NYC Fire Safety Director – Emergency Action Director – Selection of Wardens, Deputy Wardens and Searchers
Fire safety in office buildings is of vital importance to the FDNY, and it should be a priority for staff and occupants in the building. To be in compliance with the Rules of the City of New York, there are guidelines that must be followed for each building, and/or individual tenant spaces. To avoid a violation, you are mandated to select fire safety wardens, deputy fire safety wardens, and searchers.
According to regulations, there must be “at least one fire safety warden for each floor of the building…on duty on each floor during regular business hours for such floor.”The warden would be the person in charge of the entire floor during a fire or emergency.
Regarding deputy fire wardens, an often misunderstood designation, there must be “at least one deputy fire safety warden for each employer of building occupants on a floor.”This means that the floor must have at least one deputy warden, but each employer or tenant, must provide a deputy. In addition, “if the floor area occupied by an employer of building occupants on a single floor exceeds 7,500 square feet, a deputy fire safety warden shall be designated for each 7,500 square feet or portion thereof.“ The deputies will report in to the floor warden. Both wardens and deputies “shall be on duty on each floor during the regular business hours of such employer.”
All floors are also required to have searchers during regular business hours to ensure that any people in the bathrooms are aware of the situation affecting their floor. According to the rule, there must be “at least one male and one female fire safety searcher…on a floor.” Each rest room is required to have a searcher. For example, if the 19th floor has one men’s and one women’s rest room – the requirement is one male and one female searcher. If the 20th floor has two men’s and two women’s rest rooms – the requirement is two male and two female searchers.
Frank Papalia is a retired lieutenant with the Fire Department of the City of New York. He holds two degrees from Jay College of Criminal Justice, a Bachelor of Arts in Fire and Emergency Service and a Master of Public Administration in Emergency Management. He may be reached at 212.285.2400