If you have owned or operated a commercial building for any length of time, you will be well aware of the importance of annual fire safety inspections conducted by accredited inspection services. These inspections aren't simply a legal requirement but a vital safety measure, ensuring that all parts of a building's fire safety and suppression systems are up to code and functioning as they should be.
With that being said, failing an annual fire safety inspection for any reason can be a crippling inconvenient and expensive problem to fix, so naturally, you will want to give your building the best possible chance of passing its next fire inspection. The following devices and systems will all be closely analysed during your next inspection, and must be kept in working order at all times to ensure your building meets local fire safety codes:
Fire suppression systems
These built-in fire suppression systems are the first line of defence against fires in most commercial buildings, and both water sprinkler systems and inert gas suppression systems will be thoroughly pored over during a fire safety inspection.
Regular checks for leaks and rusting of sprinkler feed pipes should ensure your sprinklers meet local safety standards. However, you should also pay attention to the activation systems for your sprinklers -- depending on your sprinkler system, these systems may be activated when smoke and/or heat is detected and must function properly at all times. You should also ensure that the fire department connection, a valve which allows firefighters to feed water to your sprinklers, is easily accessible and visible.
The amount, type and location of your building's fire extinguishers will differ depending on the building's purpose and the specific local laws affecting your region. However, any fire extinguisher on your property must be kept in a visible, easily accessed area at all times, and must be kept at an optimal charge to ensure proper functioning if and when it is needed. Local fire departments will generally recharge water and foam extinguishers for free, but you may have to pay to have specialised extinguishers (such as CO2 and ABC powder extinguishers) recharged.
Security measures to prevent miscreants tampering with your extinguishers are also important and will be inspected thoroughly to ensure compliance. If you keep your extinguishers in lockers or secure cabinets, ensure that these containers aren't too secure and can be opened quickly in the event of an emergency.
Exits and exit signage
Probably the most important part of any commercial building's fire safety equipment, easily accessed and operated fire escape doors are mandatory and must meet local standards to pass inspection. Generally speaking, this involves ensuring that your doors are located properly, made visible with extensive signage and lighting (lighting and back-lit signs must run from isolated power supplies so they continue to operate during power outages), and are capable of closing themselves to prevent fires from spreading between rooms.
The paperwork that accompanies all of your fire safety devices is just as important as the equipment itself and the inspectors will want to carefully analyse your fire safety equipment maintenance reports, equipment testing results and building evacuation plans. Many inspectors will go over these papers with you before the actual inspection, giving your building the best chance of passing.
Contact companies that can help you with a building certification for more information and assistance.Share
20 June 2017
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