Fire safety and prevention are essential no matter what type of business or organization you are running. One of the key components of fire safety is conducting fire prevention inspections at the appropriate times.
When you perform fire prevention inspections and fire safety drills at regular intervals, you reduce the likelihood of a large-scale fire, which could cause damage to property, equipment, and inventory and risk the lives of everyone inside the building.
To help you stay safe and ensure compliance with most fire safety regulations, we have provided this general outline of how to conduct fire prevention inspections.
Use this guide to conduct your own inspections and better understand what will occur if you hire fire safety professionals to inspect and audit your business or organization.
Since each industry and region has its own fire safety regulations, the first step of any fire prevention inspection is familiarizing yourself with all the relevant rules and regulations.
Understand the local, state, and national fire safety regulations for your industry and jurisdiction. Once you understand all the legal requirements for fire prevention and fire safety in your area, you can look into how often fire prevention inspections and fire safety drills need to be conducted.
The National Fire Protection Association offers a comprehensive list of NFPA Codes & Standards, a great place to start.
Once you have researched what you need to know, this information should be made available to all employees and members of your organization.
Once you have researched the relevant regulations, you must develop a fire safety inspection checklist. This list should detail all areas and items you will be inspecting.
It will need to cover all aspects of fire safety, including the exterior and interior structure of the building, all electrical systems, your fire protection systems, storage areas, emergency exits, and more.
Once satisfied with your checklist, do a fire safety plan review so you can schedule the fire inspection and notify all employees and other personnel to make necessary preparations.
After researching local regulations and developing a detailed checklist that covers everything you will be inspecting, you can conduct your fire prevention inspection.
While the exact nature of these inspections will vary depending on the type of industry, building, and where you are located, the following are the main components of any basic fire prevention inspection.
By starting at the main entrance, you ensure that you cover all areas of the building. Once you have inspected the main entrance and foyer, you will move through the building using your checklist to ensure you cover all areas. Check for all types of fire hazards, as well as any type of violation of local fire safety regulations.
Make sure that you are inspecting every piece of equipment, as well as all inventory. You must ensure that all flammable materials are kept far away from heat sources.
You need to inspect the building itself, not just its contents.
Like the other steps, the goal is to look for potential fire hazards. Exposed wiring on the interior or exterior walls is one example of a fire hazard. You also need to ensure that all fire-rated walls are not compromised, that fire doors are not blocked, and that they shut automatically.
It is essential to check all electrical systems in the building to ensure they comply with the relevant fire safety regulations.
You also need to ensure there are no overloaded circuits, exposed wires, damaged electrical panels, or systems that are not grounded properly.
These areas are often overlooked, but ensuring they are separated from heat and ignition sources is vital. You also want to ensure that the floors are clear from clutter, as this can increase the fire risk and interfere with evacuation procedures if a fire does break out.
Check All Emergency Exits
All exits should be clearly marked and free from obstructions for emergency preparedness. Ensure that these exits and the pathways leading to them are functional and easy to locate.
Far too many fires are started due to the improper disposal of waste and recycling materials, especially when these items are combustible. If these areas are overly crowded, or unsafe practices are carried out near them, like employees smoking nearby, this needs to be identified and addressed.
Not only do all smoke alarms need to be tested, but the inspection should also determine if the facility has enough fire detectors to cover the entire building interior.
Fire protection systems should also be inspected to ensure they function correctly. Fire extinguishers also need to be inspected to ensure they are in good working condition and have the correct classification for the flammable or hazardous materials in the area. It is also necessary to ensure fire extinguishers are easily reachable and identifiable.
Once the fire prevention inspection has concluded, keeping records and addressing any uncovered issues is vital. It is also essential to develop a follow-up fire safety plan and schedule routine inspections in the future.
Remember, fire safety is an ongoing commitment rather than a one-time activity. You must also continuously communicate and educate all employees on fire safety practices.
Communicate any violations or weak points that the fire prevention inspection uncovered.
Fire prevention inspections are a critical component of workplace fire safety. Remember, prevention should always be the goal when it comes to fires. While it is essential to have procedures and equipment to react to a fire, it is much better never to have to use them.
Mitigate fire hazards and protect your property and employees from harm! To learn more about fire safety, we recommend reading Do You Need a Fire Prevention Officer for Your Building?
Speaking of fire safety equipment, it is essential to note that fire sprinkler systems are one of the most effective ways to protect your business or organization from a fire.
Unfortunately, these crucial pieces of fire safety equipment can result in water damage if they misfire or are allowed to run after a fire has been successfully extinguished.
Typically, you would have to wait for the fire department to arrive to shut off your fire protection system. During this wait, the fire sprinkler system could release up to 60 gallons of water per minute, which can cause significant water damage to the building and the equipment and inventory within it.
This is where the Shutgun can come in handy! This user-friendly, affordable tool can shut off a fire sprinkler system head in less than a minute. To learn more about the Shutgun and to order your own, click the link below: