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How To Prepare for a Fire Marshal Inspection

Fire Marshal checking pressure gauge level of fire extinguishers tank in the building concepts of protection and prevent for emergency and safety rescue and fire training.

Is your business prepared for a fire marshal inspection? Commercial businesses must adhere to the National Fire Protection Association’s minimum requirements for inspecting their fire safety systems. That includes fire marshal inspections that confirm your building is up to code at all times.

Here are steps you can take to ensure your business is prepared to pass a fire marshal safety inspection.

Fire Marshal Inspection Checklist

Routine inspections by your local fire marshal are a part of doing business, so it’s critical to be fully prepared when they arrive. Staying on top of these items ensures your building or facility is protected against fire and that your fire safety equipment is working correctly.

Clear Exit Paths

Multiple exits increase the likelihood of everyone in the building getting out safely during a fire. These exits must always be unobstructed and easily opened in the event of an emergency. A fire marshal will check exits to ensure:

  1. There’s a path at least 36 inches wide leading to every exit door.
  2. Exit doors are unlocked and open easily.
  3. Any fire doors can close easily without obstruction and aren’t propped open.

Emergency Exit Lights

Buildings often lose power during a fire incident, and smoke can cause poor visibility. All exits must be clearly marked with emergency lighting that features backup batteries, ensuring exit lights remain illuminated long enough for people to exit the building safely. A fire marshal inspection includes testing the lighting’s batteries and bulbs.

Fire Extinguishers

Smaller fires can sometimes be put out by staff using fire extinguishers. When inspecting your facility’s extinguishers, the fire marshal will check to see that:

  1. You have the minimum required number of extinguishers, and they’re placed throughout the building according to code, including mounting heights and proper signage.
  2. The extinguishers are the correct type and size to combat the fire hazards at your business.
  3. Extinguishers have been serviced within the past 12 months, and an updated service tag is in place.
  4. None of the extinguishers are obstructed.

Fire Alarm Control Panels

The panel is responsible for controlling your building’s entire fire safety system. Fire marshals inspect panels to ensure they’ve been subject to required annual fire alarm inspections and maintenance services by qualified personnel. Make sure inspection tags are up to date and that no warning lights are illuminated on your panel. Also, make sure the panel has 3 feet of clearance on all sides.

Fire Sprinklers

During an inspection of your fire sprinkler system, the fire marshal will:

  1. Check to see if there’s adequate clearance around each sprinkler deflector, which ensures water can disperse without obstruction. NFPA 25 requires at least 18 inches of clearance around each deflector.
  2. Confirm the system has received its mandated annual inspection.
  3. Examine critical components in your fire sprinkler water supply system. They’ll look at valves, hoses, and fire department connections for signs of leakage, physical damage, corrosion, or other damage.

Maximum Occupancy Limits

All commercial buildings have maximum occupancy limits so that if a fire occurs, the number of people inside can safely evacuate the premises. The fire marshal will check to make sure you comply with NFPA occupancy regulations.

Electrical Sockets & Extension Cords

Overloading electrical sockets is a clear fire code violation, and you’re not permitted to plug excessive power strips or multi-plug adapters in a single socket.

Electrical Panels

Your building’s electrical panels must be unobstructed and accessible at all times, and any potentially flammable items must be far enough away to avoid fire risk. Three feet of clearance is the typical requirement.

Preparing for a Fire Marshal Inspection

Going through the above checklist regularly keeps your commercial facility or business compliant with applicable fire codes. Still, it’s easy to miss required items, as fire codes are detailed and constantly being updated.

Confires performs regular fire protection system inspections that help you avoid costly fire code violations. Our testing and inspection process meets or exceeds building and fire codes and is designed to ensure your fire alarm system’s fully functional and will perform as needed in a time of emergency. Contact us online today or call us at 888-228-0917 to learn more.

Category: Fire Protection