Merriam-Webster defines due diligence as the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property.
For building owners and operators, this means planning ahead to ensure the health and safety of your tenants is recognized with reasonable precautions. A key component of this is identifying fire and life safety issues that impact your building. This type of planning protects you and corporate shareholders and directors from potential litigation, civil or at worst a criminal lawsuit in the event of a serious injury or death occurring as a result of a building emergency incident.
How do you go about achieving due diligence? Comply with the law and codes, adhere to industry best practises and ensure your actions are documented.
WPS breaks down due diligence into a four-step process:
- Planning: Develop a fire safety plan as per fire code requirements and submit the plan to the local authority having jurisdiction for approval. Though not legally required, it is highly recommended you also develop an emergency response plan for other potential hazards or threats that could impact your building and occupants.
- Implementation: Appointing emergency personnel, training personnel, conduction drills and exercises and maintenance of the plans are necessary and mandatory. This is the most critical and important step to achieve your fire and life safety goals.
- Compliance: If you successfully complete steps one and two, you will achieve what most other buildings have not – reduced risk and liability at a personal and corporate level. Remember, if your work and records are not in writing, they do not exist.
- Goals: These goals do not happen by accident. They require diligence, care and commitment by building management and owners.
Working with a reputable company that specializes in building fire and life safety planning can provide you the necessary guidance and support to develop your building fire and life safety program policy. Do not attempt to underwrite emergency plans yourself, unless you are an expert in the field and willing to assume responsibility and potential liability.
This article was submitted by WPS Disaster Management Solutions. For more information, visit wps-plan.com