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Aug 28

So You Think Your Fire Safety Director Is Really A Fire Safety Director?

So You Think Your Fire Safety Director Is Really A Fire Safety Director?

According to the New York City Fire Code certain buildings and hotels are required by law to have a certified Fire Safety Director (FSD) onsite during regular business hours if:

Your HOTEL has 2-way communications (warden phones or jacks) and, (FC 401.6.5):

  • More than 30 rooms or can occupy more than 30 lodgers; or
  • More than 15 rooms or can occupy more than 15 lodgers above the street floor; or
  • Any number of rooms or lodgers in a building over 75 feet tall.

Your OFFICE BUILDING has 2-way communications and, during regular business hours (FC401.6.2):

  • It is designed to hold more than 100 people above or below the street level; or
  • It is designed to hold a total of more than 500 people.

is your fsd qualified?New York City code states that your organization must provide at least one FSD or, in their absence, a Deputy FSD at all times during regular business hours. Office buildings require an FSD/DFSD during the regular business hours annotated in Section 2 of the Combined Fire Safety and Evacuation Plan / Emergency Action Plan. Hotels need an FSD/DFSD at all times as the regular business hours are 24 /7.

Ok, so now your building needs to have qualified personnel to assist in the event of a fire to protect those in the building from fire and smoke, and you, the building owner, from lawsuits. What do you do next to ensure you are in compliance? What is the procedure? How many FSDs/DFSDs do you need? How do you know if those people are qualified? What are the ramifications if they are not qualified, or you do not have enough of them?

By the way, there is no difference between an FSD and a DFSD – they both took the same course, written tests and onsite exam. The plan only has one spot for an FSD and a bunch for DFSDs. Also, the FSD is technically responsible for training all fire safety staff.

To be an FSD/DFSD a candidate must:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Have a reasonable understanding of the English language; and
  • Have at least three (3) years of applicable experience in fire prevention, building service equipment or a satisfactory combination.

Now those candidates just have to go to certified fire safety school, pass two written tests and one on site exam. The procedure takes approximately 5 – 6 months to accomplish under normal circumstances:

  1. The candidate must take a 20 hour course given by an FDNY approved school.Most schools conduct their course over several weeks – 4-5 weeks.The Fire Safety Directors at Global Security Group run the course in 5 consecutive mornings – 1 week.
    Call for dates, times and cost – off site classes are offered for groups of 15 or more students – 212-285-2400.
  2. After passing the school exam, they must then pass a written exam at Fire Department Headquarters, 9 Metro Tech Brooklyn, NY 11201This test should be taken – as soon as possible as the retention of knowledge is highest after finishing classes – no more than 1-3 weeks is recommended.
  3. After passing the FDNY exam the candidate will receive a Z-50 certificate that will allow their employer to schedule an on site exam, provided that they have had their experience approved by the Certificate of Fitness unit – allow 4-5 weeks.
  4. call a fire safety director at gsgThe on site practical is next and will be administered at your building by an FDNY Inspector. This will encompass such topics as knowledge of the building, training the brigade and wardens, fire scenarios and fire protection impairment incidents.The candidate must also be intimately familiar with the buildings fire alarm panel and elevator operations. Scheduled on site exams usually take 12 – 16 weeks, for – an additional fee this can be expedited and may be done within 1-2 weeks – make sure they are ready!!Contact a Fire Safety Director from Global Security Group help your candidates prepare for this exam – call 212-285-2400

Congratulations!! You have someone who passed the three exams and is now a FSD, great! Now go get a bunch more!! In an office building you need them during regular business hours which could be 1 shift from Monday – Friday, or 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At the very least you need to have 2 – if the FSD wants to go on vacation, gets sick, goes out for lunch – the DSFD must be on site. Our recommendations are that most office buildings need 2-4 people certified depending on the regular business hours and hotels need 8-10 people certified.

The FDNY has a policy regarding the absence of FSD/DFSDs in buildings – they give out costly summonses if you get caught. This can happen during one of the many unannounced FDNY inspections you may experience, during a fire incident, or as the result of a complaint – usually from a disgruntled employee. Remember, You are required to have a qualified Fire Safety or Deputy Fire Safety Director on duty and on location at all times.

Heres where the confusion comes in. Who is actually qualified?

A qualified FSD/DFSD is someone that:

  1. Has passed an onsite exam and has received a C of F card with a number and the address of your building, or;
  2. Has passed the written exam at Metro Tech, and;
    1. Scheduled and received a date for an onsite exam, and;
    2. Requested and received a Letter of Confirmation.

An FSD is not qualified if they:

  1. Are an FSD/DFSD at another building and do not have a valid C of F at yours.
  2. Are outsourced from a security company unless they have a valid C of F for your building.This is a widely misunderstood concept.
    BE AWARE!!! Many security companies charge you more for supplying you with FSDS – this is a waste of money!!! The fact is – IF THEY DO NOT HAVE A VALID FSD C of F FOR YOUR BUILDING – THEY DO NOT EXIST IN THE EYES OF THE FDNY.