Are you ready for your annual fire department inspection? Those words should not instill fear in the hearts of safety or facility managers. The key is to better prepare for your business’s inspection and forge a positive rapport with your local fire department at the same time. That said, here are a few tips to help you stay on top of your game.
1 – Begin with the end in mind
First and foremost, it’s important to remember the reason for this encounter: to ensure there are no safety hazards in your building. Knowing the purpose of the inspection can help you mentally get in the game. After all, your goal in passing the inspection is to get in front of potential hazards. Keeping this in mind can help you approach it the right way.
2 – Do your research
It’s helpful to have a firm grasp of your jurisdiction’s codes since the inspection will be geared towards bringing your business “up to code.” This way, you can address a concern before the FD visit.
3 – Lean on your contractors
You likely have experts in certain aspects of fire safety walking through your facility on a regular basis. Extinguisher contractors, compressed gas contractors and those who maintain your sprinkler system are experts in their area of fire safety. Ask them to be sure you are complying with all codes.
4 – Think like an inspector
After sharpening your fire prevention, you’ll want to complete a brief inspection of things your fire inspector will look for, such as (in no particular order):
- Access and Premises
- Means of Egress
- Egress Lighting
- Fire Extinguishers
- Fire Alarm and Sprinkler Systems
- Appliances and Devices
5 – Know that it’s a give and take
Not only do inspections keep people safe and their businesses open, but they can also create an opportunity for firefighters to learn about risks or hazards that they might encounter. You may also ask your fire inspector to help arrange a pre planning tour with the firefighters who will respond if you have an emergency.
Another important point is that a fire inspection isn’t supposed to be punitive. Think of it as a partnership. Should an issue arise, the fire service will generally give a business a reasonable period (usually 30 to 90 days) to comply and even grant an extension as necessary. The bottom line is that a fire inspection offers a chance to know better and do better. And that’s in everyone’s best interest.
Reach out if you have further questions. I am always ready to help answer your fire safety related questions and I am passionate about helping to reduce your risk.