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New FDNY signage requirements for 2017

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.

2 Responses

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  1. JEng
    Feb 27, 2017 - 12:11 AM

    I sent this information to a landlord forum so more owners will know but there is no way to know exactly what FDNY wants to see other than the apartment designation. The green man signage may be “nyc approved” but where is it written in the actual rule where these green men signs are supposed to be affixed? At what height? As if tenants are crawling on the floor or on the stairs?

    Also, other than this vendor’s article, were any notices sent to building owners that they might be affected by the March 30th 2017 deadline and what are the penalties if you make a mistake with your signage?

    How do we notify DOB that we are in compliance? Do we have to go to the expense of having a PE or RA “sign and seal” photos of the signage and then ask for an inspection like when certifying objections?

    Thank you.

    • JEng
      Mar 04, 2017 - 04:46 PM

      FDNY took a lot of time (14 minute phone call plus emails) to respond to our inquiry. Thank you, Inspector Low.

      The impression from FDNY is that they would appreciate as much accommodation in the interest of safety as owners can afford in addition to the required notation for duplexes and triplexes. We got our stickers already and will be installing them before the end of the month deadline.

      Since the majority of small owners do not read REW (I certainly don’t), this vendor has the best prices based on comparing his prices to Amazon today and buying the NYC approved signs from Brady (do your own research) so the newspapers should definitely recirculate this article since the vendor also probably has the answers for height placement as well and it will save time.

      In this case, it is not about issuing fines. So we are ready to go with over 20 stickers to nuk nuk all over the inside and outside of the dwelling units’ entry doors.

      As we have fewer than 8 dwelling units on each floor, we are only required to put up four stickers for the single duplex in the building. But these glow in the dark stickers make a lot of sense – the emergency exit lights in the stairs and over the exit doorways did last a long time during Hurricane Sandy but every little bit helps.


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