Building Fire Safety Features
Fire Resistant Construction Material: The floors are constructed of poured in place concrete decking. Ceilings are one-hour fire resistant mineral fiber. The walls are flame retardant gypsum board installed over metal studs, and the stairwells are two-hour fire rated assemblies.
Manual Fire Pull Stations: All building floors have manual fire pull stations on the walls near the exits of each floor. They are typically small red-colored boxes and have simple instructions on the front to activate. These are tied into the main fire alarm panel and they notify the panel to send out signals.
Sprinklers: All tenant and public areas of the building are protected by ceiling mounted automatic sprinklers that are heat activated. Any water flow will trigger an alarm at the main fire panel. Sprinkler-related equipment is tested quarterly.
Smoke Detectors: The following areas of the building are also protected by smoke detectors: freight and passenger elevators lobbies and elevator machine rooms.
Fire Extinguishers: All fire extinguishers are wall mounted in cabinets throughout tenant spaces, freight elevator lobbies, common areas and stairwells. These extinguishers are used on fires involving wood, paper, plastic, grease, oil and electrical. Tenants should become familiar with the location of extinguishers within their space and the proper use of these devices.
Stairwells: The building contains two main evacuation stairwells that are capable of withstanding a fire for three hours. During any fire alarm condition, the stairwells are pressurized by fans to prevent smoke from entering the stairwells. This enables persons on higher floors to safely descend down the stairwell. When any alarm condition exists, doors are automatically released to allow access. Stairwell doors must not be blocked open because this may allow the spread of fire or smoke into the exit stairwells. Tenants should become familiar with the location of all exit stairwells on their floor.
Fire Alarm Panel: The building is equipped with a fully addressable fire alarm system with main control panel located in the Fire Command Room on the first floor. The panel monitors heat and smoke sensitive devices, water flow, tamper switches and fan status throughout the building. In the event of a fire or system trouble, an alarm will sound at the panel disclosing the location and nature of the problem. The panel is also monitored 24 hours a day/7 days a week by an off-site monitoring service. In addition, alarm conditions automatically trigger a call to the Houston Fire Department.
Fire Alarm: Sirens and visual strobes are transmitted through equipment on each building floor and within tenant spaces of affected floors.
Public Announcement System: Speakers that will be used for communicating emergency response activities and/or evacuations are located throughout tenant floors and common areas which allow building personnel or local authorities to communicate to all floors at the same time or individually in the event of an emergency.
HVAC Circulation: The activation of a fire alarm causes air handling units to power off thereby reducing the circulation of smoke from a fire.
Emergency Generator: Emergency power will be provided immediately by the building generator for the following “critical” items only:
- Emergency lights in stairwells, elevators, corridors and tenant spaces
- One passenger elevator in each bank plus one freight elevator
- All fire/life safety equipment
- All exit lights
- Emergency telephone systems in elevators and Fire Command Center rooms
- Public Address System (“PA”)
Rendezvous/muster Point: Building Property Management has designated interior muster points for all tenants and their visitors at the hallways nearest the EXITs on each floor. Occupants must evacuate in case of a floor or whole building evacuation.
Tenant Fire Emergency Responsibilities
As the employer, you are responsible for:
- Developing in-suite evacuation plans, assigning incipient fire-fighting responsibilities, training all employees in emergency response procedures (including use of fire extinguishers), and practicing emergency procedures in-house and when ordered by Property Management.
- Appointing a Fire Warden(s). The Fire Warden should appoint one or more assistants to act as back-up in case of absence and also to assist them during an emergency. All chosen should be individuals who rarely travel and who are familiar with the names and faces of all employees in your office. The names of assigned Fire Wardens and Back Ups must be given to the Property Management Office and kept up to date. Upon assignment, the Fire Warden will be responsible for:
- Implementation of your Fire Safety Program under the direction of the Houston Fire Marshal and the City of Houston Fire Code. (Utilize your City of Houston High Rise Evacuation procedures).
- Familiarizing employees with the location of all pre-designated interior muster points (near EXIT stairwells), exits, fire extinguishers and building stairwells by posting and distributing floor plans.
- For evacuations not initiated by the Fire Department or Property Management, inform employees as to who is responsible for the order to evacuate.
- Inform Property Management of all disabled individuals who might require assistance during an evacuation.
- Maintain a roster of all individuals working in your office.
- Training employees in the emergency response procedures if a fire is discovered in the tenant space.
- Practicing emergency procedures to ensure familiarity with individual responsibilities. A building evacuation drill and fire extinguisher training sessions are conducted semi-annually during regular business hours by the Property Management Office in conjunction with the Houston Fire Department.
In the Event of a Fire or Smoke in or near a Tenant Space:
In the event of a fire or smoke in a tenant space, the Fire Warden is in charge until the Fire Department or the Property Manager arrives. The Fire Warden and the other designated employees should initiate the following emergency procedures:
- Find and activate the nearest manual fire pull station on the wall near the exits on the floor (May be outside the tenant’s space). This will activate the main fire alarm panel.
- Call 911. Be sure to use the address, 945 Bunker Hill, when speaking with the 911 operator.
- Call the Property Management Office immediately to report the fire’s exact location, its type and severity, if possible.
- Close all doors leading to the fire (but DO NOT lock them).
- Do not attempt to fight a fire that appears to be out of control or threatens your safety. If the fire is small enough or is in a wastebasket, extinguish in place, if possible. If machinery is on fire, shut off its power supply.
If evacuation from the office becomes necessary prior to the arrival of the Fire Department or Property Manager, the Fire Warden will:
- Give the order to evacuate to the designated Company-assigned muster point and ensure occupants stand close to walls to allow any emergency responders unimpeded access.
