As a business owner, it is important to be aware of the fire codes and standards and make sure your business is fully compliant with them. This includes regular fire inspections by your local fire marshal, often unannounced. The best way to ensure that you are prepared for these inspections is to have a fire inspection checklist handy.
This article will talk about the importance of using a fire inspection checklist to make sure you won’t get caught off-guard when a fire marshal enters your building. We will also discuss the importance of complying with the fire code and what can happen if you are not.
What is a Fire Inspection Checklist?
A fire inspection checklist is a document that lists all of the items that your business needs to be in compliance with the fire code. This includes having the correct type and amount of fire extinguishers on site, proper signage, and evacuation plans. A fire inspection checklist helps ensure that you do not miss any important steps in meeting fire code requirements. It can also protect your business from costly fines or temporary operational shutdowns.
Why is it Important to be Compliant with the Fire Code?
The fire code is in place for a reason – to keep people safe. Businesses that are not in compliance with the fire code can face costly fines and, in some cases, may even have their business shut down temporarily or permanently. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your business follows and complies with these fire requirements.
What to Check Before Fire an Actual Fire Inspection
Before a fire marshal conducts a proper inspection, it’s important to do a fire inspection of your own to make sure your establishment is up to code. This section will show you what you need to check before an actual fire inspection. You can create a fire inspection checklist that you can then use to conduct inspections before a fire inspection.
Checklist Item #1: Clear Paths of Egress
The first thing the fire marshal checks upon arriving at your establishment is the fire exits that you may have. They will determine whether or not these are obstructed or blocked in any way. Having multiple fire exits will increase the chances that everyone inside your establishment can escape safely in the event of a fire.
If your customers or staff cannot reach these exits or gain access to them easily, these paths of egress will be of little value. Specifically, the fire marshal will check if you have:
- At least a 36-inch-wide path that will lead to an exit door.
- Easy-to-open exit doors.
- The fire doors can be closed easily and are not obstructed.
Checklist Item #2: Emergency Exit Lights
Apart from having egress paths, it is also important to have emergency exit lights. These are the lights that will come on in the event of a fire and will help lead people to the exits.
The fire marshal will check to ensure that these lights are working properly and placed in appropriate locations. They will also check if all exit signs have backup batteries. That way, they will illuminate clearly in the event of a fire.
Most exit signs also have emergency lights to increase the possibility of available light and making exits more visible. The fire marshal will also check if all bulbs are working and not malfunctioning.
Checklist Item #3: Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are an important part of fire safety, and the fire marshal will check to make sure that you have the correct type and amount of fire extinguishers on site. They will also check to see that the fire extinguishers are properly placed and in working order.
The fire marshal will verify that the fire extinguishers you are using are in compliance with the fire code. Specifically, they will check the following:
- The establishment has the minimum required number of fire extinguishers in key areas.
- Every fire extinguisher is within 75 feet of distance from key places in the facility or office (note that these requirements will tend to change depending on the environment).
- The establishment is using the correct type of extinguishers.
- Check if the fire extinguishers are of the correct size rating: at least 2A-10BC (standard).
- Check if the fire extinguishers have been maintained within the past 12 months.
- All fire extinguishers should be accessible (securely mounted on a wall or encased in an approved cabinet).
- The fire extinguishers should be located in an open space, away from obstruction.
- The fire extinguisher (40 lbs. or lighter) shouldn’t be more than five feet from the floor. For extinguishers that are 40 lbs. or more, the top of the unit should be no more than 3.5 feet from the floor.
Checklist Item #4: Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors are another important part of fire safety. The fire marshal will check to make sure that you have them installed in appropriate locations throughout your establishment. They will also check to see if the smoke detectors are in working order.
The fire marshal will verify that the smoke detectors you are using are in compliance with the fire code. Specifically, they will check the following:
- Your establishment has a working smoke detector installed in every important area.
- There is a smoke detector on every level of the establishment, including basements and attics.
- Test the smoke detectors to see if they are operational.
- There is a smoke detector in every hallway leading to an exit.
- Any obstacles do not block the smoke detectors.
Checklist Item #5: Fire Sprinklers and Water Supply
If your business has fire sprinklers, the fire marshal will check to ensure they are in proper working order. They will also verify that your establishment is compliant with the fire sprinkler system requirements.
In addition, the fire marshal will also inspect the fire sprinkler system’s water supply. They will make sure that the water supply is adequate and that there are no leaks in the system.
Checklist Item #6: Proper Storage for Combustible Liquids
Combustible liquids and materials represent a hazard that must be treated accordingly as they pose a significant fire risk to your establishment. If your business stores combustible liquids, the fire marshal will check to ensure that they are stored according to the fire code.
The fire marshal will also verify that the storage area is fireproof. In addition, they will also see if there is adequate ventilation where the combustible liquids are stored.
Checklist Item #7: Maximum Occupancy Limitations
There’s a reason why your building has a maximum occupancy limit in place. In the event of a fire, the number indicated in the limit is also the number of people who could evacuate the place safely in a timely fashion.
The fire marshal will check to make sure that your establishment is in compliance with the fire code when it comes to maximum occupancy limitations. If they find out that you exceed the maximum allowable occupancy threshold, you will receive a citation and a hefty fine.
Checklist #8: Use of Extension Cords
The fire code states that you’re not allowed to plug too many items into a single socket. That means using multiple power strips in the same location is prohibited.
Overloading electrical sockets is a clear fire code violation as it can potentially lead to a fire. Once proven, you will be issued a citation ticket once the fire marshal determines that you’re plugging two or more extension cords together.
Checklist #9: Electrical Panels
Last but not least is the electrical panels. The fire marshal will check if they are located in a designated fire-resistant area and whether they are properly labeled.
They will also check to see if the electrical panels are in proper working order. If your panel is outdated or damaged, you will also receive a citation ticket.
Create a Fire Inspection Checklist Using DataMyte Digital Clipboard
Now that you know what items to put on your fire inspection checklist, it’s time to create one for your business. The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a workflow automation software that can help convert your plans into actionable tasks.
With the DataMyte Digital Clipboard, you can create a fire inspection checklist specific to your business. The software features an intuitive checklist builder that will create a checklist to help you keep track of all the items that need inspection before an actual fire marshal inspection.
You can also include due dates in your checklist to remind you when tasks are due. In addition, the DataMyte Digital Clipboard can help you generate reports on fire safety compliance so that you can have a record of your fire inspection history. In addition, you can also take the necessary action according to the findings of your inspectors.
Please visit our website or contact us today to learn more about how the DataMyte Digital Clipboard can help you create a fire inspection checklist for your business. We would be happy to answer any of your questions.
Creating a fire inspection checklist can seem daunting, but it’s important to be prepared for inspections by your local fire marshal. By having a checklist handy, you can ensure that your business fully complies with the fire code. It also guarantees that your establishment will be ready whenever a fire marshal walks through the door.