Helping Businesses Manage Risk

Inspection: It's Worth Your Time

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It has been said that the safest fire is one that never happens. Inspections cover a wide variety of occupancies. They can vary from a store front downtown to a manufacturing facility. It also includes extremely hazardous sites (known as EHS sites) within the city.

The focus of an inspection is to identify and correct problems that may lead to a fire, delay notification of a fire, and to remove any obstacles that may impede or block egress from a building. Examples of these may include combustibles stored near the furnace or water heater, an alarm system or sprinkler system that has not been maintained or storage in an exit way.

Fire Safety for Businesses

  1. Ensure your address is clearly posted on your building, and is visible from the street.
  2. Keep storage at least 30 inches from electrical panels.
  3. Do not tape electrical breaker switches in the open (on) position.
  4. Check your emergency lighting once a month. This can be done by turning off the breaker(s) to your overhead lighting. Always call a licensed electrician to perform this task if you’re unsure how too. Also check to ensure the light bulbs in your exit signs are working. The bulbs need to work with both normal power and when power is lost.
  5. Make sure your fire protection systems (fire alarms, sprinklers, and fire extinguisher) are serviced by a on an annual basis.
  6. Always keep exits unblocked and accessible.
  7. Never have more than ONE approved locking device on an exit door.
  8. Provide a minimum 2A-10BC rated fire extinguisher, mounted and accessible, within 75 feet of all points in the building. Stairs, ramps, and elevators cannot be used in the travel distance. Each level needs separate extinguishers.
  9. Never use extension cords for permanent wiring. If you need power to an area call a licensed electrician to install a new outlet(s). Listed surge protectors are allowed.
  10. Keep “combustible” storage and other items at least 24 inches from the ceiling in non-sprinklered buildings, and 18 inches below the sprinkler heads in sprinklered buildings.

Common Fire Code Violations

1.  Address must be clearly visible from the street, 5” to 6” numbers, contrasting color to the building.

2.  Exit lights must be installed over all exit doors, hard wired with battery back up, must be fully operational during all business hours.

Most common problem is burned out light bulbs.

3.  Emergency lighting must be hard wired, with battery back up, must be illuminate all exits access ways.

Most common problem is burned out light bulbs or discharged battery.

4.  Fire extinguishers must be mounted in clear view and easily accessible, must be serviced and tagged annually.

Most common problem is service tag out of date or in discharged condition.

5.  Electrical service panels and heat producing appliances must have 36” clearance to storage of any kind.

6.  General housekeeping must be neat and orderly, storage and rubbish must be removed from aisle ways and exit access ways.

7.  Dumpsters must be minimum of 15’ from the building.

8.  Compressed gas cylinders must be chained in place to prevent tipping.

Most chains are in place but not used.

9.  Extension cords are not to be used as permanent wiring, sufficient duplex outlets must be provided for all electrical appliances.

10.  All electrical junction boxes must have proper covers in place.

11.  Commercial kitchen suppression systems must be serviced semi annually.

12.  Commercial kitchen appliances plus hood and duct system must be cleaned regularly and maintained free of grease accumulation.

13.  Penetrations in walls and ceiling must Be repaired.
Most common problem is missing ceiling tiles.