International Code Council's International Fire Code (IFC).

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