The purpose of fire alarm and sprinkler system inspections in offices, commercial businesses, and apartment buildings is to make certain that existing and newly installed fire protection systems (including fire alarms and sprinkler systems) meet current federal, state, and local fire code requirements and regulations. Fire inspections of buildings also help identify other potential fire and safety hazards.
The frequency and level of fire alarm inspections vary depending on the type of occupancy and the code requirements of individual states and local jurisdictions. However, if you own a small business or apartment building, the inspection process can go more smoothly if you know what to expect and what steps you can take to help ensure a positive outcome.
Fire safety inspections help:
Make certain a building complies with current local and state code standards and requirements
Guarantee a safer environment for individuals living, working, or visiting inside the building
Reduce a building owner's hazard insurance premiums by reducing the risk of fire
Although the job of a fire inspector is to assess potential risks, you are responsible for doing your part to keep the occupants of the building safe from harm.
Before the fire inspector visits, check to see that:
All exit doors in the building are accessible
Fire doors in stairways and corridors have been properly installed and meet minimum construction requirements
There is nothing blocking exits or fire doors
No combustible materials are stored near exits
Any single-station smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, exit signs, and emergency lighting are properly maintained and in working order
All combustible materials and flammable liquids are stored in approved containers away from heat or flame-producing equipment or appliances
The building's address is clearly visible from the street so emergency responders can get there quicker
Entry to the building is not restricted, so that firefighters have immediate access (example: lock box with building keys inside mounted on the outside of the building)
Fire hydrants on the property are not blocked by vegetation, fences, or other structures
There is clear access to the building's main electrical panel, and all circuits in the panel are correctly labeled
By identifying and correcting potential fire hazards present in the building before the fire inspector arrives, you can keep the building's occupants safe and perhaps avoid being issued costly fines. Even after the inspector arrives, there are things you can do to show that you are concerned about keeping your building safe and up to code.
At the time of the fire inspection:
Be available to accompany the fire inspector on his or her walk-through inspection of the building
Provide the fire inspector with copies of previous fire system or equipment inspection and maintenance reports
Point out issues noted on prior reports that you've since corrected
Ask questions about any issues you do not fully understand
Get the time frame for any corrections you need to make to comply with updated codes, standards, or local safety ordinances
Schedule followup inspection dates if there are compliance issues you must meet
6 June 2015
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