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QUESTION OF THE WEEK: High-Rise Building Evacuations

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Facility Management, Question Of The Week, Safety

Tagged: ,

Published on March 14, 2011 with 1 Comment

In this new weekly offering, FacilityBlog will feature one question posted by a facility management professional to TFM‘s Tricks of the Trade Columnist Jim Elledge. While a link to Elledge’s response will be included, the goal of this exercise is to initiate even more discussion and encourage additional feedback within the facility management community.

Q. Can you explain why, when a fire alarm goes off in a high-rise building, that the floor with the trouble is the only one (along with those above and below) with an activated alarm? Our school is responsible for five floors of an eight story building, and people are little concerned about being left out when the alarms go off on other floors and not theirs. I have found the code, but there is no explanation.

Rod Caskey
Facility Manager
The Art Institute of Dallas
Dallas, TX

This question was originally published in the July 2009 issue of Today’s Facility Manager. Read Elledge’s response here. Share your feedback and suggestions in the LEAVE A COMMENT section below.

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at

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  1. This is how high-rise systems are designed – the floor in trouble and one floor up and one floor down. The intent is for the Fire Marshal (or equivalent) to make the determination when he arrives at the building as to whether or not a more wide spread evacuation is required. It would be extremely unproductive to have a general building evacuation every time a device is set off.

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