Local fire marshals visit commercial establishments on a regular basis to check for fire safety. With these fire inspections, you can ensure that your property stays up to code and is safe for you, your business, and your tenants in case of a fire.
Some might not like the idea of surprise fire inspections. Perhaps, they don’t like it because they are not keeping their property up to code. Don’t resent these inspections as they will always turn out for your own good.
Failing to meet fire standards will always result in a few consequences, including temporary closure. Make sure you meet these standards — and ensure the safety of your property, family and business — by doing the following:
Avoid fire hazards
Prevention goes a long way. Make sure to store flammable items and materials in fireproof cabinets. Combustible liquids, on the other hand, should be kept in recommended containers to prevent leaks and spills.
Unless stored properly, these materials and liquids will pose as fire hazards contributing fuel to fires. It is important to keep them in fireproof storage options located in cool, dry places.
Install and properly maintain fire alarms
Fire alarms will always benefit you and everyone in your property. They will alert you of fires and will tell you to escape to safety.
Make sure your property has working fire alarm systems. Also make sure to have these properly maintained by qualified personnel. Fire marshals will inspect these and look for outdated tags that indicate a lack of maintenance.
Fire suppression systems
Fire sprinklers are good fire suppression systems. If your building has one installed, make sure that they are annually inspected and maintained by qualified personnel. Fire marshals will check if these are maintained.
Also, be careful to provide enough clearance around your sprinkler deflectors. These deflectors will need to have at least 18 inches of clearance to effectively spread water in the event of a fire. These will be inspected as well.
Aside from making sure to provide adequate clearance to deflectors and having the whole sprinkler system maintained, you’ll need to ensure that your fire sprinkler has a working water supply system.
Fire marshals will also check important components needed to deliver water to your sprinkler. These components include valves, fire department connections, hose connections, and others. Make sure to keep them in good working condition.
Fire extinguishers are crucial to every commercial building. These items are easy to pick up and are very useful in containing and extinguishing small fires, preventing them from spreading and growing.
Fire marshals will check to see if your building has enough fire extinguishers for its size, if they are the correct type and size, if they are mounted properly and can be easily accessed, and if they have been serviced within the past 12 months.
Every property, whether commercial or residential, needs to have paths of egress used for emergencies like fires. Make sure to have an emergency escape path in the event of a fire.
These paths of egress must be accessible and without obstruction. They must be at least 36 inches wide and leading straight to an exit door.
Exit paths must be visible and clearly marked. Exit signs are mandatory, and should have backup batteries to power them up for at least one hour and a half should power outages occur.
If your building has a garage, make sure to see if the garage door is in tiptop shape. Otherwise, consider a garage door replacement.
Fire marshals will check your electrical panel and sockets, and will also check your use of extension cords.
Remove anything that may render your electrical panel inaccessible. Leave at least three feet of clearance in front of your panel for service and repairs.
Next, keep combustible items such as paper or cardboard boxes away from your electrical panel. Live current flows through your panel, and might cause fires if a flammable material is nearby.
Fire marshals will check if your electric sockets are overloaded. For your own safety, avoid overloading these sockets by plugging in too many items. Also, do not connect two or more extension cords to extend the reach of power in your property.
Get professional help
Aside from following these steps, you may also ask professionals to inspect your property. This will help in case you miss a few details, ensuring that your property meets fire codes and is thereby safe for you and everyone in it.