Fire safety is an ongoing effort. It’s not enough to simply have preventive measures in place. It is necessary to continuously check and maintain your equipment so you can count on a prompt and effective response in the event of a fire. When you are in the midst of an emergency the last thing you want to be worrying about is why your fire safety equipment is malfunctioning.
Today’s blog is meant to help you prepare for your upcoming inspection and share tips on how best to maintain fire safety in your facility between inspections to help avoid violations and fines.
What is a fire safety inspection?
At Brenneco, we can help you install fire safety systems, as well as help maintain and update your current fire safety systems through our repair and inspection services. Official fire marshal inspections vary in frequency depending on your location and the system you’re using for your business building, but we can help make sure you are ready and up to code.
The best way to prepare for an inspection is to be in the habit of performing monthly self-checks to make sure everything is functioning properly throughout your facility. Fire codes vary state to state and even city to city, so it’s important to stay educated on what the expectations are for your building’s location. However, fire codes essentially are in place to best protect your personnel, customers and building from fire damage, so some general preparation and accountability can go a long way in preparing for your fire safety inspection.
Things to Consider
The best question to ask as you walk around your business before an upcoming inspection is to ask yourself, “If a fire was going to occur today, right now- would everyone be able to evacuate safely?”
Inspections are not meant to be dreaded or inconvenient. The fire safety inspector is simply evaluating your facility in order to minimize the risk of fires and maximize the safety of your personnel. The safety and protection of your employees and business is the number one priority behind inspections.
The following are things to consider outside your building.
- Accessibility: How accessible is your building to the fire department? You’ll want to make sure your location is easily searchable and easy to find with a business sign and your address exhibited clearly.
- Clearance: Are appropriate areas kept clear? If you’re building has fire lanes, make sure you are monitoring them and keeping them clear. The same idea exists for fire hydrants located in the near vicinity of your building. You’ll want to ensure the fire department has the clearance they need to access those hydrants quickly.
- After hours precautions: Have you registered your business with the local fire department? In the event of a fire after hours they’ll need to know who to contact in case of an emergency. If you utilize a fire alarm system, your business may have a key vault available to emergency fire personnel during non-business hours.
While the main focus outside your building is to make it easy to get inside the building, the reverse is true for the interior. You’ll want to make it as easy as possible to get outside the building.
The following are things to consider inside your building.
- Pathways leading to exits: Do you employees and visitors have a clear path to follow to exit your building in case of an emergency? This includes exit doors that are easily opened (usual rule of thumb is one hand accessibility). You’ll also want to ensure the paths leading to exits are clear of debris- this includes hallways, stairways and doorways- that could pose as potential blockades or tripping hazards that prevent people from leaving the building quickly and safely.
- Emergency Lighting: Are your emergency lights and signs working properly in normal AND emergency lighting? Signage is an effective way to guide people safely outside and even more imperative in a fire due to smoke blocking visibility and making it hard to see and get your bearings.
- Fire Extinguishers: Fire extinguishers should be easily accessible every 75 feet throughout your building. It’s important to have them serviced annually to make sure they are still full and functional. It’s also important to make sure your employees are properly educated and can use a fire extinguisher in an emergency.
- Electrical equipment: Electrical fires are common so be on the lookout for inappropriate use of electrical equipment. Make sure your outlets, junction boxes and circuit breaker panels are covered. Extension cords should not be used as a permanent solution for wiring and be put away when not in use.
- Office decorations: Are decorations and other wall art flame retardant? It’s a good rule of thumb to have combustible materials (plastics, paper, cardboard, fabric, etc.) only covering about 20% of the wall space.
- Hazardous materials: Are they properly stored? You’ll want to make sure these flammable materials are properly stored, labelled and accounted for.
Fire safety is our first priority. If you have any questions about an upcoming inspection or need to schedule an inspection, don’t hesitate in getting in contact with us. Brenneco is here to answer your fire safety questions.
Brenneco Fire Protection provides fire inspection and protection services throughout Central Indiana including the Greater Lafayette and Indianapolis areas. We partner with many different industries to ensure your fire safety through installation and inspection of various emergency systems.
We make it our top priority to answer your call for assistance and show up on time when you need us. Our expertise helps you eliminate downtime and keeps you employees and facilities protected.