New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently signed Executive Order 12 to strengthen fire safety enforcement and outreach in the aftermath of the tragic Twin Parks apartment fire in January. The executive order will increase coordination between Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) inspectors to identify safety violations earlier and increase fire safety compliance. FDNY and HPD will also launch a broad campaign to educate New Yorkers on fire safety.

One level deeper: The executive order will increase coordination and information-sharing between the agencies to better enforce existing fire safety laws. The agencies will also enhance outreach efforts to educate New Yorkers on preventing fires and responding to fire emergencies. Measures include:

  • In addition to looking for housing code violations, HPD inspectors will now look for compliance with FDNY’s requirement that the Fire Safety Notice is posted on the apartment’s entrance door. HPD will communicate information about lack of this signage to FDNY and to the owner of the building.
  • HPD will provide FDNY with access to all violations issued that pertain to fire safety since Jan. 1, 2021. FDNY will use this information to conduct more frequent inspections of buildings with a large number of violations.
  • FDNY inspectors will conduct enhanced inspections for fire signage and posting violations.
  • FDNY and HPD will conduct a broad, educational fire safety outreach campaign, including education related to smoke detectors, self-closing doors, and stove knob covers. Resident outreach will include information on what to do in the event of a fire, and building owners will be reminded of their legal obligations related to fire safety.
  • FDNY will work with the Department of Education to conduct outreach in schools, including educating teachers, staff, and students about appropriate fire safety measures and proper evacuation procedures.

In a statement, HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. said, “The fire at the Twin Parks building was a devastating tragedy, and we are committed to working closely with FDNY to help prevent future tragedies. In addition to checking for self-closing doors, smoke detectors, and other critical safety items at every routine inspection, our inspectors will now also check that the Fire Safety Notice is posted on every apartment door, which provides life-saving information about what to do in the event of a fire. All New Yorkers should have a fire safety plan and contact their property owners if there are fire safety issues in their homes or file a complaint with 311 if issues are not corrected.”

What to watch: The city will also work with the City Council to enact additional fire safety legislation, including sensible retrofit sprinkler legislation and legislation that increases fines for landlords who falsely report curing a self-closing door violation. Self-closing doors are required in all buildings with three or more apartments, as closing a door on a fire within an apartment can help prevent the spread of the fire to the hallway and other units. 

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May 04, 2022 — The Habitat Group