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    Building Fire Safety Inspections: Help Your Customers Identify Violations

    By Mark Conroy


    Code compliance starts with a thorough fire safety inspection and correcting violations, but many building owners don’t know the codes. Offer to check things while you are on regular service calls for extinguishers. To help you identify opportunities, start with these basic questions.

    • Are exit doors clearly marked, lighted, and free from obstructions?
    • Do the exit doors close and latch completely?
    • Are the directions to exits marked with visible signs?
    • Are exit signs provided for every exit door?
    • Are emergency exit signs properly illuminated?
    • Do the emergency lighting systems function properly if the power shuts off?
    • Are fire extinguishers provided in adequate numbers and types?
    • If there are flammable liquids, are the portable extinguishers appropriate for the hazard?
    • Are the flammable liquids stored in approved safety containers?
    • Are flammable liquid storage cabinets provided where required?
    • Are extinguishers mounted correctly, readily accessible, and mounted at the correct heights?
    • Are the locations of fire extinguishers properly marked?
    • Are extinguisher cabinets code compliant?
    • If required, are extinguisher cabinets equipped with approved glass panels and breaker bars?
    • If there is a fire sprinkler system, has it been tested in the last year?
    • Do all of the sprinklers have the appropriate clearance from obstructions?
    • Are the sprinklers provided with the proper guards or escutcheons?
    • Are sprinkler system standpipe valves and fire department connections marked appropriately?
    • If there is a fire alarm system, has it been tested in the last year?
    • Are fire detection systems (heat or smoke) periodically tested according to code?
    • Are detectors in proper working order and free from obstructions?
    • If there are hose systems, are they marked correctly?
    • If there are hose systems, are they being serviced according to code?
    • In commercial cooking areas, is the kitchen system serviced periodically according to code?
    • Has the kitchen exhaust hood and duct been cleaned according to code?

    Also remember, NFPA 10 mandates extinguisher inspections once per calendar month and intervals not exceeding 31 days. If the property manager doesn’t have the expertise or confidence to do it, offer your services. Have an inspection tag handy to explain how it’s used by fire inspectors for enforcement. Remember, this could result in another service call that will generate revenue.

    All of these questions may not be relevant to every property, but reviewing the list prior to each service call will give you ideas to generate new business. Building fire safety inspections will help identify issues before a fire emergency occurs so that injuries, life loss, and property damage can be prevented. Another advantage is to keep ahead of fire inspectors that can levy fines or shut businesses down for code issues. Also noncompliant code issues that are not corrected can result in insurance claims being denied. Your customers rely on you for the best advice and insights. It not only helps them maintain business continuity and code compliance, but it will result in increased revenues for your company.


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