By Evan W. Lipstein, president, Hyline Safety Company
New York City residential property owners and managers must be aware of a new local law requirement effecting their properties.
Residential Owners will need to install newly required, “Apartment and Guest Room Identification and Directional Markings and Signs.”
Residential building owners are now required to install signs at entrance doors for all dwelling units (apartments, guest rooms and sleeping rooms) in Group R-1 and Group R-2 buildings and occupancies, as well as in their building’s lobby and hallway corridors.
In June of 2016, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) adopted a new rule, 3 RCNY §505-01 which sets specific new requirements for apartment and guest room identification signs along with directional markings and exit signs.
All apartment buildings and hotels in New York City must comply with this new requirement for apartment door markings and and other signs by March 30th of 2018.
However, if your property contains any duplex or triplex units, the property is required to comply much, much sooner. Occupancies with multi-floor dwellings (duplex, triplex) units must install these new markings by March 30, 2017.
The idea behind the law is that building owners mark apartment entrance doors with very specific markings that serve to assist firefighters, first responders and building occupants to identify apartment numbers in smoke conditions that obscure the regular (eye-level) apartment door numbers signs.
Citing specifics from the rule, “The marking of entrance doors with emergency markings serves to better facilitate firefighting operations, thereby providing a greater level of safety to firefighters and building occupants. The fire emergency marking enables firefighters to identify apartment numbers in smoke conditions that obscure the regular (eye-level) door numbers. Such identification ensures firefighters can more quickly conduct search and rescue operations. Additionally, the fire emergency marking for multi-floor dwelling units will make it possible for firefighters to ascertain whether they are entering the lower level of an apartment, rather than the upper level of an apartment, where temperatures may be unsafe. The fire emergency marking also assists in identifying apartments that are joined horizontally (such as adjoining apartments that have been combined into a single dwelling unit).”
Specific symbols and apartment numbers must be of either photoluminescent or retro-reflective materials. All signs are low-mounted, placed no higher than 12 inches from the floor at each entrance to every apartment door.
“This is so when we are crawling on the floor, we can find the apartment,” said FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer. “We must have as much information as possible.”
Property owners and managers are advised to take heed to abide by this new safety requirement as soon as possible. This low-cost measure will help control the response to a blackout, fire or smoke emergency and possibly help prevent loss of life.