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Common Fire Safety Deficiencies

Posted on: November 19, 2013

When you are running a business, it’s easy to forget about things like your building’s fire protection systems. The following is a list of issues commonly found by fire protection system inspectors. Correcting what you can will help save you time and money the next time you have your fire safety systems inspected.

Poorly maintained or missing fire extinguishers – fire extinguishers require annual professional maintenance and tagging. In addition, any extinguishers that go missing or get stolen must be replaced as quickly as possible. Finally, most fire codes require that there must be at least one fire extinguisher every 75 ft.

Missing or burnt out EXIT lights and signs – EXIT signs must be lit up at all times when your building is occupied. Any bulbs that burn out must be replaced as quickly as possible.

Overuse of extension cords and multi-plug adapters – in most commercial facilities, extension cords and multi-plug adapters are either prohibited or are only allowed to be used temporarily. If your business uses them for permanent reasons, consider replacing them with fused outlet strips that plug directly into wall outlets.

Storage space too close to electrical panels – you need to have at least 30 inches of space separating these.

Combustibles stacked too high – if you have stacks of combustible materials, they must be 24 inches below the ceiling and 18 inches below any sprinkler heads.

Holes in walls and ceilings – these must be repaired. In addition, any suspended ceiling tiles must fit snugly around penetrations, including lights or sprinkler heads.

Damaged fire doors and door hardware – fire doors include doors in stairwells, between offices and warehouses or shops, and doors leading to storage, electrical, or laundry rooms. Any damage to these doors must be repaired immediately. The doors must also be able to close and latch by themselves. Finally, if the doors need to be held open, they should not be wedged open – instead, they should use magnetic devices that are connected to your building’s fire alarm system that can be deactivated when necessary.

Blocked exit paths – hallways, stairwells, doors, and other means of egress from your building must be clear of obstructions. Never store combustible items or materials in exit paths.

Blocked fire protection devices – fire alarm panels, sprinkler heads, standpipe connections, and any other components of your fire protection system must remain easily accessible and free from storage at all times.

Blocked fire department connections and fire lanes – outside, make sure nothing blocks blocks critical areas of your building.

Building numbers not visible from the street – your street number must be large and must clearly visible from the road in front of the building. Your business’ back door must also be labeled with your name and street address.

Improper storage of combustible materials – flammable materials must never be stored in boiler, electrical, furnace, elevator, and laundry rooms. In addition, propane cylinders larger than one pound must be stored outside.

Before your next fire inspection, call Confires! We can help make sure everything is up to code so you’ll pass your inspection and avoid any fines or rush repairs.

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