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How to Prepare for a Fire Inspection Part One

This is a guest post by Mike Massa. If you would like to Guest Post, check out the Guidelines here.

Easy Ways to Prepare for Fire Code Inspections

If the fire marshal dropped by your building today, what would they say? Fire code inspections can happen at any time, so it’s crucial that you keep your building safe no matter what. But sometimes, “up to code” can be tricky – who really knows what all the fire code requirements are?

How to Prepare for Fire Code Inspections: Outside

The most important thing to do when preparing for fire code inspections is making sure your building is easily accessible to the fire department. To be ready for fire safety inspections, you should make sure that:
Your building’s street address is clearly visible on the front of your building and can be easily seen from the road.

    If you have a fire alarm monitoring system, you have a key vault that will give firefighters access your building if the alarm goes off during non business hours.
    Any fire hydrants you have on your property are easily visible and have at least three feet of clearance space on all sides.
    The fire lanes in front of your building kept clear of any and all obstructions, including cars, shipping materials, etc.

How to Prepare for Fire Code Inspections: Inside

If your building is easily accessible to firefighters, head inside and make sure the interior of your building is prepared for fire code inspections. To do this, make sure that:

    Emergency doors are easy to open, and if they are locked (which they really shouldn’t be), they require no special knowledge, keys or tools to open.
    All aisles, walkways, stairways and paths leading to exits are clear of any obstructions.
    Emergency lights and exit signs work in both normal and emergency conditions.
    Fire extinguishers are charged and easily accessible.

How to Prepare for Fire Code Inspections: Electrical Equipment

Since faulty electrical equipment is one of the most common causes of fires in buildings, it’s important that you take special care to make sure your equipment is safe.

    Keep all power outlets, junction boxes and circuit breaker panels covered.
    Cover any openings in circuit breaker boxes with a plug to contain sparks or arcs that can ignite nearby combustibles and prevent people from touching live electrical wires.
    Electrical extension cords should never be used as a substitute for permanent wiring. If you need an outlet where you don’t have one, either install an outlet or move whatever you’re trying to plug in closer to the existing outlet.
    Never, ever, staple or otherwise attach any power cord to furniture or a wall.

How to Prepare for Fire Code Inspections: Sprinklers, Standpipes and Fire Alarms

    Have your fire sprinkler or standpipe professionally inspected at least once a year. Make sure the inspector provides you with written documentation of the service and testing provided. Note: as a building owner, it is your responsibility to contact your fire protection services provider to schedule inspections!
    Keep up with regular maintenance on your Fire Department Connections (FDCs). FDCs should be routinely checked to make sure the caps are in place and the couplings swivel easily. In addition, keep the area around the FDC clear of obstructions at all times.
    Have your fire alarms must be annually tested and maintained.
    Keep documentation of fire protection system inspections available on site at all times for review by your county fire inspector.

Author: Mike Massa of Confires Fire Protection a Fire Protection Service Company in New Jersey.

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