"OH NO, here comes the Fire Inspector with that dreaded clipboard"
Does that thought run through your mind when the Fire Inspector arrives at your facility? If so, you may be interested in learning the main reasons why facilities fail fire inspections, and how one can easily avoid costly mistakes by hiring professionals to ensure all applicable codes are met.
Below are 10 common problems typically found by Fire Inspectors during routine inspections. If you take the 10 suggested remedies to heart, it will save your business time and money, and will make the Fire Inspector happy as well.
1. Inoperable, Non-Visible or an Insufficient Quantity of Inspected Fire Extinguishers
It is important that all Fire Extinguishers are hung in proper position and the quantity of Fire Extinguishers meets the code requirement. Many businesses are unaware that Fire Extinguishers must be INSPECTED AND TAGGED ANNUALLY. If your facility has this service performed by a highly trained Fire Protection Company, there should not be any reason to fail this part of an inspection.
2. Failure to Properly Inspect a Kitchen Hood Suppression System
Code requires that Kitchen Fire Suppression Systems must be INSPECTED SEMI-ANNUALLY (EVERY 6 MONTHS).
3. Exit/Emergency Lighting Not Functioning in Normal, Emergency or Both Modes
Picture this scenario...Your facility is filled with employees/customers and outside a major storm is threatening. Suddenly the power is lost and the lights are out and the exit/emergency lights do no turn on, because they have not been inspected for proper working order and to ensure batteries and bulbs are functioning. Panic can ensue when those needing to evacuate the building are plunged into darkness.
This frightening situation can be easily avoided by performing an ANNUAL INSPECTION OF EXIT/EMERGENCY LIGHTS. OSHA does require this inspection, which is typically performed at the same time as the Annual Fire Extinguisher Inspection.
4. Failure to Inspect and Service the Sprinkler System
Sprinkler Systems must have an internal inspection once every five years. In addition, most systems must be inspected anywhere from Quarterly (once every three months) or Annually, once a year. When the Fire Protection team arrives onsite, they can advise the maintenance staff of the minimum requirement for your sprinkler system.
5. Inadequate Access to Outlets and Panels and Missing Coverplates
Did you know that uncovered junction boxes, circuit panels and electrical outlets all need to be concealed by the appropriate coverplate? Were you aware that there should be, at minimum, 30 inches of clear access in front of all outlets and panels?
6. Difficult-to-Open EXIT Doors
A Fire Inspector will insist that all EXIT Doors be easily opened from INSIDE the facility. This is imperative in the event of a fire...in a panic situation, seconds can mean lives...access to the door cannot be blocked, and the door cannot require an access code or key to open the door.
7. Extension Cords
Did you know that extension cord usage is approved only as a temporary fix? Ideally, the Fire Inspector would prefer not to see any extension cords in use, but when absolutely necessary, the extension cord must be HEAVY DUTY, GROUNDED and plugged into a PERMANENT RECEPTACLE.
8. Obstructed Pathways, Stairways, Aisles, Walkways, and Emergency Egress
You can be sure to FAIL any Fire Inspection if emergency egress is blocked in any capacity. Pathways must be clear, and free of obstruction.
9. Hazardous Materials Stored Improperly or Without Permit
Be sure to have permits on hand for the Fire Inspector. Chemical, Gas and/or Solid Hazardous Materials must be stored safely.
10. Is Your Address Visible on Your Facility?
Authorities need to see the address when locating your facility in the event of an emergency. Precious minutes can be saved if the address is easily visible.
The NFPA 101 and International Fire Codes DO MANDATE Annual Fire Inspections.
Paying close attention to these suggestions will save you money and time, and provide a safe environment for employees and visitors alike.
Contact COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION and we will be happy to arrange a convenient, cost-effective and professional inspection of your facility!