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Surprising Issues That Might Interfere With Fire Safety Compliance in Your Building

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Most commercial buildings will go through a regular fire safety inspection to ensure that the location is safe and compliant with local fire codes. You may already be aware of many things that a fire inspector will check during this visit, such as whether or not sprinkler systems and alarms are operational and if fire exit doors are clear and unobstructed. However, note a few items on their checklist that might surprise you and which you may want to check out before your scheduled inspection to ensure your building is compliant and so you can avoid any fines and the need for a second inspection.

Placement of combustible items

Combustible items like cardboard boxes and other papers, as well as flammable liquids, usually need to be placed in fireproof containers and away from sources of heat and flames. However, they may also need to be placed in close proximity to sprinklers, and even a certain distance under sprinklers. This would allow sprinklers to have the widest spray of water if a fire should start with these materials. If you keep any combustibles or flammable items on shelving units, check your local regulations to see if you need to put them on a lower shelf and if you might need to move them away from heating vents.

Access to building and water supplies

When considering fire safety, you may be thinking of how personnel can quickly exit the building, but you need to also consider how emergency personnel can access the building. A fire inspection might note if the address of the building is clearly visible from the street, if a fire lane is blocked and not clearly marked, and if there is anything blocking a fire hydrant or other water source on your property.

Electrical circuit panel

If a fire should ever break out, it's best to quickly shut off all the circuits so that the flow of electricity is stopped, in case any wiring gets damaged in the fire; as a result, the circuit breakers of your building should all be properly labelled, and the box should be accessible. Fire fighters also typically shut off the circuits when responding to an alarm to reduce the risk of electricity being conducted by any water they use to extinguish a blaze. Check your building's circuit box and note if it's accessible, if the panel is easy to open, if the switches are in good condition and if everything is clearly and legibly marked.


16 May 2017