A complete Fire Safety inspection Checklist
A fire protection system is one of the most essential and crucial systems that need to be installed in any building. Every building or establishment should have a compliant fire protection system installed. These systems help in controlling, detecting, and safeguarding the inhabitants of the building against any fire hazard. Given the importance and criticality of these systems, a fire inspection is required to be done at regular intervals in these establishments. The frequency and the type of inspection depend on various factors such as the location of the building, the relevant local laws, and also the type of the building. Given the importance of the fire inspection process, in this article, we will be going deeper into the entire fire safety inspection checklist required to complete a successful inspection.
Fire inspection is very useful for the owners and occupants of the building to comply with the fire safety norms and to stay updated with the current fire safety requirements. It is also highly recommended to stay proactive when it comes to fire safety installations as it will prevent you from any future hazards. Fire inspections are generally conducted yearly and sometimes even at unnoticed dates. Some basic codes have to be followed to complete the inspection. NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) publishes codes and standards that serve as basic guidelines for a successful fire safety inspection.
NFPA Codes and Standards for Fire Safety Inspection
NFPA publishes more than 300 codes and standards to mitigate the risks associated with fire hazards. These codes and standards are reviewed and administered by more than 250 technical committees. Due to the comprehensiveness and authenticity of these NFPA codes and standards, these are accepted and adopted throughout the world.
Some of the most important codes and standards published by NFPA are:
NFPA 25: Standard for Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-based Fire Protection Systems
NFPA 25 is related to the periodic testing, inspection, and maintenance of water-based fire protection systems. This is one of the most overlooked codes due to the lack of enforcement but if complied with in a period manner, this ensures the fire protection system has a fast and efficient response in case of a fire emergency.
NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signalling Code
NFPA 72 focuses on fire alarm systems. Different aspects of a fire alarm system such as the application, installation, location, performance, inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire alarm systems, public emergency reporting systems, fire warning equipment, and emergency communications systems are covered under this NFPA code.
NFPA 101: Life Safety Code (7.9.3 and 7.10.9)
This code ensures that the exit and emergency lights are properly maintained and tested. This NFPA code requires:
- A visual inspection of the equipment (lighting fixtures) once every 30 days
- Thirty-second illumination test under backup power (battery, generator, etc.) performed every 30 days
- Ninety-minute illumination test under backup power performed once a year
- Written records of visual inspections and all tests to be kept for inspection by the authority having jurisdiction
The true purpose of these lights is to lead the people in the building to safety exits. Hence, not only the brightness of the light but its durability also matters. The light should be able to stay on during the crisis using a rechargeable battery. Every aspect of the lighting system should be thoroughly tested.
Now that we know some of the basic codes and standards that are followed for a fire safety inspection, let’s have a look at a complete fire inspection safety checklist.
Complete Fire Safety Inspection Checklist
The following is a step-by-step guide to building a comprehensive checklist for fire inspection.
Step 1: Record Checklist Details
- Inspector Name
- Location to be inspected
- Address of Location
- Owner of Location
- Date of Inspection
- Governing Authority
Step 2: Review the Outdoor Premises and Building Access
- The address should be visible from the street
- The exterior access is not blocked
- There is easy access to the Fire Department
- The lockbox has the necessary keys and is easily accessible
- The fire hydrants are easily accessible
Step 3: Checking the Exit and Escape Routes
- The exit doors and easily accessible and function properly
- The exit doors should open from the inside without keys
- The fire doors are self-latching and self-closing
Step 4: Inspection of Electrical Sytems
- All electrical receptacles should have cover plates
- Proper labeling of circuits on all the panels
- 30-inch access in front of all panels
- Extension cords are not used for permanent fixtures
- Extension cords are properly grounded
- The power strips have in-built circuit breakers
Step 5: Emergency Lighting
- All the means to exits are properly lit
- Emergency lighting units are functioning properly
- Exit signs are well illuminated and rightly positioned
Step 6: Inspection of Fire Extinguishers
- All areas of the building have fire extinguishers within 75 feet distance
- Extinguishers should be visible and easily accessible
- The fire extinguishers meet the necessary standards
- The fire extinguishers are stored off the floor but no higher than 5 feet from the ground
- Valid inspection tags, not more than 12 months old should be there on fire extinguishers
Step 7: Fire Alarm Inspection
- Fire alarms should be tested at least once a year
- Review the records of previous fire alarm tests to make sure that there is a regularly recurring process in place for fire alarm testing.
Step 8: Fire sprinkler system inspection
- Fire sprinkler systems, like the fire alarm system, should be tested at least once a year.
- You should also review the records of previous tests to check for a process.
- No storage should be done closer than 18 inches from the nozzle of the fire sprinkler
Step 9: Inspection of Heat Producing Devices and Appliances
- Only UL-listed portable heaters should be used and that too not permanently
- There is should be a 36 inches gap on both sides of the electrical heaters
- There should be a 36 inches gap between the gas-fired heating devices and combustibles
- Gas-fired heaters should have vents
- Light fixtures should be clear of all the combustibles
Step 10: Maintenance of Building Areas
- Trash and waste should be taken out daily
- Combustibles should be stored securely and orderly
- Exits should be clear of any combustibles in the path
- Combustible decorations should be treated with fire hydrants
- Interior finishing should meet safety standards
- Compressed gas containers should be stored standing up
Step 11: Inspection of Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
- Make sure all the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are tested and are functioning
- Should test each alarm by hand and make sure it has two power sources
Digitizing the Fire Safety Inspection Checklist and Process
Once the inspection is complete, you can save this checklist as a report. You can also use software like SmartServ that can help you in getting the fire safety inspection done pretty fast.
A fire inspection software, like SmartServ, allows fire safety companies to do a faster and more efficient inspection as well as helps them in scheduling installation and maintenance of fire protection and safety equipment. The customized dashboard and cutting-edge technology of this software help in streamlining the daily operations of technicians, back-office personnel, and fire inspectors. SmartServ gives direct access to digitized NFPA recommended checklists and forms that the on-field technicians can use easily and save their reports. This makes the entire fire safety inspection a truly paperless process and saves a lot of time and money for the fire inspection companies.