Fire Escape Breaking News! The next big Fire Escape Tsunami wave has officially touched ground-zero in the city of Philadelphia, that is, because Philly’s Fire Department and Department of Licenses and Inspections just released an application, called “Fire Escape Crowdsourcing”; that will help identify and officially map Fire Escapes throughout the city in preparation for July 1st, 2017 upcoming mandatory inspections.
Bill No. 160462, passed by City Council last year, amended the Philadelphia Fire and Property Maintenance Codes to require that building owners have fire escapes and fire balconies regularly inspected by a licensed professional engineer with experience in structural engineering.
Pursuant to the bill, the engineer must conduct an inspection, provide the building owner a full report on the inspection, and submit a summary of the report to L&I. The inspection report must include a classification of the condition of the fire escape/balcony or façade as Safe; Unsafe; or, if the condition is not currently Unsafe but will become so unless specified repairs and maintenance are completed, as Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program. If the report:
- Identifies any Unsafe conditions, you have 24 hours to take actions necessary to protect public safety, including posting notice of the condition inside the building; 3 days to apply for necessary permits to repair the fire escape/balcony; and 10 days to begin work to correct the condition. Following the repairs, the engineer has two weeks to reinspect and submit an updated report.
- Identifies any conditions as Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program, you are responsible for taking the actions identified in the report to keep the conditions from becoming Unsafe.
- Classifies your fire escapes/balconies as Safe, they will be tagged with weather-resistant placards that include the date of inspection and the date of the next required inspection.
Due Date: Inspections, reports, and summaries are due July 1, 2017, or ten years after the construction of your building, whichever comes last, and then every five years thereafter. If you have restored your fire escapes/balconies since June 30, 2016, you may request an extension of the due date for your first inspection by contacting L&I at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information and required forms, please see the L&I website at http://www.phila.gov/li/Pages/PermitsCertificates.aspx.