Chicago High-rise Fire Plan

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Purpose: To provide property and facility managers with insights on how to develop a great fire emergency plan for high-rise buildings.


  • Why should a property manager create a high-rise fire plan?

  • How does a high-rise fire plan differ from other fire protocol?

  • What are some components of a successful fire plan?

Fire safety is always a main priority for property and facility managers. However, high-rise buildings present an extra set of challenges. From longer evacuation times and fire department accessibility to high-rise fire sprinklers and smoke detectors, tenant safety must be considered. So, fire departments and fire protection agencies around the country have strategized protocol on how to best plan and execute a fire evacuation.

Here, we’ll delve into ways that you can prepare for and avoid fire-related hazards in your property. So, if the fire alarm rings in your building, you won’t have a Windsor high-rise situation on your hands; you’ll have systems in place to calmly and effectively handle the circumstance.

The risk of high-rise property fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments across the United States responded to an average of 14,500 high-rise building fires per year from 2009 to 2013. High-rise building fires are a realistic concern, and should be treated seriously and planned for accordingly.

Additionally, high-rise fires call for heightened attention, as their impact is compounded by multiple levels of potential risk. In other words, the possible damage of a high-rise fire could be worse than a fire in a lower-level building.

Appoint the proper people and procedures

It’s important to have systems in place to combat high-rise building fires. As reported by the Lombard Fire Department, to minimize and manage risk, every Chicago high-rise building — with occupied floors 75 feet or higher above fire department access — must assign staff to the following roles:

  • Fire safety director.

  • Alternate fire safety director.

  • Floor wardens.

Each building must also develop the following methods:

Prepare in advance with high-rise fire sprinklers — and more!

By equipping your high-rise Chicago property with fire sprinklers, you’ll be well on your way toward a protected facility. In case of a fire, it’s also important to incorporate these safety features in your facility:

  • Exit signs and stairwells that are distinctly marked

  • Audible announcement systems

  • Clearly posted evacuation plans

Did you know? High-rise buildings are more likely to have fire sprinklers and fire alarm equipment in comparison to non-high rise buildings.

Plus, when the proper equipment is installed, fires can be extinguished faster. By installing high-rise fire sprinklers, property damage is reduced by 70% on average, which saves the building structure, money in repairs, and most importantly, human lives.

What does your property do especially well to prevent and plan for fire-related emergencies?

In Conclusion

Keep your property fire-safe by adhering to proper protocol. When in doubt, contact your local fire protection agency or fire department; they can better prepare you for a fire-related emergency.

As a property or facility manager, keeping your tenants safe is ultra-important. Be sure to keep your high-rise fire plan in mind, and update your procedures when necessary.