The New York City Fire Department held a public hearing before an almost empty room today on proposed amendments to rules requiring building owners and landlords to distribute fire safety guidelines and notices.

A major focus of the amendments was requiring landlords and apartment building owners to post “close the door” signs in the lobby and stairwell of buildings. The amendment would also require the distribution of “emergency preparedness/evacuation planning checklists” to apartment residents.

Only one person from the public spoke at the meeting, Michael Jaffa, the chief operating officer of Jack Jaffa and Associates, a company  known for defending building owners from accusations of violations. His questions focused on how the amendments would change the rule.

“What kind of proof of distribution is adequate?” he asked.

He also asked if can it go out with other different paperwork. The FDNY’s answers indicated that they wanted distributions for landlords to be as easy as possible. The new evacuation checklists can be sent through the mail, email, or simply slipped
under tenants doors, even combined with other paperwork, as long as proof can be provided it was distributed to tenants.

No other members of the public commented.

The FDNY has been recently pushing the “close the door” initiative to help save lives. According to the FDNY, fires killed 88 people in 2018, the highest number in a decade. A closed door contains smoke and flames from spreading carbon monoxide fumes.

Government statistics show that the FDNY responded to 1,983 “serious incidents” involving fires in 2018. That included fires ranging in severity from “all hands”, where a minimum of four units are called, to five alarm fires and higher.