- Give instructions to the Back-Up Wardens to assist in ensuring all persons (Including coordinated movement of physically impaired persons) from his/her office have evacuated to the muster point.
- Notify the Property Management Office that they have evacuated their tenant space.
- Relinquish authority when the Property Manager or local emergency responders arrive.
In the Event of an Announced Floor Evacuation
- The Security Ambassador will notify building occupants via the public announcement (“PA”) system to evacuate to another floor at least three (3) floors below the suspected smoke/fire area until occupants are given further instructions.
- In the event the PA is not operational, the Fire Warden must decide if evacuation is required. Floor evacuation is only necessary:
- On the floor where the fire or smoke is present;
- For the floor directly above the fire or smoke floor;
- For the floor directly below the fire or smoke floor;
- When ordered to leave by the Property Manager or by local emergency responders.
3. DO NOTuse the elevators unless otherwise instructed. Use stairwells only and walk single-file down the RIGHT SIDE of the stairwell.
In the Event of a Whole Building Evacuation
- The Houston Fire Department will either notify all persons via the PA system or cause the Security Ambassador to do so.
- Fire Wardens should assist in evacuating employees in an orderly manner from their space/floor to your designated exterior muster point and remain there until further instructed by local emergency responders or Building Property Management Team as approved by the local emergency responders.
- Once outside, Fire Wardens should provide local emergency responders with any information that may be useful in tracking the fire location and any persons missing.
In the Event of Inability to Escape the Fire Area (Shelter-in-Place):
If evacuation of an area is not possible because fire or thick smoke blocks all escape routes, the following procedures should be followed:
- Move as far away from the fire as possible. Close all doors as you go (but do not lock). Every closed door between you and the fire provides a barrier against smoke.
- If a phone is accessible, call 911.
- Stuff clothing or other material around ventilation ducts and cracks in the doors to prevent smoke-filled air from penetrating the area.
- DO NOT BREAK WINDOWS. Under certain conditions, an open window may draw smoke into the area. If windows have been broken, there will be no way to stop the smoke from entering the room.
TENANT FIRE WARDENS:
- Participates in semi-annual fire drills and maintains required training from the City.
- Demonstrates complete evacuation to your designated exterior rendezvous/muster points as part of the tenant emergency procedures training with tenant’s employees.
- Maintains their company’s fire response plan and fire protection supplies (flashlights, batteries, arm bands, whistles).
- Maintains a current employee list.
- Coordinates with Back-Up Wardens for evacuation for employees with physical impairments.
- Ascertains the location of the fire and pull the nearest fire pull station if this has not already been done.
- Calls 911
- Gives the order to evacuate, if necessary.
- Notifies the Property Management Office of a fire emergency.
- Gives instructions to the Back-Up Wardens.
- Continues fire evacuation procedures during actual fire.
- Provides local emergency responders with any information that may be useful in tracking the fire location and any persons missing
- Evaluates the procedures for fire evacuation and makes recommendations for revisions and improvements to the procedures.
TENANT BACK-UP FIRE WARDENS
- Participates in semi-annual fire drills and maintains required training from the City.
- Coordinates with Fire Wardens for evacuation for employees with physical impairments.
- Follows instructions from Tenant Fire Wardens (Acts as main Tenant Fire Warden when assigned person is out of the office).
- Searches tenant space to verify all individuals have left their space.
- Takes a head count after an evacuation to verify that all their occupants on the floor have been evacuated.
Fire Safety Tips
- Make sure appliances such as coffee makers are turned off at night.
- Do not use portable electric heaters. They are prohibited in all areas of the building per the Houston Fire Code.
- Smoking is not allowed in the building or within 25 feet of any entrance to the building. Only designated smoking areas outside the building must be used.
- If electrical equipment or a fluorescent light is not working properly, or if it gives off an unusual odor, disconnect the equipment or turn off the light and call the Property Management Office.
- Protect extension cords from damage by not pulling them across doorways or any place where they will be stepped on. Do not plug more than one extension cord into another and do not plug more than one extension cord into one outlet. Be sure to check amperage load of the cord as specified by the manufacturer and do not exceed it.
- Leave plenty of space for air to circulate around copy machines, word processors, microwave ovens, and other equipment that normally gives off heat.
- Material must not be stacked closer than 20 inches from the ceiling in order to prevent blockage of sprinkler heads.
- Report all “Exit” signs that are not properly illuminated to Property Management.
- Flammable/Combustible debris, fluids or chemicals should be properly stored per Code requirements, i.e., cleaning fluids, etc.
- Freight elevator lobbies on all floors should be kept clear at all times to provide access for emergency equipment. Tenant-owned items and deliveries should not be left near freight lobby areas.
- Know the location of the fire exits/stairwells on your floor and fire extinguishers in your suite.
- Keep several flashlights with fresh batteries in an easily accessible location for emergency use.
- Do not open doors that feel hot.
- Do not prop fire stair doors open or permit doors to remain open. This permits the fire and smoke to spread more easily.
- Close all doors behind you.
- Do not fight a fire by yourself.
- Do not panic - remain calm - wait for help, if necessary.
- Evacuate according to evacuation procedures, which include following instructions from Fire Wardens, Building Management and the local emergency responders.
- Walk quickly when directed, but do not run.
- Do not use the elevators for emergency evacuation. USE STAIRS unless directed otherwise.
- If you are exposed to heat or smoke, stay low near the floor.
- Do not go back for your personal property or for other reasons. Notify your Fire Warden if you believe there are still persons remaining in your tenant space.
- Do not return to your suite or the building until you are instructed to do so by local emergency responders or the Property Management Team.