Fire Marshals Office
The major concept of minimum fire code requirements is first and foremost the safe evacuation of the building's occupants. A safe and clear atmosphere is essential for the expedient and safe escape of everyone. Any obstacle prevents or slows their escape and causes the occupants to panic. Exit signs and emergency lights make exits obvious and easy to locate. Fire rated separations, corridors, doors, dampers, automatic fire sprinklers, etc. are necessary to limit the smoke and the fire's progress allowing additional time for the occupants to escape.
The fire safety process begins with the building's construction features. The Florida Building Code requirements play an important part in fire safety. The construction features provide a sound foundation for slowing or limiting the fire's destructive power and providing an easier escape. The exit features are maintained (limits smoke and fire intrusion) and a premature collapse on the occupants or firefighters fighting the fire is prevented.
Typically, the major portion of the building's structural components, as related to fire safety, is dictated by the Florida Building Code. Construction features such as; occupancy and building size limitations, occupancy and tenant separations, structural protection, etc. are usually determined by the Building Code. Egress, fire protection systems, etc. are sometimes found in both the Building Code and the Fire Code. The Code section that affords the most life safety will be applied.
Usually, the Florida Fire Prevention Code will be concerned with the interior portion of the building and may have additional construction requirements. They may include; protection of storage areas, details for multi-story buildings, corridor and exit construction, an automatic fire sprinkler system, a fire alarm system, or other fire protection features.
The reduction of fire damage to the building or its contents is another concern. Most life safety features have a dual role. For example, a fire sprinkler system will limit the spread of the fire to allow the occupants time to escape. In most cases, the fire sprinkler system has also extinguished or limited the spread of the fire. Primarily, the occupancy, tenant and hazard separations attempt to separate the fire from the occupants as they escape, but they also limit the spread of fire.
In the majority of the occupancies, as the occupant load (number of people in the building) increases, so does the fire safety requirements. The potential for disaster increases as the number of people in a building increase. Normally, a single person in a building at the time of a fire will be able to escape the fire without getting nervous. The possibility of a restricted escape is reduced. With a large number of people present, the occupant's movements are restricted by other people, tables, chairs, etc. and an increase of nervousness heightens the potential for panic.