NYSAFC: Do not delay compliance with rope law

Lion Personal Rescue System

A few weeks ago we posted a blog on Lion Connects about the State of New York’s “rope law” that requires all interior firefighters serving populations of less than one million working on a building’s second story or higher to be trained and furnished with self-rescue equipment (specifically rope and components). The intent of the law is to provide safe emergency egress in the event that a firefighter must escape from the upper stories of a building through an opening that is not designated as an exit. Equipment must meet NFPA 1983, Standard on Life Safety Rope and Equipment for Emergency Services, 2006 edition.

Despite legal challenges, the law went into effect last December.  The state’s Department of Labor is now issuing citations to fire departments that are not in compliance with the law.  Click here to read a recent article in Fire Engineering: NY State Fire Departments Must Comply Fully with Department of Labor Code Rule 800.7.

“Departments need to be moving forward on compliance with this legislation,” said Thomas LaBelle, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs.  “If the Department of Labor shows up and you have done nothing, you are going to have trouble.”

The article outlines the four distinct steps that the authority having jurisdiction must take in accordance with the law:

  • Complete a risk assessment;
  • Review and edit SOPs;
  • Purchase equipment if needed; and
  • Train firefighters.  

A senate bill and an assembly bill are being considered in the state’s legislature that would allow departments more latitude with their emergency egress solutions. Nonetheless, the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs encourages departments not to delay compliance with the final regulation.