Anyone know if “if DC laws require condos and/or apartment buildings of certain sizes or generally to have evacuation plans”?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Kim Baker

“Dear PoPville,

I’m trying to find out if DC laws require condos and/or apartment buildings of certain sizes or generally to have evacuation plans in place. I called DC Homeland Security who told me to talk w/ DCRA. Two people there said “no, not us” and said it was the Fire Department. They transferred me and someone there put me into voice mail for the Fire Marshal (?) The outgoing message said I’d get a call back by the end of the business day or within 24 hours. This was Monday afternoon. It’s Wednesday and no call back.

Who knows if it’s required and/or who does one call to get help?”

6 Comment

  • As a Condo Board Member, this post encouraged me to look around. I do not seeing anything. But, am interested, should anyone know more.

  • Are you talking about evacuating your building or the city? If your building – just do it. Make a plan. For evacuating the city – basically that’s not going to happen.

  • After 9/11, the earthquake, and the recent snow storms DC still doesn’t have it worked out. There isn’t any sort of regulation or law requiring condos/apartments to have an evac plan beyond posting a fire egress route. If they have enough employees they may be required to have a general emergency/shelter in place policy and procedure for the employees.

    Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and DOT are in charge of the city wide evac routes with guidance from DHS while DC reg 7–2304 gives the Mayor power to enact President’s evacuation order. Individuals are pretty much on there own.

    Guidelines and general information

    DC DOT evac and disaster information

  • I had to look into this for work (commercial buildings only), and there are basic requirements for evac routes in NFPA 101. I forget the section, but you can find a pdf of it online. A fire inspector can also help, and I’m sure DC has plenty of those who could help, private and DCFD.

  • I think you may be confusing evacuation plans with “Emergency Egress”? If you build a new building or renovate an existing to a certain point there needs to be measures to ensure egress in the event of an emergency based on codes (IBC2012 in DC). Sometimes in larger buildings you need to post a plan (map) of available exit routes (usually 2 means of egress) as well as providing systems which allows the fire department to do their job, this all depends on building type, size, construction etc… Who is requiring this?

  • Definitely can search through the DC Renters Rights and Rental Laws…I googled that when we we’re getting screwed after a pipe burst. Definitely a size requirement per rooms and also enter/exit requirements (more than one needed or something). Just start googling…and you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find. Almost found enough to set up a case against my landlady/realty company.

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