New York Fire Prevention: What you need to know

New York has no specific law or regulation requiring private employers, other than schools and residential healthcare facilities, to conduct fire drills, although the state does recommend that employers conduct quarterly drills.

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The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), which governs New York's private sector occupational safety and health system, does require that companies with 10 or more employees have written fire prevention and emergency exit plans for each workplace. Employers with fewer than 10 employees may communicate the plans orally. To ensure that the exit plan will work in an actual emergency, it is advisable to rehearse regularly with annual or semiannual drills.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires most employers to provide emergency exit routes, an emergency action plan, a fire prevention plan, and implement procedures to protect employees from fires. Although fire and evacuation drills are not specifically required by regulation, employers should also have written procedures for executing fire evacuation drills. Employees who supervise evacuations must be trained to perform the task.

Local codes. Local fire safety codes may contain additional requirements for business facilities.

State workplaces. The state Office of General Services does require regular fire/evacuation drills in facilities owned, leased, or otherwise occupied by state employees. Evacuation procedures are available at http://www.ogs.state.ny.us/bldgAdmin/ security/safetyEmergency.html.

New York City. Office and commercial buildings in New York City must develop fire safety and emergency action plans, including holding drills on each floor at least once per ...

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