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Community Development

Fire prevention

Business inspections

Regular fire and life safety inspections are an important part of fire prevention. They not only protect people and property but may also protect economic interests. By preventing or reducing losses, the community can help contain the cost of insurance and may help businesses avoid financial disasters stemming from fires.

Top 10 ways to prevent fire inspection violations

  1. Secure all pressurized cylinders.
  2. Have all fire extinguishers inspected and tagged annually.
  3. Be sure that the building address is visible from the street.
  4. Have your fire protection systems tested.
  5. Properly seal all openings in rated enclosures made for pipes, wiring and ducts.
  6. Fully illuminate exit signs at all times.
  7. Ensure that exit doors can be easily opened in one motion.
  8. Make sure exit doors are working properly, clearly marked and unobstructed.
  9. Provide enough ceiling clearance for all storage.
  10. Never use extension cords for permanently mounted devices.

Secure all pressurized cylinders (full or empty) to prevent falling. Never store gas grills with attached fuel tanks inside a building.

Have all fire extinguishers inspected and tagged annually by a qualified person. Fire extinguishers need regular maintenance to work properly. Also seek service when an extinguisher is discharged or shows signs of physical damage.

Be sure that the building address is visible from the street. Address numbers or other approved identification must be visible from the street fronting the property and plainly legible. Use a minimum of 4 inch high numbers on a contrasting background.

Have your fire protection systems tested. Be prepared to provide copies of current test reports to your inspector. The International Fire Code requires periodic testing of these systems. Testing frequencies vary depending on the type of component, and may be annually, quarterly or monthly.

Properly seal all openings in rated enclosures made for pipes, wiring and ducts. A rated enclosure is a type of construction designed to contain a fire for at least one hour. Any size hole in any part of the rated enclosure is an invitation for fire to spread faster than designed.

Fully illuminate exit signs at all times. Test bulbs and batteries regularly, and replace when needed.

Ensure that exit doors can be easily opened in one motion. Key locking hardware and thumb bolts are not allowed in most types of commercial occupancies. Talk to your fire inspector about options.

Make sure exit doors are working properly, clearly marked and unobstructed. Doors leading to stairways and hallways should remain closed at all times to isolate smoke and heat away from escape routes. Never place storage in required exit ways.

Provide enough ceiling clearance for all storage. High stacked storage can block exit signs and interfere with fire sprinkler systems. For sprinklered buildings, a clear space of 18 inches below the level of the sprinkler heads is required. Non-sprinklered buildings must have a 24 inch clearance to the ceiling.

Never use extension cords for permanently mounted devices. Typically washers, dryers, refrigerators, built-in dishwashers, microwaves and wall ventilation fans are considered to be permanent. Never use an extension cord with air conditioners or space heaters. Extension cords may be approved for temporary uses only.

 

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