What is a fire inspector checklist?
A fire inspector checklist is a helpful tool for business owners, property managers, and safety officers. This checklist helps ensure that your business is compliant with fire safety requirements. Besides improving your chances of passing fire inspection, a fire marshal inspection checklist also prevents and mitigates fire incidents on your property.
Fire marshals perform an inspection at least once every year to identify fire safety risks. The fire inspector checklist is the list of the items to evaluate in your building. Following the requirements for a fire extinguisher check is one vital part of fire safety.
It is your responsibility as the safety officer to ensure your property follows fire safety protocols. Failing the fire safety inspection could result in penalties, or worse, closure of your business.
This article covers the following topics:
Why Do You Need a Fire Inspector Checklist?
A fire can cause widespread loss and damage to structures, properties, and human lives. Worldwide, fire, heat, and hot substances caused 8,991,468 injuries in 2017. About 120,632 of these injuries resulted in death. In the U.S. alone, property damage from structure fires amounted to $12.3 billion in 2019, which is $11.4 billion more than in 2018.
With a fire marshal inspection checklist, business owners can be proactive in preventing fires in their properties. With this tool, you can guarantee the implementation of fire safety practices.
Whether you are a small business or operating a large-scale manufacturing facility, your building must go through regular fire inspections. Failing to comply with local fire codes puts you at risk of serious legal consequences and safety issues.
The most common repercussions stemming from failing a fire marshal inspection include:
Issuance of notice to comply
If this happens, you must answer promptly. Check the inspection report and correct the violations stated. Often, a re-inspection occurs after a month. But for critical issues, the fire marshal might give you a day.
The notice of compliance will also include instructions for appealing the report or requesting time extensions.
Sometimes, however, fire inspectors will deal with minor issues informally. They will likely give you advice and help to ensure that you comply with fire safety laws.
Denial of Insurance Claim
When you fail a fire inspection, your insurance provider can dispute or deny your insurance claims. Expect some legal complications should one of your employees get injured or killed due to a faulty fire protection system.
Adhering to a fire marshal inspection checklist ensures that you’re fulfilling fire safety protocols. The advantages of an excellent fire protection system far outweigh the minimal downtime required for inspections. About 40 percent of businesses end up in permanent closure after a fire or other disasters.
How Do You Prepare for a Fire Safety Inspection?
Now you know why passing a fire inspection is crucial to business continuity and safety. Your next step must be to prepare for a fire safety inspection. To do this, you need to get a copy of a fire marshal inspection checklist.
Give extra attention to the following fire hazards. These are the common causes of a failed fire safety inspection:
1. Lack of Fire Suppression System
All buildings require fire suppression systems to pass fire inspections. These are multi-component, multi-layered systems that help contain the fire. A sprinkler system, smoke baffles, and smoke curtains are just a few examples.
2. Failure to Maintain Your Fire Systems
Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and sprinklers are crucial components of a fire system. These should be in working condition.
Make sure that you keep the necessary documents related to fire system maintenance. The fire inspector will likely ask for these during the visit.
3. Insufficient Safety Signage
Safety signage and markings help build occupants and firefighters know where to go and what to do in case of a fire. Check with your local fire department about this requirement. Specifications often differ from one municipality to another.
Your building should have ceiling fixtures that properly illuminate emergency exit signs. Ensure easy access to fire extinguishers and fire protection equipment. And don’t forget to install signage that indicates the location of your electrical control panels and fire protection rooms.
4. Blocked Emergency Egress
Make sure nothing blocks your emergency exits, hallways, stairwells, and doorways. Remember that exit doors must lock only from outside. Your fire escapes must be in working condition. Clear away any blockages.
Heavy doors or doors that are difficult to operate might become the reason you fail the fire inspection. Accessibility is crucial in areas where people may gather during an emergency. People should be able to exit your building quickly and safely.
5. Deteriorating Electrical Components
Make sure that you’ve checked electrical hazards off your fire inspector checklist. Inspect your electrical outlets, switches, breakers, and circuit boards. The cover plates must be in place. Hire a certified electrician to inspect your building and perform maintenance repairs before the fire marshal arrives.
Lack of electrical outlets could also become an issue. Never attach one extension cord to another. Extension wires are not a permanent solution.
A fire marshal might show up unannounced and witness this offense. Improper use of extension cords can make you fail your annual fire inspection.
6. Improper Storage and Waste Disposal
Keep hallways and stairways free. Don’t use these areas for storing janitorial carts.
The same is true about riser rooms. Never treat them like a storage closet for mops, brooms, and other items. It might seem trivial to you but storing stuff in the riser room is a common mistake that leads to costly fire code violations.
If your business entails handling hazardous materials, ensure that you have the proper storage. Keep a copy of the required permits ready during fire inspections.
7. Failure to Keep Surrounding Area Clean
Keep vegetation at least 30 feet away from your property. Remove debris, dead plants, and trees right away to protect your building.
A fire inspector checklist would also indicate that weeds and other ground covers must not go higher than six inches. If you must have trees in an area at risk for wildfires, consider Brazilian and California pepper.
A digital tool for more reliable fire inspections
Fire inspections must be conducted at least once a year to ensure that facilities are complying with applicable codes and standards, that fire risks and hazards are properly assessed, and so that firefighters are aware of any fire hazards that are discovered. Regularly conducting an internal fire safety inspection helps companies proactively ensure their facilities are safe and that they are in compliance with fire safety regulations. With Lumiform, a powerful and mobile app for inspections and audits, property managers and janitors are taking advantage of these opportunities for better and more reliable fire inspections:
- Automate the assignment of regular internal safety inspections. When deadlines are not met, they are notified.
- Turn fire authority regulations into intelligent, digital checklists thanks to the flexible form builder and always keep them up to date.
- Take photos of safety issues and annotate them to enhance the context of the fire inspection.
- Automatically generate reports and share them immediately with key decision makers. Corrective actions can be assigned immediately from the app.
- All reports and datas on previous fire inspections are stored centrally and securely in the cloud.
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