How To Comply With Your Annual Fire Safety Inspection
Every 24 seconds, there’s a fire that requires the fire department’s attention in the United States alone! Now that’s a sobering number. This emphasizes the need for strict Fire Prevention and Safety measures, which are being embraced by many countries around the world. As they say, the safest way to deal with fire is to prevent it. This blog will talk about some of the measures taken towards fire and safety by providing a complete checklist for Fire Safety Inspection. We will also detail the tools that are making fire inspections easy and hassle-free while ensuring that all compliances are met.
The Importance of Regular Fire Inspections
Before we get on to the checklist, let’s take a few moments to understand why regular fire inspections are absolutely necessary. A report by The National Fire Protection Association said that there were 1,319,500 fires reported by fire departments in 2017. These fires resulted in an estimated 3,400 civilian deaths! All in one year.
The gravity of the situation isn’t lost on authorities as they tirelessly work towards fire prevention. Countries all over the world have safety measures in place to ensure that fire prevention becomes an indelible part of their citizen’s life. The Factory Inspection Legislation established as far back as 1875 in Massachusetts, is an example of the early efforts to ensure fire safety as well as other measures in the working environment. Section 19 of the Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act 2005 in Ireland stipulates that “every employer shall identify hazards, assess risks and have a written risk assessment, including any unusual or other risks.” The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) publishes more than 300 consensus codes and standards in connection with fire safety and other risks. In order to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy in many countries, residential and commercial buildings are required to comply with regular fire inspections.
All these measures worldwide underscore the need to carry out fire safety risk assessments and comply with the codes set by governments with regard to fire safety. Fire Inspection checklists, form an integral part of this compliance process.
Related Reading: Check out how ReachOut suite can enable effective fire prevention.
Complete Checklist For Fire Inspection
A fire code violation could lead to serious penalties and fines, including an arrest and prosecution. This makes it important to ensure that you dot all your I’s and cross your T’s on fire inspection compliances. What better way to do that than follow a checklist. We have grouped the items under these three requirements to make it easy.
Checklist Item #1: Fire Safety Equipment
Fire prevention and safety equipment are a vital factor in fire inspections. Fire extinguishers, fire alarms, smoke detectors, fire sprinkler systems all play a vital role in fire prevention. It is important therefore to ensure that all equipment is in working order and in compliance with fire safety codes.
- The stipulated number of extinguishers are present (within 75 feet distance from any place in your facility).
- The size, rating, and type of fire extinguishers match the requirement for your kind of business. (At least a 2A-10BC size rating).
- The extinguishers, fire alarm panels, and fire sprinklers have been serviced and inspected within the previous 12 months.
- All extinguishers are mounted on the wall in keeping with the specified fire safety recommendations (the top of the unit must be no higher than 3.5 feet if extinguishers are greater than 40 pounds and 5 feet if lighter.)
- There are no warning lights on your fire alarm panel.
- There is adequate clearance around fire sprinkler deflectors (at least 18 inches, according to the NFPA).
- There are no signs of leakage, physical damage or corrosion on any of the equipment.
- The valves, hose connections, and water pressure are adequate to the requirements of the fire code.
Checklist Item #2: Fire, Exit Routes
This section ensures that there are no obstructions to people exiting the building in case of a fire emergency. This includes pathways, exits, aisles, and walkways.
- At least two stipulated fire exits are present.
- All exit doors are unlocked at all times of occupancy.
- Aisles that lead to and away from fire exits are unobstructed.
- The pathway that leads to exit doors is wide enough (at least 36 inches wide.)
- Fire exits are provided with panic hardware.
- All doors to fire exits can be easily opened in case of emergency.
- Easy access to fire protection equipment like fire extinguishers and fire alarm control panel.
- The paths to the exits are well lit and clearly marked.
- The exit signs have backup batteries (to allow for a minimum of 90 minutes power backup) in case the lights go off during a fire emergency.
Checklist Item #3: Good Practices for Fire Safety
This section ensures that adequate measures towards fire prevention in the facility. The Industrial sector reported a total property, loss of $152,047,338 in the period between 2013 and 2017 in the United States. A small slip up in compliance could have major repercussions on life and property in the workplace and home. Strictly adhering to compliance standards in the following areas can go a long way in ensuring fire prevention.
- All combustible materials are stored in fireproof cabinets.
- The number of people in your premises doesn’t exceed the maximum occupancy limits at any time (NFPA 101 6.1 gives more information on the specific requirements for different types of structures.)
- Electrical sockets are not overloaded and there are no improper multi-plug adapters used.
- All electrical panels are easily accessible and there are no obstructions to their use.
- All potentially flammable materials are kept away from electrical panels. (Usually, a 3 feet clearance is required.)
How A Field Service Software Can Help Simplify Fire Inspection
Field Service Software helps you keep on top of your fire safety requirements and pass your fire inspections successfully. Here are a few ways in which this is accomplished:
- Automation of fire inspection activities can help you maintain a regular practice of fire safety and incorporate it into your daily/weekly routine.
- Maintenance of fire safety equipment by helping you keep tabs on fire safety equipment service schedules, so your equipment is serviced with updated service tags before inspections come around.
- Eliminate paper-heavy processes by using barcodes, RFID tags, and digital forms and checklists to achieve time and cost efficiencies.
- Access to pre-defined electronic checklists with a complete reference to all fire safety guidelines and standards. The “one-click” feature helps ensure all compliances are checked with a single click for each item.
- Intelligent Reporting through photo uploads and dynamic checklists, helping you provide periodic management summaries of inspections quickly and efficiently.
- Organized records by electronically storing data and reports with quick retrieval features that can help you pull out any information required by fire marshals for inspection.
This is just scratching the surface when it comes to what a good field service software can accomplish in fire safety. Have a look at what Reachout Suite’s Fire Safety Management System can do for you and get in touch with us.
ReachOut: Inspection & Work Order Management Software
Do you still use paper or Excel spreadsheets to manage your service business? ReachOut is a web and mobile solution for companies to schedule, dispatch and deliver inspections, work orders, ticketing and more.