How To Prepare for a Fire Marshal Inspection
Fire marshal inspections are a guaranteed fact of life whether you run a restaurant, are in charge of an industrial operation, or manage an office. The more time and energy you invest into preparing for the visit, the less time and resources you will be required to put forward afterward. At Fire Systems of Michigan, the following are some steps every business should take to ensure their inspection doesn’t end up triggering alarms and raising red flags.
Clear a Path
Start by clearing hallways and pathways. There should always be a clear path to exit doors and windows. In fact, it is best to ensure there are multiple points of egress that staff, customers, patients, etc., can access in an emergency. These paths must be at least 36 inches wide and clearly marked and illuminated with emergency lighting. Further, always make sure that exit doors are clear and that they are easily opened from the inside of the building.
It is also vital to confirm that all emergency pathway lights and exit signs are fully functional and have sufficient battery power to provide a minimum of 90 minutes of operation in the event of power loss. If any bulbs are burnt out or batteries are nonfunctional, these should be replaced immediately.
Check Suppression Systems
Of course, fire suppression is critical in buying your business time for first responders to arrive. This means you will need to verify that all fire extinguishers and fire suppression systems are properly charged and functional. In addition, these should be clear of debris, inventory, etc., and properly serviced by a trained professional.
If you have fire sprinklers, confirm sufficient clearance around sprinkler heads and that inventory and equipment aren’t blocking the system. NFPA 25 requires maintaining at least 18 inches of clearance to remain compliant.
Because of their critical importance, fire marshals spend significant time inspecting these systems to ensure they are compliant with fire codes. The more time you spend inspecting them, the less time you will have to spend later on correcting any deficiencies.
Inspect Control Panels
Make sure your fire alarm panels are fully operational. These must be professionally inspected and serviced annually to comply with fire codes. Pay particular attention to any illuminated warning lights and fix these as soon as possible. You will also want to review inspection tags and documentation that confirm the tests and services performed in the previous year.
Check Electrical Systems
Confirm that sockets and breakers are not overloaded. Further, make sure all breaker boxes and electrical panels are free of obstructions and easily accessible. You will also want to confirm that the appropriate extension cords, adapters, etc., are being used. If you have any electrical issues, be sure a qualified electrician promptly and properly addresses these.
Hire a Professional
The best way to make sure you are prepared for a fire marshal’s visit is to hire a professional to inspect your business before they arrive. At Fire Systems of Michigan, we can inspect your business, service your systems, and ensure that your business passes the inspection with flying colors when the fire marshal arrives.
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