Commercial properties must be prepared for a fire inspection at all times, to provide a safe environment and to maintain code compliant fire and life safety systems. Preparing for a fire inspection is an ongoing process as business and property safety managers should always be prepared to protect occupants and property from the consequences of fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, (NFPA), there are an average of 3,340 office property fires every year resulting in 44 injuries and 4 civilian deaths each year. Not only can a commercial property fire be deadly, but they are very costly as well causing an estimated $112 million annually in direct property damage.
Prepare for Fire Inspections with Code Compliance
Each state adopts their own fire and life safety code regulations with 42 states and the District of Columbia adopting the International Fire Code. See these maps of states and adopted building and safety code regulations. Businesses in each state are responsible for knowing the building and fire safety codes, ordinances and regulations they must meet and how to stay in compliance. These regulations such as NFPA standards, the International Building Code, (IBC), International Fire Code (IFC), and other government requirements such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) tell business owners exactly the requirements they must meet including types of equipment and how it should be installed.
Meeting the required fire safety requirements provides an increased level of safety to business owners, their workers and occupants. Some businesses may be required to have an annual fire inspection, others like high-rise buildings, hospitals, hotels or even night clubs may be required to have more frequent inspections to ensure public safety. It can be confusing to know exactly what code regulations you are required to meet and some municipalities like the City of Chicago have their own set of building safety code regulations.
Working with an experienced fire and life safety provider will help you in preparing for a fire inspection with mock inspections, testing, repairs and maintenance along with knowing exactly what code regulations apply to your property and business operations.
What Do Fire Inspectors Look at During a Fire Inspection?
Fire marshal inspectors look at all code regulations for your property beginning with outside the structure as well as all interior building requirements.
Maintain the Building’s Exterior for Safety
One of the first things inspectors will look at is the accessibility of your building to fire fighters. Make sure that your building is easily visible with your address marked clearly.
Be sure that all fire hydrants on the premises are accessible and not blocked by landscaping, you should maintain an area of three-feet for clearance on all sides of a fire hydrant. It is important to have a key available to fire department personnel if they must respond to an emergency during non-operational hours.
Prepare for an Interior Fire Inspection
There are several things to do indoors to make sure you are ready for a fire inspection. Keeping all walkways, stairways, and aisles clear of clutter and debris is important, along with making sure your exit signs and emergency lights are in good working order. Fire extinguishers are usually the first line of defense in getting a fire under control before it turns into an uncontrollable blaze.
Make sure that all doors can be easily opened without special keys or training. One of the most important things businesses can do is to maintain all fire extinguishers and sprinkler suppression systems. Data shows that when sprinkler systems are activated, they are effective in putting out fires 88% of the time. When fires occur in properties that have sprinkler systems the casualty rate is 62% less when compared to properties without sprinklers. It is important to maintain your sprinkler suppression system along with all components of your fire and life safety alarm system.
Other Considerations When Preparing for a Fire Inspection
Fire safety inspectors look at several areas when conducting a fire inspection. A fire inspection will consist of inspectors ensuring that emergency personnel have immediate access to the building. They will inspect all systems of egress such as lighted exit signs, exit doors and notification systems. They will also inspect fire alarm detectors, suppression systems including fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems for good working order. Fire alarm inspectors also look at ways that fire could start in the building.
The functionality of the business must coincide with the safety plan including where materials are stored, which doors should be locked or remain unlocked, and what type of safety systems are installed.
Remember, fire inspections save lives. While it might seem tedious to comply with all fire safety codes, working with an experienced fire and life safety system provider can alleviate a lot of burden from business owners. High Rise Security Systems is here to help you in preparing for a fire inspection with complete fire and life safety services.
HRSS provides comprehensive fire and life safety services including inspections, testing, maintenance, UL listed equipment, fire alarm system design and monitoring 24/7/365. We ensure that your building is code compliant to all applicable regulations. Contact us with any questions on preparing for a fire inspection.